Children are wonderful human beings, flexible in the way they are taught what is right from wrong and so dependent on the guidance of a figure which they trust and respect.
The ultimate foundation you can lay for a child is leading by example and not forcing a child to do anything he or she does not want to do, may it be a sport, a chore around the house or even going to the mall with you. Only leading by example is what you can do, because if you force a child to do something he/she does not want to do willingly, they may hate it for the rest of their lives or even blame you for it.
The key to willing submissiveness can be installed through play, children enjoy playing and they thrive best where they are comfortable and in their happy zone. Some children may have stronger resistance to listening or doing what you want them to do, but each child’s temperament and character is different and should be honed into to get the results the child feels happy with and they feel they can be themselves without any unnecessary pressure or competition.
The environment the child grows up in or surrounds him/herself with, is an important component in their growth and development. If your child attends a pre-school, and spends most of their time there, they should feel save, comforted and stimulated. The teachers should lead by example, because that is the authoritative figure the child interacts with on a daily basis and if possible, the same manners should be installed at home and at school, not to confuse the child and for the discipline to be congruent.
At home, there may be a single parent or more, the dynamics of a family plays a vital role in how the child reacts to or re-enacts to a certain situation. He/she may be acting rebellious towards a certain parent and to the other totally submissive. The reason for that kind of reaction could be because they feel save with a certain way of authority/discipline and the situation is predictable and boundaries are visible throughout the discipline process.
When you perceive that you child is acting up or being difficult, perhaps re-position yourself to their level and become one with their child-like way of interaction and playfulness. They will soon realise that a paradigm shift has taken place and they may automatically feel much calmer and open to what you have to say or demonstrate.
Providing age appropriate play and stimulation to your child is imperative to how they understand and perceive what is right from wrong and which boundaries could occasionally be crossed without a harsh scolding or smothering their every move.
If you and your child are in a battle to find a midpoint where both feel frustrated and guilty most of the time, feel free to make an appointment for a healthy mediation session.