Change the will
Learning to change your child’s want to is not a new idea. It’s as old as the Canaanites and the hornets God sent their way. God promised the Children of Israel that He would drive out the Hivites, the Canaanites, and the Hittites from the land so the Israelites could possess it.
He promised to send hornets to move them out of that land. Whether or not these were real hornets or something else, the fact remains that God did something to ensure the movement of the people out of the way so His plan could take place. Certainly they would not have wanted to leave their land to strangers. God took care of their “no way!” and changed it to want to.
All three of these groups were descendants of Canaan, who was the son of Ham, who was the son of Noah. They were related to the Israelites, but they were not in the chosen people. So when God wanted their land to go to His chosen people, He made it happen.
Changing your child’s want to.
When we are dealing with a toddler or a teenager, the issue is usually the same. A child refuses to do something because he just does not want to obey. When our children are younger, we can force them to do what needs to be done. There are ways we do this that bring about the results we want.
Then they grow up and (sometimes) become stronger and taller than us. They still need to obey, even though they are learning to make decisions on their own. The key here is not to force the child to do something he does not want to do. The key is to change his want to.
The consequences of not wanting to
When an offspring has consequences set before him that make it easier to agree to do something, he gets the point. He chooses to want to so he doesn’t have to suffer the consequences. This is how we change our child’s want to.
Follow your child’s train of thought back to the beginning. He doesn’t want to because he is not made to. So we need to force his hand. If he refuses to get up in the morning, he’ll decide he wants to when he has to go to bed earlier. Get creative. Remove the light bulbs in his room so he can’t be doing things in the night. Restrict phone calls; restrict visits from friends; restrict extra curricular activities. He won’t want those “hornets” coming at him – and that is how you change your child’s want to.
Oh, he can make the choice not to cooperate. Yet if he finds the consequences so uncomfortable that he regrets his stubbornness, you will have changed your child’s want to.
My friend (a single mom of eight) removed every item from her teenage son’s bedroom a few years ago. He was allowed his bed and a Bible. She tells me that he now knows his Bible very well, and his attitude changed because his want to changed.
Rewarding so there is a want to
When a child knows there is a reward for cooperation ($ for a job done, a special treat, participation in an event, or special favors) he will more readily want to cooperate. We should not bribe our children, but we can make it worth their while to want to do what is asked. Verbal affirmation of character qualities helps build a child up as well.
Do not brag on your child, but do affirm his efforts. Don’t praise him so much that he can’t work without you there applauding him. Let the satisfaction of a job well done be one of his greatest rewards.
Ask God for wisdom in how to change your child’s want to. You know your child. Make that work for you, and you’ll find it less difficult to change your child’s want to.