Do we want "obedient" children?

178 posts / 0 new
Last post
Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 hour ago
Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3348

"culturedmom" wrote:

So if I called it "children who trust that I have their best intention at heart and so do what I say when I ask" would that be less authoritarian?

And I feel like some of you keep saying that it isn't your "main goal" or you don't "focus on it". niether do I. If someone asked for me to describe my parenting style I wouldn't use the words authoritarian or obedience at all. I would probably use words like empathy, guidance, morals, fun, silly, trusting, trustworthy, do their best, kind, self-confident, etc. I don't think obedient would be on it at all. But if someone asked me "do you want your kids to be obedient?" I'd say, well yeah, of course I want them to do what I ask them to do. Don't all parents?

I really get why some people don't like the word obedient or use it to describe their parenting style. Again, I wouldn't use it to describe my parenting style either. But I don't see that as the question at hand. Maybe some of you do?

Well I do see as the question when we're specifically talking about "obedient children". Isn't that what the original article is about?

Offline
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I totally think that's the question at hand. If that's not the question, what is the question? Have I been debating the wrong question again??? LOL!!!!

And Lana, goals have everything to do with it. No one's parenting is (entirely) based on the short term. Sure, we all do stuff in the moment just to get through the day, but I think we all also try to keep in mind the kind of people we want to raise, and try to raise them that way as much as possible even from the get. I don't want to raise obedient people, it's not my goal, and "obedience" has a very "because I say so" connotation, so I don't really use that word or like it in relation to my parenting style. Again, I thought that WAS the debate question. If not, you can disregard everything I've said because I've been arguing against/for the wrong thing. LOL!!!!

If you asked me "Do you want your children to be obedient?" I would answer as Laurie said, that I would prefer them to be good. There is a difference.

I wouldn't define my children as being "obedient", just as I wouldn't call them "good" or "bad." Do you really tell your child, "You're such a bad boy"? I may say that they made a bad/poor choice or that I expect them to obey me, putting the emphasis on their behavior and reminding them that they have a choice in how they act.

Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 hour ago
Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3348

There's a difference between what you say when your child is in the room and what you say when he or she isn't.

We joke all the time that my son is the good one and my daughter is the bad one, but they have never heard us say it.

And it's not about how you define your kids, but the question is, do you want obedient children? My instinct is...well no, that's not on my list of things I want. I want good, thoughtful children, but I don't connect the word obedient to something positive. It's just how I am. I have an instinctive negative reaction to that word because it sounds so authoritarian. . .yet I bet that if you lost the word and talked about the general idea, we are all pretty much striving for the same thing.

Offline
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

There's a difference between what you say when your child is in the room and what you say when he or she isn't.

We joke all the time that my son is the good one and my daughter is the bad one, but they have never heard us say it.

And it's not about how you define your kids, but the question is, do you want obedient children? My instinct is...well no, that's not on my list of things I want. I want good, thoughtful children, but I don't connect the word obedient to something positive. It's just how I am. I have an instinctive negative reaction to that word because it sounds so authoritarian. . .yet I bet that if you lost the word and talked about the general idea, we are all pretty much striving for the same thing.

No.....I wouldn't call my child "bad" even if she couldn't hear me. I just don't think that way I guess. My girls make bad choices all the time but I don't think that makes them "bad kids."

Alissa_Sal's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

What? No, I don't tell my kid "You're such a bad boy." I'm not sure where that came from at all. Because I said that I want my son to be a good person?

Offline
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

What? No, I don't tell my kid "You're such a bad boy." I'm not sure where that came from at all. Because I said that I want my son to be a good person?

You said that you would prefer him to be "good." I don't refer to my kids as being "good" or "bad" because I think it implies that they don't have a choice in how they are labeled. Instead, I talk about their behavior because they most certainly do have a choice in how they act.

So I asked if you'd call him "bad." It wasn't a rude questions, just a question.

daniellevmt's picture
Offline
Last seen: 4 years 10 months ago
Joined: 07/25/06
Posts: 213

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

You said that you would prefer him to be "good." I don't refer to my kids as being "good" or "bad" because I think it implies that they don't have a choice in how they are labeled. Instead, I talk about their behavior because they most certainly do have a choice in how they act.

