Grocery store trips were always a challenge back then. On this particular day, the worst part was crossing traffic between the store and the parking lot.

Along with my cart full of groceries and three other children five and under, I maneuvered the cart with one hand and with my other held the two-year-old’s hand.

We had just left the store and were ready to cross traffic when two-year-old-Katie wriggled loose from my hand and started to run right out in front of a truck. I yelled, “Katie, STOP!”

And she did.

One expectation that we always had for our young children was that they listen and obey. They could question “why?” later and we could discuss it further, but at the moment they needed to first obey.

Don’t feel like your one or two-year-old is too young to understand and obey your commands like “stop” and “no.” And don’t be afraid to enforce it.

Children – even the very young – are smart and intuitive. They pick up on way more than we recognize. It’s been my husband’s and my observation over the years that children will pretty much live up to what is expected of them.

As parents, it is our responsibility to set reasonable expectations for our children and then hold them accountable.

Of course, as children get older, expectations change. A young child needs to listen and obey. Teenagers should also, but it is with discussion and explanation. I will talk more about those transition years in a future post.

If you are already in a good place in the area of expectations, that’s great! If not, consider one of my favorite resources, The 21 Rules of This House. It’s just that, 21 rules for your household all on one page! It can be laminated and displayed in your home where it can be referred to often. It is available as a free download here. Coloring pages are even included!

Think the best of your children. Lead them in good things, be optimistic and expect good things from them. When they fall short (and they will), help them up and reassure them, giving them the confidence to try again.

About the author

Patti Wright is a former homeschool mom of 30 years. She has eight adult children engaging in professions from law to medicine, and eleven grandchildren. It is her goal to strengthen and encourage younger homeschool moms.

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