Part of my concern about teaching is that the child knows what is expected of him before I discipline him for not doing it. The big question in my mind is always, “How do I know if she understands what I want?”
For a number of months, I’ve occasionally asked Bethel to come. Sometimes, I ask her to come when she’s already on her way, or when I’ve got something I know she wants. Other times, it is clear there’s no good reason for her to want to come. When she doesn’t come, I have simply gone to get her, and led her back to where I was sitting. Then I say, “Good, you came! You obeyed mommy” (How else is she supposed to know what “obey” means?)
Recently I noticed a change. When I’ve asked her to come in the past, and had to come get her, she has always been willingly led. She hasn’t ever turned the opposite direction. Lately, I’ve noticed some clues that she does indeed know what is expected of her. For example, she will often start to come, but then stop. It’s almost like her brain finally tells her, “Wait. You don’t want to come!” even as she is about to obey. Another clue is that she will resist and cry when I lead her to me. It seems at this point less about coming and more about not wanting to obey.
So, yes, I believe I can confidently say that she does understand the command “Come.” Because of this, we have started giving a consequence if she does not obey. This will teach her that she must always obey when mommy or daddy ask her to.
I probably ask her to come about once or twice in a day. I’ll just go get her if I know she is tired, if I’m tired, or if she’s had a tough day. 🙂