Friday, August 3, 2012

Who's The Boss?

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."
 - Ephesians 6:1

I've blogged recently about making sure my kids know who they are. I even listed a few of the practical ways DH and I are teaching this concept to our guys.

But there is a flip side to this discussion that I feel like looking at today. Almost as important as my boys knowing who they are, is knowing who they are NOT. A full picture is important unless I want some really confused little humans.

Again, please let me stress that I am not a perfect mother. I'm learning as I go (mainly from my mistakes). I'm so thankful for forgiveness - from my children, my husband, and from God - and second chances. So please don't see these posts as a "how to" but more as a "learn from me and save yourself some heartache".

The first "who they are NOT" is - The Boss

My children need to know that they are not in charge! DH and I need to know that they are not in charge too :-)

Why make such a big deal out of this? Who cares if my little one runs the house, makes the decisions, or doesn't obey?

I firmly believe that if we don’t teach our children obedience and respect for authority, we are hurting them.

When I think about all the people and institutions I have had to obey, the list is long! Employers, teachers, the law and government . . . I could keep going. Obedience is a part of life whether we like it or not. And for our kiddos, who are in the thick of being told what to do everywhere they go, it's a crucial skill to have.

We've all seen it - the child in the grocery store who refuses to sit in the buggy shopping cart. He kicks and screams until his mother lets him down. Then he demands a pack of cookies and yells and screams until she gives in. I don't know about you, but I've been there. We do what we have to do to survive some days. But what if that giving in becomes a habit? Who does that child become?

He's the child in school who can't obey his teacher. He can't do what he's told on the bus or in gym class. He becomes the teenager who ignores curfew and speed limits. He becomes the adult who gets fired from his job for failing to follow company policy. And his parents? They are miserable the whole time as they get walked on, ignored, and pushed around.

Yes, that's a drastic view of the situation, but you get my point. Obedience is more than just a nice concept. It's actually a major skill we need to teach to our children for their own good in the world!

But how do we do that?

As anyone with a two year old has discovered, obedience does not come naturally! As parents, we must demand it consistently.

That's really easy to type and very hard to live out. I know.

But when we tell our children what to do, we have to follow through to make sure they do it. I know how hard that is at the end of a long day when we just want to sit with a good cup of coffee and rest. I know how tough it is to correct one more kid one more time when it's what we've done ALL day. But consistency is the key. If we stay with it, they will learn the lesson. And everyone (parents, children, and society) benefits from a child who learns obedience.

Other than consistency, what else do I have to offer? In our house, we tell our kids that learning obedience is their number one job. Nothing else they need to learn is more important. When we stress it to them, they aren't quite as shocked when we reinforce the skill over and over all day all week.

I have to be honest here. My boys have questioned this obedience thing. I've told them the same things I've told you about life skills, blah, blah, blah (I'm sure that's what they hear). And it all falls flat. Then I pull out my Bible. First I show them Romans 13:1

"Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, 
for there is not authority except that which God has established. 
The authorities that exist have been established by God."

I explain that this verse tells me to obey those in charge of me (employers, law, government, etc). Then I show them  Ephesians 6:1 

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."

This is God's note to kids. When it's in black and white and coming straight from God's Word, it's pretty tough to argue.  We all have to learn how to obey.
Whew! That's a long post! So to sum up, our kids are not the boss. They need to know they aren't the boss. It's our job to teach them. And everyone involved benefits from a child who has learned the skill of obedience, especially the child. 

What do you think? How do you teach obedience to your kids? Do you think I'm making a big deal out of nothing? I love to hear from you!

Linking up with The Coffee Shop


  1. great post, very insightful. Its difficult to be a good parent in today's world. I see parents giving in on big issues that aren't teaching their kids any values. I model for my son the person I want him to be, but also show him I'm the parent and he's the child, and some rules will never be broken because I said so. Am I rambling?

    1. Not rambling :-) It's so hard to parent. So many gray areas. It is nice to know that one area is black and white - who is in charge! I hear you.

  2. I can't imagine how difficult it is to raise and train a child. I onky know how grateful I am that my mother did not let any of us be the boss. We all tend towards bossy but that's not the same thing :)

    I think a lot of it was because she set rules and stuck by them so we always knew what to expect!


    1. You make a great point! Knowing what to expect, in advance, takes half the battle away. The confusion caused by an ever-changing system is frustrating to kids. Sounds like your mom did a good job :-)

  3. Great post! Very true and very hard. I can remember my parents saying several times as I was growing up, "I am not your friend. I am your mother/father. it not my job to always make you happy. It is my job to teach you right from wrong." I can definitely appreciate those words now that I am a parent myself.

    1. Amazing how smart our parents became once we became parents ourselves. Here too. The mom that I thought didn't know anything is now my go-to for parenting advice.

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