Missy over at It's Almost Naptime asked a question about the best parenting advice you had ever received. A couple of things came to mind. As a parent of 6 children ages 8 months to 15 years, I have received and read a lot of advice. I think the things that have stuck with me the longest are both from Dr. James Dobson.
The first one was from a radio show. The guests were a father and mother with their two grown daughters. The dad said that he trained his children that he was the boss. He would ask, "Who is the boss?" and they were to answer, "You are." And then he would ask, "When do you obey?" and the answer was "The first time." I began using this on my oldest two who were at the time 3 and 5 years old. The younger one hated to admit that I was the boss. He would look for any answer he could, but when he would say I was the boss, it changed his whole demeanor, and he would obey. My children who are stronger willed fight admitting that they are not the boss and that I am. Getting them to answer the question and admit that I am the boss helps them to fall in line and listen and obey the first time. Now this isn't something that I say all the time or even everyday. I use it more when a child is failing to obey or starts to argue with me. It is a good attention getter for the kids.
We have valued obedience in our children from the time they were very little. This has made it so that our now 6 feet tall 13 and 15 year olds obey me without question, and we have a very good relationship. Not to say they don't at times challenge my authority, but they acknowledge that I am the boss and they need to obey me. Very helpful when there is no physical way to get them to comply!
The next piece of advice is from Dr. Dobson's book Dare to Discipline. He said that parents need to get behind the eyes of the child and see the world from their point of view. By really trying to do this, I have been able to figure out what my kids were doing at all different ages and why, and with a few of my kids, I can hear them thinking! And that is a good thing for a mom!
Children are a blessing from the Lord. Laying a good foundation when they are small reaps rewards when they are older and the teen years are not to be dreaded. I enjoy my teens tremendously and it is a privilege to see the young men they are becoming.