A Few Reasons Why Parents Should Demand Obedience from Their Kids
If you are anything like me as a parent, you have those daily moments when you know your kids are not obeying as they should and you wonder what to do about it. How important is it for kids to obey their parents?
That simple question is loaded with implications for now and the future. Years ago, the obedience of children was paramount for parents as they sought to raise kids that knew what submission to authority was all about. Now, not so much. Many parents now want to be friends with their kids. This can often produce friction as the parent steps back and forth between “friend” and “parent.”
I find that my greatest struggle in parenting my kids is consistency. Playing loudly in the basement is okay at noon, but at 7:30 in the morning? Seeking to consistently apply the rules of our household each and every day is no small feat. But, one thing is for sure; demanding that our kid’s obey is essential.
As Christians we understand the importance of obedience. We have committed to following the commands of Jesus each and every day as we seek to be more sanctified and holy. The more we lay down our life and pick up our cross to follow Him, the more we understand the absolute necessity for obedience. But are we communicating the biblical principle of obedience to our kids?
A recent article I read reinforced the need for kids to be obedient and for parents to demand obedience.
With three simple reasons children need to obey their parents, Tim Challies reminds us of the dual responsibility obedience carries with it: the responsibility of the child to obey, and the responsibility of the parent to teach and enforce obedience. Challies writes:
Children need to obey their parents because nature demands it.
Children need to obey their parents because the law demands it.
Children need to obey their parents because the gospel demands it.
Teaching kids to be obedient, and then expecting them to be obedient is not optional for the Christian parent. The Bible clearly tells children to be obedient (“children obey your parents,” Eph. 6:1) which means it is our God-given task as parents to teach our kids how to obey. We do this remembering that obedience is a learned behavior, not something that comes naturally. Naturally we are inclined to rebel, be disobedient, and do what we want. This is also why we need a Savior.
Challies points out that not only does nature demand that children obey their parents, but the law also demands it. God wrote a special promise into the law for those that seek to honor and obey their parents, He said: “it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Obeying parents has the added blessing of positioning our kids for things to “go well” for them. This is easy to conceptualize. The child that obeys his or her parents will often avoid many kinds of trouble and danger. By obeying the wisdom of parents the child can avoid much heartache and things can indeed, “go well.”
On the other hand, the disobedient, unruly child is the one that often finds himself in trouble. Whether that is trouble at school, trouble with the law, or moral trouble, it is more often than not the child that refuses to obey that brings trouble into his or her life. This should be motivation for parents to earnestly seek to instill the importance of obedience in the heart of their children.
Perhaps the greatest reason to demand obedience from our children is that we prepare them to live a life pleasing to Jesus as they seek to obey Him. When children learn the importance of obedience they are prepared to obey Jesus and “joyfully do all that brings glory to his name,” as Challies writes. As the one to whom God entrusted authority over our children, we have a biblical responsibility to teach them to obey. If they cannot obey and respect our authority over them they will likely struggle to obey and respect God’s authority over them as well.
Some days I am proud of my kids and the respect for my authority I see in them. Other days…well…you can guess what those days are like. But each day is an opportunity to further instill in my children the natural, biblical, and Gospel basis for their obedience. It’s not my job to be their friend, or their buddy. My job is to teach and train them “in the way they should go” according to the Bible. If I fail to do so I have proved that I don’t love my kids. If I truly love them, teaching them to obey will be a priority.