Principle: If we want our children to learn how to obey God when they are older, we must require them to obey us as parents now. I have four children, the oldest of whom is 7. This is not mere philosphizing for me, it is real life.
It is inevitable there will be conflict. Conflict between siblings and conflict between child and parent. This season in life is hard. Any parent can attest to this. Deciding which battles to fight is an ongoing state of being. While this state of being is not fun, it is worth doing right. My wife and I are seeking to raise Godly kids. That is no easy task in today’s culture. So I repeat: If we want our children to learn how to obey God when they are older, we must require them to obey us as parents now.
As a parent I am not perfect. I get things wrong. But the principle remains true that if my children learn to respect and obey me now, they will be better suited to obey future authority figures in life, and ultimately God as the final authority figure. Unfortunately most parents are not requiring obedience from their children. It is easier to pacify their children in the moment than deal with the long term commitment of building obedience.
John Piper writes an excellent article addressing believing parents and how they need to require obedience.
“The defiance and laziness of unbelieving parents I can understand. I have biblical categories of the behavior of the spiritually blind. But the neglect of Christian parents perplexes me. What is behind the failure to require and receive obedience? I’m not sure. But it may be that these nine observations will help rescue some parents from the folly of laissez-faire parenting.”
Please read the full article as Piper unpacks each of these nine points with biblical passages and practical application. If you are a parent, or hope to be one in the future, it is worth your 5+ minutes! Click it here: Parent, Require Obedience of Your Children.
1. Requiring obedience of children is implicit in the biblical requirement that children obey their parents.
2. Obedience is a new-covenant, gospel category.
3. Requiring obedience of children is possible.
4. Requiring obedience should be practiced at home on inconsequential things so that it is possible in public on consequential things.
5. It takes effort to require obedience, and it is worth it.
6. You can break the multi-generational dysfunction.
7. Gracious parenting leads children from external compliance to joyful willingness.
8. Children whose parents require obedience are happier.
9. Requiring obedience is not the same as requiring perfection.
“Parents, you can do this. It is a hard season. I’ve spent more than sixty percent of my life in it. But there is divine grace for this, and you will be richly rewarded.” – John Piper