Parenting is no joke. It is hard work! I’m convinced that Deuteronomy 6:7 is just as much for parents as it is for children. “You shall teach [God’s laws] diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” We’ve got to teach our children about the Lord constantly because we need the encouragement ourselves constantly.
Well, in the last couple weeks, I had become very lazy in consistently disciplining my daughter. I’m sure you’ve been there. You let obedience slide slowly. Maybe you tell them several times to do something, get a little irritated cause they’re not obeying, but you shrug it off because they did obey in the end so they don’t need discipline. Maybe they are obeying but they are not happy about it and you let it go. Maybe instead of requiring them to obey you when you tell them to clean up or do chores, you just do them all yourself so that you don’t have to fight with them about it.
Those are all examples from my life! When I realized that I had gotten lazy, I knew that I needed to change it. Even though it would be a lot of work!
So, I came up with my own version of “Obedience Bootcamp.” A couple days of radically changing how I did things so that we could get on the right track again. And now I’m writing it here to share with you!
(One blog post could never be enough to totally guide you through disciplining your children. I’ve linked a couple helpful books below for you to peruse if you need more help than what I’ve written here.)
As I said above, disciplining your children is a lot of hard work. It’s tough, it’s tiring, and it takes a lot of effort. But, as parents, it is our calling from the Lord and we can rely on Him to guide us and give us strength for the task. When it comes to consistency in discipline, I’ve learned that we have to start with ourselves.
Start With Yourself
Before we can jump into doing an Obedience Bootcamp with our children we have to make sure we are disciplining ourselves. Alistair Begg said,
“I will never learn to discipline my children properly unless I’ve learned to discipline myself. And if I am arbitrary in the way I deal with sin in my own life, then it will be inevitable that I am arbitrary in the way I deal with it in my children’s lives. When my children hear godliness from my mouth and they see wickedness in my life, then I point them to heaven, but I lead them to hell.”
Ouch! That struck a nerve. But he is correct, we must live disciplined lives if we are to expect discipline from our children. That doesn’t mean that we have to be perfect before disciplining our kids, we can’t be perfect (Romans 3:23). And God knows that we are not going to be perfect parents. But that does mean that we can’t hold our kids to one standard of discipline and obedience when we are not obeying God and being disciplined in our Christian walk.
So, first things first. Take time to confess sin and repent of your lack of self-discipline. God is always there to forgive (1 John 1:9). Then ask the Lord to help you move forward in your own self-discipline. Whether it’s spending more time in Bible study, confessing sin more often, praising God throughout the day, or whatever it may be, ask for the Lord’s help in being self-disciplined with your time and holiness (2 Peter 1:3, 5).
Having self-discipline in your life is the way to start disciplining your kids more consistently.
Okay, now to Obedience Bootcamp
My dad was/is a Marine (“Once a Marine, always a Marine.”). So, while I’ve never attended a bootcamp myself, I’ve definitely heard about them! But I’m sure that Obedience Bootcamp will not be nearly as hard as the one my dad was subject to.
Obedience Bootcamp is just the simple idea of a reset. My plan was to take a few days, change what I had been doing and really focus on requiring my daughter to obey right away, the first time, and with a good attitude. That’s it.
I have seen several Christian moms use this idea to help with their children so I decided to make up my own version. This is what I did to help myself discipline my daughter better and to require full obedience defined as: Obeying right away, the first time, and with a good attitude.
1. Warn Your Kids
Sit down your kids and tell them what’s going on. Confess that you’ve been lazy to your children and that you are changing how things are going in your house so that you can all better honor the Lord.
Because my daughter is only 3-years-old, this conversation was short and to the point. I told her that I would not ask her to do something twice anymore and that she would have consequences if she disobeyed the first time.
Once you’ve established that change is happening, make it happen!
2. Be consistent with requiring obedience.
Hopefully it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. You have to be consistent.