So I asked if you'd call him "bad." It wasn't a rude questions, just a question.

You've never told your girls "thank you for being good" or said "what a good girl!" or something of that nature? I thank my son for being well behaved sometimes, usually when we have a long wait at the Dr.'s office or somewhere like that where he was exceptionally patient. I don't think that implies that he doesn't have a choice. He DID have a choice, and he chose to be well behaved, and I recognize that I appreciate that.

Offline
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I've never thought of rewarding or praising or labeling good behavior, we just expect it.

So interesting!

Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 hour ago
Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3348

"Potter75" wrote:

I've never thought of rewarding or praising or labeling good behavior, we just expect it.

So interesting!

Really?

I always thank my kids when they show great behavior in a trying situation. . .like waiting forever in a line for something that I need, or helping me (or each other, or someone else) with something instead of doing what they wanted to do. I remember being a kid and I know how difficult some things are when every kid instinct is telling you to run around in circles or complain or whatever. I want them to know how appreciated it is and what a difference it makes.

I will praise my daughter for "not calling out" after I put her to bed, or my son for just saying "okay" when we tell him it's bedtime. They love it and they're proud of themselves for it.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

You said that you would prefer him to be "good." I don't refer to my kids as being "good" or "bad" because I think it implies that they don't have a choice in how they are labeled. Instead, I talk about their behavior because they most certainly do have a choice in how they act.

So I asked if you'd call him "bad." It wasn't a rude questions, just a question.

When I speak to him, I speak to him about his behavior as well, which is why, again, I think we're mostly arguing a lot of semantics here. If he does something "bad", like hitting for example, I don't say "You're bad!" I say "We don't hit. Hitting hurts." If he says something mean, I say "That wasn't a very nice thing to say. That hurts my feelings." That sort of stuff. I don't "label" him, I talk about his behavior.

But yes, I do sometimes praise him for being a "good boy" like Danielle said, when it is something where I know it is harder for him, like waiting patiently at drs appointment, or voluntarily sharing a toy, or whatever. I try to reinforce good behavior by pointing it out and thanking/praising him for it.

Offline
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

Really?

I always thank my kids when they show great behavior in a trying situation. . .like waiting forever in a line for something that I need, or helping me (or each other, or someone else) with something instead of doing what they wanted to do. I remember being a kid and I know how difficult some things are when every kid instinct is telling you to run around in circles or complain or whatever. I want them to know how appreciated it is and what a difference it makes.

I will praise my daughter for "not calling out" after I put her to bed, or my son for just saying "okay" when we tell him it's bedtime. They love it and they're proud of themselves for it.

Oh, I'm not saying I don't thank or praise my kids. I'm just as specific about avoiding the whole "good boy" thing as some people on this thread are about the "obedience" thing. I work hard to not say it, I don't want them feeling as though their value or worth is tied to their actions. We also aren't huge believers in effusive praise for simply doing what is expected. I think that a lot of parents overdo the praise thing and I don't think that it helps our kids in the long run. We could start a spin off about the cumulative societal effects of a generation of praise junkie children Smile Tangent, though, sorry, I'm way off topic here.

I also didn't word my last post properly ~ Sorry Smile

Offline
Last seen: 3 years 7 months ago
Joined: 11/28/06
Posts: 848

"Potter75" wrote:

Oh, I'm not saying I don't thank or praise my kids. I'm just as specific about avoiding the whole "good boy" thing as some people on this thread are about the "obedience" thing. I work hard to not say it, I don't want them feeling as though their value or worth is tied to their actions. We also aren't huge believers in effusive praise for simply doing what is expected. I think that a lot of parents overdo the praise thing and I don't think that it helps our kids in the long run. We could start a spin off about the effects of a generation of praise junkie children Smile Tangent, though, sorry, I'm way off topic here.

This is exactly how I feel as well. I don't say, "Thank you for being good" because that implies that sometimes they are bad. Instead I might say, "Thank you for making such good choices in the doctor's office. You were still and quiet and I appreciate it."

