When you want your children to act in a certain way, you are dealing with worldview – or what you want them to believe to be true. Belief can be instructed, modeled, and won, but it will never be coerced or threatened. Winning the battle for your child’s belief system (heart) requires a lot from parents.
The first battle is to win them to believe that you are on their side. They have a natural bent to think that they are in control of life and that their decisions are the best. That is, of course, a faulty worldview that will lead to all kinds of battles as they get older. This is why the first 9 chapters of Proverbs begin with “Listen my son to your father’s instruction….”
The second battle to win is on the parent’s end. It is for parents to believe that it is necessary to train children, not manipulate them. Training takes place when you are preparing for something big— like the Olympics or the Boston Marathon or life! So, practicing the same task over and over again is necessary… tasks like learning to say “please,” or hanging up a coat, or obeying. These things need reminders, and reminders, and reminders… like training. Sometimes that will take the form of encouragement; sometimes it will actually require helping them; sometimes it will mean having them practice what is expected. (If after the reminder there is defiance or deliberate disobedience, that requires something else.)
What your child believes matters. Their behavior will follow what they really believe. Press on in your TRAINING of your children!