Obedience yes, but always from love and respect

When we are parents we like that our children obey us blindly, but this is not always the case and that frustrates us. Parents begin to notice that our children do not obey us from 3 to 6 years old. This is normal because children begin to establish their identity and their own idiosyncrasy and it is common for them to want to show their own will, in some cases challenging their parents.

Up to three years old, little ones obey better because they want mom and dad to be happy with their abilities, but after the third year and with all the evolutionary changes that the new stage in their development entails, it is normal for parents to find themselves with most stubborn children.

Obedience in young children

From the age of three, children have a more developed language and with the identity they are forming they face the adult world. The most intense tantrums appear, the answers and the denials. They are more autonomous, understand the world around them somewhat better and pay more attention to their own needs and desires than to satisfying others.

It is at this age that children better understand the rules and impositions and although there were already routines at home to give them more autonomy, the limits to manage personal and social behavior also begin. When they do not comply with the rules there are consequences and it is positively reinforced when they do comply.

Although they understand the rules better, it is more difficult for them to understand their rationale. They are aware that if they skip them there are negative consequences, but in order for them to comply they must know what is expected of them at all times (teach them the rules) and be consistent all the time. With perseverance they can be internalized, as long as they are corrected from respect and love.

It is not until about 7 years old when a child better understands his own thinking, although he is still quite self-centered and thinks that everyone thinks like him.

The secret: be firm but flexible at the same time

Do not expect 100% obedience because children have their own personality and being self-centered they will want to get their way over and over again. They are not challenging you directly, this is normal and is in accordance with development and age. We could even say that it is healthy for them to do so.

But as parents, we must show them the right way and for this, we must teach them to behave correctly. It is true that when a young child is bored he is more likely to misbehave because he wants to experience new sensations. This is important to keep in mind to instill good obedience always from respect and affection towards our children.

From the age of 3 the most intense tantrums begin, and we must be prepared to act correctly. Think that a small child only thinks about his needs and immediacy. When he has a tantrum, do not give in to his wishes, you have to explain what is happening and what should happen. You can negotiate the situation but without succumbing to their claims completely.

Firmness is essential in the face of a tantrum, although sometimes you can be flexible to reach agreements because the circumstances allow it (for example, when your child does not want to leave the park but you tell him that he can stay 5 more minutes… Although after the 5 minutes you must be firm and leave). But you don’t have to be flexible when he’s having a tantrum because he’ll learn that this modus operandi works for him to get his wishes, whatever they may be. If you give in when it’s not right, the tantrums will only increase and get worse.

How to teach children from 3 to 6 years to be obedient

So, knowing all this, we are going to tell you some keys so that you can work on obedience with your child from 3 to 6 years old and make it effective. Remember that you are his greatest example and you will always have to do it from calm and affection. Let’s see:

  • Introduce rules and limits little by little. Do not introduce new limits without the previous ones being internalized correctly.
  • Always be firm and consistent in behavior corrections. Apply positive reinforcements when they do well and consequences when their behaviors are not previously agreed.
  • Understand your child and his development. Remember that he wants to show his autonomy and his identity, help him understand his own emotions and how the environment works.
  • Be a good example with your conduct and behavior.
  • Be patient because your children learn from you, they still have a lot to mature and that requires time, patience and a lot of love on your part.


As you can see, children being obedient is not something that happens overnight. It requires a lot of dedication and patience, but if you always do it with love and respect, over time, you will realize that you will be able to reap good fruits. Your children will have internalized the rules correctly and will know what is expected of them at any given time!