by Kerrie Nygard

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One of the most painful things about being a mom is when you think that it is your job to get your kids to listen to you.

I have spent so much of my energy and time being frustrated, discouraged, angry and shameful about being a mom because I used to believe it was my job to get my kids to behave.

When my kid was being a jerk I used to think it was because somehow I hadn’t done my job well enough. That if I was a really good mom then I would somehow find a way to get them to listen and be obedient and helpful.

Listen closely, this is REALLY important…

You cannot MAKE your kid do anything. Truly, you can persuade, bribe, manipulate, request, model, hope and pray BUT the one thing you cannot do is MAKE them do anything. 

YOU DON’T HAVE THE POWER. And it isn’t even intended for you to have that power. God is very particular about this point. 

All men decide their own fate with their choices. Not even God will take our power of choice away. 

So why is it still stuck in our heads that somehow good mothers produce children who listen and obey etc…?

I have two reasons for you:

  1. It is a widely accepted and culturally supported idea that good parents get their kids to obey. We see it in the sentences that we hear come out of our mouths and others’. Such as “What a good mother, they are so well behaved” or other similar phrases.
  2. It is a human tendency that human brains try to control things so they feel secure. By believing the lie on a subconscious level you get to feel like you can control your value as a mother.  

This is so problematic, to dictate your value upon a variable that you cannot control. Instead let me offer up an only slightly different idea but one that creates an entirely different experience. 

It is MY job to train my kids. It is THEIR job to take my training or not.

It is MY job to love my kids. It is THEIR choice to accept that love or not.

It is MY job to provide for my child’s needs. It is THEIR choice to feel gratitude or not. 

It is MY job to model healthy adulthood. It is THEIR choice to choose the same, or not.

It is MY job to be reasonably protective of my child and it is THEIR choice to be protected….or not. 

Conceptually we all know this BUT to apply it in real life can feel messy and uncomfortable even downright terrible. 

Now I am not saying that you should not discipline your children or have boundaries in your home.  You get to do that and I think you should do that, but what I am saying is that you cannot control your child’s ultimate actions, EVER. 

In the process please remember that every good mother has what I call “ugly mom moments.” This mommy business is messy and hard. 

BUT it is so much more beautiful and sweet and adorable and amazing when we drop the idea that good mothers get their kids to behave. 

You get to love your child unconditionally. And unconditional love feels so good, no matter the child’s choices.

You got this momma!

With love,



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