Yesterday I was thrilled when I overheard my nine year old telling her friend she hadn’t seen for a while that she isn’t allowed to listen to anything other than Christian music on Sunday.
She told it in a very matter of fact sort of way with no inflection whatsoever, like this was a rule from the dawn of time sent down from God or something.
Hearing this I was grinning from ear to ear and tried very hard to contain my enthusiasm not entirely because this was a rule I was fond of, but more because of the manner that for her, what I’ve repeated time and time again was now just a part of who she was at least on Sundays.
I’m not here to say that once I “institute” a rule for my children they obey with immediate obedience, this would be a lie. I’m here to say that when challenged on rules or behaviors I employ, I stick to my guns. When my daughters challenge me I explain the purpose for the rules in terms they can understand. I also believe that perhaps my delivery of said rules might have something to do with the fact I let them know very clearly that this is not negotiable.
Another way I’m able to communicate rules or behaviors is by explaining the negative outcome in a way they can understand “IF” these rules aren’t followed “WHAT” might happen. For instance a couple of years ago my daughters weren’t always wearing their seat belts without my reminding them to do so. This was an easy solution I made it is point to amplify each car accident where there was a seatbelt issue. This is a pretty simple example understandably but I’m sure you get the point.
I believe in the end just like any new habit is formed if you repeat and repeat and then repeat again, this new habit will stick. I liken this to raising children the way you wish them to be brought up.