Dad with Boys

Obedience with Joy!

This phrase is not to suggest that obedience is the greatest good with our children, but we all know that a lot of cooperation is involved in our daily lives in today’s world.

The basic concept is this: ideal discipline comes BEFORE an issue arises. When children’s developmental and daily needs are met, they are much less likely to “misbehave”, because they are too busy with the work of growing themselves, and too fascinated by that work.

Every child has a powerful drive to learn, explore, and grow, to engage with the society they are a part of. A child whose developmental needs are met accepts guidance more easily because that guidance helps them learn – learn how things work, but more importantly, learn how to be in the world.

Montessori talks about “obedience with joy” – one of my favourite Montessori phrases. The child whose deepest needs are met obeys an adult who helps meet those needs, joyfully, most of the time.

So, here’s what to do:

To halve your frustration, and double your patience, remember that learning is messy! One of the main roles of the adult is to offer many, many Gentle Reminders as children follow their developmental processes. 

To meet your child’s developmental needs, fill your home with meaningful activitiesallow your child to choose his activity, and don’t interrupt your child’s work. Concentration brings peace.

To enjoy your children more, reframe discipline issues in a “how to” way, and then give lessons: “Oops, did you forget how to ask nicely? Let me remind you,” or “Oh! You don’t know that glass figurines can break and need gentle handling yet, do you? Let me show you,” or “You are experimenting with doing something you KNOW I don’t like.  Let me give you some information about what you are doing and how I am feeling.”

These three ideas sound simplistic – but they are ongoing, and involve really knowing yourself and your child.

Refer back to your copy of “The 7 Keys to Mastering Discipline Without Guilt” for much more detail and lots of examples on these three points. (Don’t have one yet? Go to to get your gift copy!)

Obedience with joy just not happening at your house? Call me! I’d love to work with you…403-607-1463.