When Young Children Run the Other Way

It's hard to get very far in the discipline process if you call to Johnny and he runs the other way. Furthermore, it's not respectful when parents yell across the house or parking lot to their kids. At least part of the solution is to teach children to come when they’re called.

Some parents react at the thought of having children come when they're called. It conjures up visions of authoritarian leadership like a sergeant yelling at a private in the military, belittling a person by pulling rank. These parents need to catch a vision for helping children develop a character quality of responsiveness. It doesn't come naturally but children who don't learn to be responsive to another person make poor team members, inconsiderate mates, and difficult employees.

To teach children to come when they're called, you first have to explain what you mean. With young children you might say, "From now on, whenever I call your name, you need to come close to me and say "What Mom?" or "What Dad?" You might explain that it's important that they learn to listen carefully to your words and when they hear you call, they need to come and find out what you want.

The next step is to practice every chance you get. With a two or three-year-old you'll practice it several times an hour. Be careful that you don't just practice when you want to give an instruction or when your child is running away from you in the store. Practice at home and at the park. Call your child often just for fun. When he comes, say something like "I just wanted to tell you I love you" or "I just want to see how well you can obey."

The "Come When You're Called Rule" teaches responsiveness to authority. When children become teenagers you can tell the difference between those who have learned this concept and those that haven't. We're not suggesting that teens come running to you when you call, but there is a way that they treat their parents that communicates respect.

The "Come When You're Called Rule" is a way that parents honor children and teens as well. It says, "I'm not going to yell at you across the house or parking lot. I'm going to take time to sit down and talk to you or get away with you to discuss this issue."

This parenting tip comes from the book series, Home Improvement, The Parenting Book You Can Read to Your Kids by Dr Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller.

What are some ways you've been able to teach your kids responsiveness?

Milan Tomic

Hi. I’m Designer of Blog Magic. I’m CEO/Founder of ThemeXpose. I’m Creative Art Director, Web Designer, UI/UX Designer, Interaction Designer, Industrial Designer, Web Developer, Business Enthusiast, StartUp Enthusiast, Speaker, Writer and Photographer. Inspired to make things looks better.

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  1. I think one can teach even younger children to come when called. I used to practice with them even when younger than age two - before the "no" age. It made things a lot easier and smoother. And it seems to overlap into the "leaving the playgroup, or the playground" thing. Transitions became easier. Thanks for teaching this concept!

  2. I agree with Maggie-start young and they'll learn! I practice the "obeying game" with my children. It's kind of like Simon Says. It's so very important for kids to learn to come when you call them or at the very least, acknowledge that you're calling or talking to them. It not only is a respect and obedience matter, but it is also a safety matter.