When it comes to training children the second on our list of things God requires of children is obedience to their parents. You may ask why are we teaching parents a commandment children are required to heed. Well, it’s like doggy obedience school, training the dog is more about training the person.
There are two extremes of parenting when it comes to children obeying. The first essentially says, I really don’t want to have to discipline you so I’ll remove the rules. Just let a child express themselves. This group would say how selfish I am to impose my will on this child. How arrogant! But, if you saw the child walking into traffic you would impose your will on the child. Don’t fool yourself about moral high ground; you have boundaries. The real question is where you draw the lines.
The second extreme is not as popular, but is done by some and it is making rules for the sole purpose of training obedience. This goes into setting temptations before children in hopes they will get into the temptation and afford you an opportunity for chastening. Rules that have no basis in reason are confusing in the long run.
Benefits of Obedience
- Obedience is growth – there is no limit to what God can do with a Christian that always does what he’s told, when he’s told. The reason Ephesians 6:2-3 is practically true is that if your children were to obey everything you said about their choice of friends, their decisions, and their lives they would avoid the trouble that shortens lives.
- Obedience is opportunity
- Obedience is success – Proverbs 10:17. Obedience is the most basic building block to living life.
- Rebellion is not a phase, it’s a nature. Galatians 5:17-21. Kid’s don’t grow out of it, they just become better at it.
- Rebellion is an authority issue. Psychology attempts to find some peripheral issue like the past or stress in the marriage and link that to rebellion. Those things may encourage rebellion, but they aren’t the cause of it.
- Rebellion starts as experimenting. Testing boundaries is how your child will begin. You will both lose in the end if the rebellion is not checked early.
Obedience Requires Parent’s Expectation
- God requires obedience from your children, so don’t hinder the work of God by not expecting the same.
- Ministry of reconciliation – don’t take it personal. Disobedience is against God and you are to facilitate their relationship with God. If you are going to take it personally, don’t make any decisions while you’re stewing over being offended.
- The goal is to get children to be what God wants them to be. You may be domineering and be able to impose your will on people, but the art of parenting is to point them in the direction of God and represent God well.
- Don’t say things you don’t mean like, “If you don’t do this, I’m going to leave you at home.” You know good and well you aren’t leaving anyone home, so don’t make the threat. Figure out a discipline that matches the behavior.
Obedience Requires Parent’s Enforcement
Remember the following about parental enforcement.
- Whatever constrains behavior trains the heart. Example: If I bribe my child in order to get the behavior I want then I am training that child to respond to bribery. To take it a step a further, I have appealed to that child’s greediness and hooked their heart to equate good behavior and greed. If I give commands that go unheeded until I am mad to the point of snatching up my child in anger, I’m training them to respond to force.
- Don’t make rules you can’t enforce. It trains children to take what you say lightly.
- Don’t make rules you aren’t going to enforce. Idle threats aren’t parenting.
- Don’t make emotional appeals as though you are a beggar. “You hurt Mommy’s feelings” or “You make Dad so mad” are not reasons kids should be trained to obey. Children obey your parents is a commandment from God.
- Corporeal punishment is not payback or punitive. Children don’t need to wade through hypocrisy or inconsistent discipline and emotional bullying. Chastening is for the purpose of conforming children to an image, not because you got mad.
- Mom must have the ability to discipline as needed.
- The absence of enforcement is an indication that the father has not taken responsibility for that soul. Hebrews 12:8