Don’t Aim for Obedience

Image of a child with angle wings implying obedience

Are you aware of the advantages and disadvantages of conformity and the importance of obedience?

Conformity and obedience are natural and necessary in any society. This is how cultures perpetuate their values and traditions. However, obedience can promote stress on the part of all concerned.

Here is an example: The parent requests or demands that the teenager makes the bed before going to school. The teen obeys. We would refer to this as Level (C) cooperation or conformity on the Hierarchy of Social Development.

In a similar scenario where the parent expects the teen to make the bed each morning, the teen does so without being told. We would refer to this as Level (D) taking the initiative on the Hierarchy of Social Development.

Notice that the behavior is identical in that the bed has been made in both scenarios. But the motivation was different. In the first scenario, obedience was the motivation. As a result, the adult experienced some aggravation or stress. This was not the first time the parent had to tell the teen what to do. And certainly, like everyone else, teenagers do NOT like to be told.

In the second scenario, taking responsibility is the motivation.

In order to live in a civilized society, conformity to values and mores are essential. However, democracy, the highest level on the hierarchy, requires responsible behavior more than conformity. In simple terms, the motivation to be responsible comes from internal motivation, rather than being told, which relies on external motivation.

Tip: Aim at promoting responsibility and you will get obedience as a natural by-product.

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