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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Is Your Child a First Responder?

How many times do you have to speak to your child before he/she responds to your call? Our children are distracted by their toys, video games, and electronic devices that occupy their attention and keep them from interacting with other human beings, particularly adults. This means that they focus their attention on the device and tend to ignore a parent’s call, especially the first one.



Your children should respond to your call or correction the first time they are called or corrected. Whenever we speak to our children, they hear us the first time, but many of them do not respond the first time. Instead, they wait for us to repeat ourselves, and we tolerate their lack of a response. Responding to correction the first time shows a willingness to obey a parent’s correction, and that willingness is taught by parents and learned by children. Responding to the first statement of correction saves time and energy and could potentially save your child’s life in a serious situation.


I once heard a speaker talk about how he had trained his son to respond to his call with the first call. When a potentially life-threatening situation was about to occur, the father called to his son who responded immediately. His son stopped what he was doing, and thereby, avoided being struck by an oncoming vehicle.


If your child responds to your correction the first time, kudos to you. You are creating a listener who trusts and respects your parental authority. If your child, no matter what age, does not respond to you the first time you call or correct, there’s hope. It is not too late. You can start today by telling your child what your new expectations are, and that you want her/him to respond to your call or correction with the first statement. So many times, as parents we act as if we are uncomfortable in making a change that is in our child’s best interest, and many times just take the easy way out by not making the change at all. After you have announced to your child what your new expectations are, the hard part comes in making sure that you are persistent and consistent in following through with your expectations. And there should always be consequences for not living up to the expectations of being a first responder.

Veda Pendleton McClain is a mother, grandmother, author, and educator. She recently released her second book on parenting titled, Your Presence Is Requested. It is available through www.amazon.com or at www.vedamcclain.com .

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