Parenting is a journey filled with joys, challenges, and moments of frustration. At the National Center for Biblical Parenting live parenting seminars, we often ask, “How many of you have a challenge in your home when trying to get things done? Kids have to be told multiple times, or they have bad attitudes, or they just don’t get the job done? People laugh as so many hands go up. It’s a common problem.
In fact, it’s disheartening when a simple task turns into a battle of wills or when instructions are ignored altogether. We have a practical solution to share with you in this post but first let’s step back and acknowledge why this is so important. Many books, even biblical parenting books, don’t fully address this very important challenge. By delving into the theology of obedience, we can inspire and equip parents to foster obedience in their children and lay the foundation for several life skills for their future.
Obedience is more than just completing tasks; it holds profound significance in a child’s spiritual development. Ephesians 6:1 reminds us, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Through obedience, children learn to trust and follow God’s guidance. They develop a conscience and understand the importance of doing what is right.
Jesus affirmed the value of obedience in John 10:27 when He said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” Obedience of parents is a training ground which provides children with the basic skills necessary to listen to God’s voice and cultivate a deep, unwavering trust in Him.
Obedience fosters qualities like diligence, perseverance, attention to detail, and the ability to work collaboratively. When children learn to give up their agenda in obedience, they learn something that is essential for successful relationships, effective teamwork, and personal growth. By emphasizing obedience, parents are not just getting things done; they are shaping their children’s character and preparing them for a fruitful and fulfilling life.
The heart of a person is where they process life. It’s like a workshop where tools are developed to address the challenges of life. The heart is the center of desires, and it plays a crucial role in the journey of obedience. Inside a child’s heart, desires often clash with the need to obey. Teaching obedience helps children navigate this internal struggle and learn to process a feeling of obligation. It instills a sense of responsibility and maturity, enabling them to discern when the “I need to” must supersede the “I want to.” Obedience cultivates a willingness to trust God’s greater plan and prepares children to follow Him wholeheartedly.
Sometimes parents wish that their children would just want to obey. But the reality is that most adults don’t want to mow the grass or clean out the car. Responsibility is doing what you need to do even if you don’t want to. That skill is learned in childhood when children are taught to follow instructions even when it’s not convenient for them. Tightening your action point can make all the difference.
A word of warning is important here. When it comes to instructing children, anger is not the most effective cue to indicate that you as a parent mean business. While it may signal seriousness, it can harm the parent-child relationship. Instead, we can adopt firmness without harshness, creating an environment that fosters respect and understanding.
By communicating expectations clearly and consistently, setting boundaries, and clarifying explanations when necessary, parents can establish a foundation of trust and obedience. This approach allows children to distinguish between instructions that require obedience and suggestions that encourage their growth and autonomy.
One simple way to communicate with a child is use the words, “You need to…” This communicates a sense of obligation and mimics the conscience, producing internal training for a child. That uncomfortable feeling inside is an important part of responsibility and maturity. Cultivating obedience in our children is an essential aspect of parenting.
By understanding the theology of obedience and implementing practical strategies, we can guide our children toward a life enriched with spiritual growth, personal development, and meaningful relationships. As parents, we play a significant role in shaping their hearts and preparing them for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. Let us embrace this transformative journey, relying on God’s guidance and grace as we navigate the path of obedience with love, compassion, and unwavering dedication.
Biblical, Practical, Heart-Based Guidance at Your Fingertips
The Christian Parenting Handbook: 50 Heart-Based Strategies for All the Stages of Your Child’s Life
Nuggets of parenting wisdom condensed into 50 short chapters, each one biblical, practical, and relevant for parents of children ages 2-18. Learn appropriate ways to correct, instruct, and set limits. Glean wisdom for dealing with emotions, conflict, and developing closeness in your family… and much more. These 50 strategies provide you with hands-on tools for parenting children of any age.
You will learn
- A practical tool to stop children’s arguing
- How to separate firmness from harshness
- A strategy to help children change their hearts
- Ways to teach kids to add energy to family life
- Solutions for sibling conflict
- The relational side of parenting
- What to do when parents don’t agree
- How to help kids who are blamers
- and much more