Typically I don't get all bent out of shape over words. I really don't. But I just don't like the idea of labeling my kids "good" and "bad" and if I said "good girl" or "thanks for being good" that's exactly what I'd be doing.

Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 hour ago
Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3348

"Alana*sMommy" wrote:

This is exactly how I feel as well. I don't say, "Thank you for being good" because that implies that sometimes they are bad. Instead I might say, "Thank you for making such good choices in the doctor's office. You were still and quiet and I appreciate it."

Typically I don't get all bent out of shape over words. I really don't. But I just don't like the idea of labeling my kids "good" and "bad" and if I said "good girl" or "thanks for being good" that's exactly what I'd be doing.

How is "thank you for making good choices" any different from "thank you for being good"? I don't think kids see a difference.

Anyway....I think quibbling over good isn't that much of a stretch from quibbling over "obedient". I just don't like the word and what it connotes. You feel the same way about good and bad. I don't say "Juliet you are a bad girl" but I will say "this is very bad behavior" or "you weren't acting like a good girl".

Or sometimes the kids will ask if they can do something later and I will say that they can if they're good.

I suspect we are sort of in the same place and just have different gut reactions to different words.

Offline
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I do think that they are slightly different things. We, as adults, are quibbling over the meaning (or interpretation) of obedience as it pertains to our kids.....not talking about how we actually speak to our children ~ I also would probably not say "YOU MUST OBEY ME NOW, BE OBEDIENT. SIT DOWN AND OBEY ME NOW WITHOUT QUESTION OR YOU ARE BEING A BAD BOY!" to my kids, but I believe in the concept of obedience.

I think that there is a big difference between saying "I appreciated the way that you did xyz even though it was difficult" and saying "You were such a GOOD BOY!" (for not being a "bad boy", obviously) in the waiting room. I know that not everyone sees that, or would agree, but it is important to us. I totally believe that this culture of "great job!" for doing things that are expected of us as humans living in society sets up some kids to seek praise before actual success........to expect to be rewarded for performing tasks that are simply required of us as humans, and I do believe that language matters a lot, especially with children. I think that kids who are addicted to praise can shy away from doing challenging things (because they may fail and not receive praise) and I think that it can lend itself to over confidence, and a knee jerk reaction to seeking reward every time that they are praised, beyond the reward of the actual accomplishment itself. I've seen it. Kids being all "Mommy WAS I GOOD? DO I GET A XYZ?" sort of thing. I don't want to foster that idea in any way shape or form in our family, it would exhaust me and I believe that it would be a disservice to my kids. I want my kids to know and own and have self pride when they are doing a good job or achieving something, NOT to rely on external sources telling them that they did a great job. I want them to know that my praise or compliments are a sincere thing, not just another rote thing that I say throughout the course of a busy day. I don't want them to get addicted to the praise, to the external value I might easily place on "being good". I think that to a large degree, our words can impact that.

I also apologize again, as I know that this is a tangent. I won't say "you weren't being a good girl".....because I know that my daughter IS a good girl. I want her to know that she is a good girl even when she makes bad choices. Doing something wrong does not make her "bad", it makes her 3. And human. So we go from there. I don't think that parents who do it differently are wrong, necessarily, I just know that this was a parenting decision that DH and I both felt pretty strongly about so we went with it.

Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 hour ago
Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3348

See, and I'll say "you aren't being a good girl" to her BECAUSE she IS a good girl. So there you go.

Anyway....different parents, different triggers.

Offline
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

Yes, different definitions of good. I think that good girls do bad things. I don't think that doing bad things makes people bad people, just human ones. When my daughter is doing something bad, it does not change who she is, it is part of who she is.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6803

I think praise is a wonderful thing. Growing up my father thought we should not be told we were pretty or beautiful because that would make us conceded or proud. To this day my sister (who I think looks great) thinks she is ugly. While I do not think it is necessary to go overboard, I think praise is vital. If you as a parent do not praise your child, who will? Children and teens who do not get praise and affection from their parents will look for it in other places. (sex, alcohol...)