There’s no hope for this Bootcamp to work if you are not focused and consistently disciplining your children.
Do not tell them to do something twice. If you’re telling them for the second time, then they are disobeying. Do not let them convince you that they don’t need to obey. If you’re having a discussion about whether or not they need to do what you told them, they are already disobeying. Do not let them have a bad attitude when they are obeying for that actually makes it disobedient.
Be sure you make eye contact and use their name when telling them to do something.
Then whichever method you employ for disciplining, you must be consistent in the method. Every time your child disobeys, they need discipline so that they can learn to obey.
And remember that parents are a team, you and your husband have to work together to be a coherent team. That means that you require the same things and discipline consistently together.
Now, some things that helped me be more consistent.
Stay off your phone. I have several posts about using your phone less (I will link them below) because it is SUCH a big distraction. You will have difficulty being consistent in discipline when you are scrolling on your phone multiple times a day. I suggest totally getting off of your phone for a couple of days. You will not miss much (you may even like it). And your kids obedience is worth it!
Stay home. For us, this happened kind of by accident. We didn’t have a lot of things planned for the couple days I decided to do Bootcamp and it was very cold outside. So we stayed home a lot. But even if you are planning to go out, I would recommend staying home as much as possible. You are much more likely to discipline consistently from the comfort and privacy of your own home.
Play with your children. There are always things to do in the house. But during these few days of Bootcamp, try to spend time with your kids and be with them as much as possible. That will provide more opportunities to guide them, talk with them, and correct when needed.
Those three tips really helped me get out of the rut I was in. It pushed me to see the sin in my daughter’s life and help her by guiding her into obedience through discipline. And it helped me be consistent throughout the day when I could totally focus on obedience with my daughter.
3. Pray Through Obedience Bootcamp
As you are focusing so much on obedience, do not forget to pray.
Including the Lord in your day-to-day life through prayer is one of the most encouraging things you can do as a parent. There’s never a reason not to pray. And, when you are in the trenches of Obedience Bootcamp is an excellent time to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonions 5:17).
Pray in your head before you have to discipline your child. Pray while you are speaking to them. Pray while you are playing with them. Pray for them when they go to sleep. Pray with them as they apologize for sin and ask for forgiveness. Pray for them to be forgiven. Pray for God to help them obey next time. Pray that they would have a heart of obedience. Pray for the Lord to save them. Pray for them to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Pray, pray, pray.
If you can’t focus on praying in your head, then just pray out loud. Your kids can hear your prayers and be encouraged as well as directed to God themselves.
Requiring obedience from our children cannot be done without the Lord’s help. He assures us that we should come before Him with confidence through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 4:16). So go before Him throughout these days of focused discipline training with your kids.
Being consistent is hard! We need God’s help to truly make changes in our own lives and in the lives of our children. So do not hesitate to call on Him when you do Obedience Bootcamp.
Results of Obedience Bootcamp
After our Obedience Bootcamp, I think I am the one it has helped the most! Sure, my daughter has definitely started listening more and obeying more. But it gave me a new confidence to do discipline and to be consistent in requiring obedience of her throughout the day. This reset helped to reset my thinking and got me motivated again to discipline and love her by doing so.
What do you think? Are you going to give Obedience Bootcamp a try? Do you have other ideas for disciplining consistently or not being lazy as a parent? Let me know in the comments below, I need all the help I can get, obviously!
There are three books that I would recommend when it comes to disciplining and raising children. While I do not practice every single thing in these books, they are excellent resources, especially if you haven’t read much about parenting yet!
Shepherding a Child’s Heart by Tedd Trip
Don’t Make Me Count to Three! by Ginger Hubbard
*These are affiliate links, you can read my full disclosure here.
How to Manage Phone Time
Social Media Tips
Excellence in Motherhood, Even When You’re Tired!
5 Ways to Share the Gospel with Your Kids Every Day
Help Your Toddler Memorize Scripture
Creating a Motherhood Routine