How many times do I have to tell you?

How many times should I have to tell my children to obey me? In his book, Teaching Obedience, Dr. Walt Brock gives a good answer to that question on pages 89-90.

A parent simply needs to decide how many times he wants to tell his child to do something before the child obeys. If the parent wants to give every command to his child five times before the child obeys, he should in a normal tone tell the child five times and then spank the child for disobedience. After the parent does so in a consistent manner, the child will learn the pattern and conform to it; five warnings means a spanking; so he will wait until the fourth time and then obey.

If the parent want to only say something once, he should say it once and then spank if the child does not obey; the child will learn the same pattern and be secure. Children become insecure when the parent gives a spanking after a one-time command today, after a five-time command tomorrow, after a three-time command the next day, and then back to a one-time command. Inconsistency leads to a child’s insecurity and will eventually generate fear and, sooner or later, anger.

A good Bible verse to go along with that is Proverbs 13:24. “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” Solomon was right. If I really love my children, I must teach immediate obedience by delivering prompt discipline.