• Samantha Goldman

How Do I Teach My Kid Obedience?

***This post is not sponsored. The opinions and content of this blog are unique to the writer unless otherwise stated. No compensation is received for the links shared.

Obedience and behavior are a common reason kids are referred to occupational therapy in South Florida. Last week I polled my Instagram community for what you wanted to see on my page, and this question came up a several times.

Wondering how obedience and behavior fit into picky eating and movement? If a child is having a hard time with behavior overall, it can impact all areas of occupation.

My immediate follow up to this question is – what exactly do you mean by obedience? And this differs for each and every family. Some of the main concerns I hear:

- Following directions

- Safety

- Behavioral outbursts (hitting/biting/screaming)

- Playing with friends

- Responding to other children who have outbursts

Before working on any strategies, you first need to figure out what your end goal is.

My next question would be – what could be impacting their “obedience” or behavior?

Some examples:

- Developmental age – depending on your child’s developmental age, they may only be ready for certain directions. For examples, toddlers are in a stage of learning independence aka “the terrible twos.” They are still learning to comprehend that there is a reason you may be telling them “no” when they want something.

- Has it been learned? – Following directions and behavior have to be learned as kids grow up. Be patient, your child might still be learning what they are supposed to do!

- Are they copying a friend/sibling? – Kids model what they see other kids and family members doing. They might think that this is the “correct” thing to do in a certain situation because it is what they see others doing.

- In there a sensory need? – Some kids have difficulty regulating and interpreting sensory information. When this information is overwhelming or your child is “dis-regulated,” it may show up through behavioral outbursts.

- Are they able to communicate their frustration? – If your child does not have a full spectrum of words (or signs/device communication), these outbursts or not following of directions might be there way of trying to communicate with you. In this case, you may want to consider visiting a speech therapist.

Some quick tips:

- Model the behavior you want your child to do

- Acknowledge and praise your child when they do the desired behavior

- Teach and talk to them about why you want them to do a certain thing (if they are old enough to understand”

- Have a different word or voice that you use when something is a safety concern

- Utilize books

- Practice direction following with games

I know this can be an area that is really challenging and overwhelming for families. But you don’t have to do it on your own! If you are struggling in this area, I suggest reaching out to an occupational therapist in your area.

If you are located in Florida, I offer free parent consults! Just click here and fill out this simple form to request yours.

Let’s make healthy fun,


Disclaimer: The information provided by OT 4 ME (“we,” “us” or “our”) on theot4me.com (the “Site”) is for general informational purposes only. The Site cannot and does not contain medical advice. Any medical information is provided as my/our personal experiences is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals. We do not provide any kind of medical advice. THE USE OR RELIANCE OF ANY INFORMATION CONTAINED ON THIS SITE IS SOLELY AT YOUR OWN RISK. Although this blog contains external links WE DO NOT WARRANT, ENDORSE, GUARANTEE, OR ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ACCURACY OR RELIABILITY OF ANY INFORMATION OFFERED BY THIRD-PARTY WEBSITES LINKED THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY WEBSITE OR FEATURE LINKED IN ANY BANNER OR OTHER ADVERTISING.


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