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Debi Pearl:  Papa and I now going to record go ahead and shut the door. [laughter]

Announcer:  We all forget things sometimes but when it becomes a habit in our kids what do we do. Here are vintage answers collections. Mike and Debbie offer help.

Michael Pearl:  OK Debi, what’s our next letter?

Debi:  “Dear Mike and Debi, My five‑year‑old girl is very sweet natured and obedient child. She loves to help me in free corridors and household chores without being asked. Yet, every morning before we start school, I have to tell her usually three or four times to finish her chores. I find her distracted by a book or a toy or her chores not being done.” “I don’t think she is being rebellious but just forgetful. Should I discipline her for not obeying the first time or give her grace for being forgetful and easily distracted? Also, when you say in your book to be 100 percent consistent, do you mean every time a child does not obey immediately you should spank?

Mike:  OK Deb, you may give that one back to me then, let me take the letter down and glance at it. She said she doesn’t think the child is being rebellious with this distraction when she sends her in the chores and she gets involved reading… so she is five‑years‑old, five‑year‑old little girl. I notice it, when I get ready to go clean my office up, that I will go up start shuffling few papers and the first thing I come across a book that I bought and have not read and then I will start reading the book and pretty soon I am distracted and the whole morning passes and my office is not clean.

When I go out to the shop and start cleaning it up, I too get distracted that’s much more interesting than the dull and boring task of cleaning up houses.

Now, again, just as you just pointed out, if this is not a rebellion, if this is not a will to dominate on the child’s part, if she is just being forgetful, then this doesn’t really call for discipline in the sense of chastisement at all.

What it calls for is…for one thing, I would not mind a little bit distraction here and there, would not bother me to go and tell her two or three times, “Now, don’t forget what you are doing. You are cleaning your room up, so lay your book down. Read that later.”

I mean we don’t have to, when the child is that small, we don’t have to expect them to have a level of concentration that even we adults are not able to manifest. It’s important that you keep a good spirit and you stay cheerful and don’t allow this to create a tension between you and your daughter.

Don’t allow it to start the day off with her feeling that you are critical or you are condemning of her, or you’ve rejected her in some way. Keep a good spirit about it.

If you find that eventually the job is just not getting done because she just goes from one thing to another, then you need to be consistent in demanding that the job gets finished. You said, “Be 100 percent consistent, do you mean every time a child doesn’t obey immediately you should spank?”

No, not at all. In fact, as we pointed out in all of our writings, in “No Greater Joy” Volume 1, “No Greater Joy” Volume 2, and our newsletters, spanking is not our first move. We need to be training. We need to train our children first. Spanking is what you do when the training has failed.

Sometimes, we use a rather little switch on a small child like that to gain her attention, but that’s not causing them to bend over and spanking them till it hurts. For instance, if you tell a child, “Go in your room and clean the room up.” OK, and she stops and starts reading a book.

You can look in the door and say, “OK, don’t read your book, keep cleaning.” If you come back five minutes later, and she is still reading the book then without saying anything to her, just walk in to the room, take a little switch, pop on the back of her hands where she is reading the book.

Without saying a word, she’ll jump up and go back to the cleaning job. Walk back in five minutes. If she is doing something else, say, “Well, you look distracted and you need to pick it up.”

Two or three minutes, if she is still distracted, go ahead and give another little pop. In other words, by being consistent what we mean is you consistently demand that she obey you. If a child is seven or eight or nine or ten, then you would expect them to work steady without stopping and being distracted.

But even then, what we are looking for is rebellion. What we are looking for is a disregard for the rule of law and that’s the thing we really want to jump on. But just the simple distractions of life…I mean, I allow myself that, so I am going to allow my child some distraction as well.

Announcer:  Well that wraps up this week’s archives. We hope you found it as encouraging as we did. Don’t forget to check out the specials at Cane Creek Corner.

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