Offline
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

And kids and people who only know praise (oftentimes without merit or basis) may seek it from the wrong sources as adults.

Who said that they don't praise their kids? That is silly. I mean, we all are here on a parenting board, something tells me that most all of us are inherently vested in how we raise our children.....we just do it differently. I don't necessarily equate praise with love....and I certainly am careful not to over praise any children's physical attributes, as they can't change them and I don't want to put undue emphasis on "being pretty" etc.

Some of the most prone to have eating disorder girls are those whose parents continually praised their looks or body or weight. I don't agree with your blanket statement that children who don't get praise (though I would imagine that children who literally get no praise have much bigger issues to face than just the praise thing) will or do turn to sex and alcohol....I would say that it is as likely for a kid who has known nothing other than being praised their entire life for nothing to then be expected to actually DO something some day...and if they fail or if no one is holding their hand and praising them, to turn to sex or alcohol.

Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 hour ago
Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3348

"Potter75" wrote:

Yes, different definitions of good. I think that good girls do bad things. I don't think that doing bad things makes people bad people, just human ones. When my daughter is doing something bad, it does not change who she is, it is part of who she is.

Same here. That's why I'll tell her she did a bad thing or wasn't acting like a good girl....because she IS a good girl.

I do get what you're saying about praise. But it's about balance. Kids who ONLY get praise are as doomed as kids who never get it.

Offline
Last seen: 3 years 3 months ago
Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

Same here. That's why I'll tell her she did a bad thing or wasn't acting like a good girl....because she IS a good girl.

I do get what you're saying about praise. But it's about balance. Kids who ONLY get praise are as doomed as kids who never get it.

I agree. But you already changed your language from "being" to "acting like". I think that those silly nuances matter. So this debate makes me understand you anti "obedience" people. Smile

Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 hour ago
Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3348

"Potter75" wrote:

I agree. But you already changed your language from "being" to "acting like". I think that those silly nuances matter. So this debate makes me understand you anti "obedience" people. Smile

I would have no problem telling my daughter, "You're not being a very good girl." It means the same thing to me as "you're not acting like a good girl."

So there. Smile

KimPossible's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3475

I only skimmed this thread and i for the most part agree with Lana I think...but i haven't read carefully enough to say for sure.

Only thing i want to say is i see a lot of people saying "I think with younger kids it applies more because they can't fully graps the explanations of why we have to do the things we do....etc"

Seriously...it gets worse as they get older. Why? Because they are even MORE certain they get it and think you are wrong.

I could waste 80% of my day trying to explain to my kids why we have to do some of the things we do and they would STILL disagree with me...and in the meantime we would get *nothing* done in my family because i've wasted every waking moment of my day trying to get them to understand before they are willing to comply.

Or i can say "End of discussion" and actually get something accomplished.

Being old enough to understand more but still not *really* understand is a lot worse in many ways then when they are really little.

Alissa_Sal's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 9 months ago
Joined: 06/29/06
Posts: 6427

The whole "Good vs. bad" thing is interesting. I do get what you are saying, and I think I agree with it to an extent which is why I don't use the label "bad." I think saying "What a good boy you were!" is a little different though - I don't think that implies that the rest of the time he is a bad boy. I see it like when I do something extra great at work, and my boss says "Good job!" That doesn't mean that the rest of the time when he's not saying "good job" that I suck, it's just that "good job" is reserved for when you do something above and beyond. That is also the way I use the "good boy" praise - when he does something that really impresses me. That doesn't mean I think that he's a bad kid the rest of the time.

I totally agree Melissa that it's not helpful to praise your kids for every little thing. There are lots of things that my son does that I just expect him to do that maybe get a quick thanks and that's it. As an example, when I change his clothes I always ask him to put the clothes in the hamper, he does, and I say "thanks" because I think it's polite to say thanks when someone does something that you ask them to do. But I don't go all super squeeee what a good boy! There are lots of things like that. But some things do deserve a hearty "good job!" type exclamation too, and that's where I tend to say "Wow, what a good boy!" I honestly don't think it's harmful or implies that he is otherwise a bad boy, but I get what you're saying, and I'm hardly in a position to tell people not to be so picky about word choices when I hate the word obedience. LOL

Offline
Last seen: 4 years 5 months ago
Joined: 06/04/07
Posts: 1368

"KimPossible" wrote:

I only skimmed this thread and i for the most part agree with Lana I think...but i haven't read carefully enough to say for sure.

Only thing i want to say is i see a lot of people saying "I think with younger kids it applies more because they can't fully graps the explanations of why we have to do the things we do....etc"

Seriously...it gets worse as they get older. Why? Because they are even MORE certain they get it and think you are wrong.

I could waste 80% of my day trying to explain to my kids why we have to do some of the things we do and they would STILL disagree with me...and in the meantime we would get *nothing* done in my family because i've wasted every waking moment of my day trying to get them to understand before they are willing to comply.

Or i can say "End of discussion" and actually get something accomplished.

Being old enough to understand more but still not *really* understand is a lot worse in many ways then when they are really little.

ITA with this having experienced this myself. And some of the bigger issues can be what they consider to be or could be life altering - when they're allowed to take driver's ed, get their license, hunt?, getting a job and what type of job, etc. Teens can be by far the biggest debaters and procrastinators if they think they can get away with it or if they believe they're right and think they can sway the debate to their side. There have been many times, that I can easily get wrapped in the debate for the sake of my kid stalling which is something I personally need to work on. But many times, it finally ends with "you do the chore (or name the expectation) or (insert privilege) will be taken away, no if's, and's, or but's about it." But I do see a light at the end of the tunnel after hearing a few times from my 20 yr old that I was actually right about a few debates he had with me in his teens. That being said, they do have more privileges and responsibilities gained as they get older because they have learned from obeying as well as maturing in knowing and following their own ethics that we trust.

Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 hour ago
Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3348

"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

The whole "Good vs. bad" thing is interesting. I do get what you are saying, and I think I agree with it to an extent which is why I don't use the label "bad." I think saying "What a good boy you were!" is a little different though - I don't think that implies that the rest of the time he is a bad boy. I see it like when I do something extra great at work, and my boss says "Good job!" That doesn't mean that the rest of the time when he's not saying "good job" that I suck, it's just that "good job" is reserved for when you do something above and beyond. That is also the way I use the "good boy" praise - when he does something that really impresses me. That doesn't mean I think that he's a bad kid the rest of the time.

I totally agree Melissa that it's not helpful to praise your kids for every little thing. There are lots of things that my son does that I just expect him to do that maybe get a quick thanks and that's it. As an example, when I change his clothes I always ask him to put the clothes in the hamper, he does, and I say "thanks" because I think it's polite to say thanks when someone does something that you ask them to do. But I don't go all super squeeee what a good boy! There are lots of things like that. But some things do deserve a hearty "good job!" type exclamation too, and that's where I tend to say "Wow, what a good boy!" I honestly don't think it's harmful or implies that he is otherwise a bad boy, but I get what you're saying, and I'm hardly in a position to tell people not to be so picky about word choices when I hate the word obedience. LOL

Thank you for saving me the trouble of having to write out the same thing. Totally on the same page.

KimPossible's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 week 1 day ago
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3475

Last night i was telling the kids to get ready for bed. I sent them up one at a time because there is a lot of fooling around if i have them do it all at once. I sent Aodhan up second and he said "I want to go last" and I said "nope, go now" Too which he started getting annoyed and upset and asked why.

It was completely arbitrary...as it always is but they need to listen to me in order to maintain order and avoid chaos and he can go last some other time.

Any explanation of the above made no sense to him and he was trying to be insistent on not going up when i told him.

I eventually had to threaten him with a punishment for not listening. I"m sure in his head he had to listen to me simply because i am his mother..and to an extent, he's right....someone has to play lead fiddle to keep the peace and in the family unit...thats me or dad.

It made me think of this thread.

Offline
Last seen: 4 months 1 hour ago
Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3348

Hey, I'm pro-parental authority. Smile

Pages