When I was younger, obedience was doing what I was told no matter what.  As I reflect on my obedience as a child, I don’t believe that it was true obedience.  Not really.  I obeyed out of fear, not love.  At least, that is the way it was for the most part.  For parenting my own children, I desired for them to obey in a biblical sense.  I wanted to have obedient children who were joyful in their obedience.  This is what I have learned about How To Get Your Kids To Obey.  

Do you struggle to make your kids obey? Are you at your wits end with disobedient children? I want to offer you some encouragement...and possibly some conviction in your Christian parenting. How To get Your Kids To Obey.

Parenting is hard and it seems that a new philosophy on how to parent arises every few years.  We want to raise our kids well.  We want to do good by them.  And we want them to ‘turn out’ better than we did.

Demanding Obedience

And because we know about many of the pitfalls of childhood and adolescence, we want to impart our wisdom to our precious children. 

However, our children aren’t always receptive to our counsel of good judgment.  They just seem to want to find out the hard way.

Sound familiar?

So, as a last resort, we pull out the big guns. 
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.

We quote scripture.   

Oh yes, children!  Obey your parents!!  You MUST!

And if you grew up with the old adages “When we say jump, you ask how high” or “you will worship the ground I walk on!”, then you know even better how your kids are supposed to be obedient to your demands and rules.  

No questions asked. 

Any debate is met with harshness and punishment.

That’s how it’s supposed to be, right?

If it is, then we have sorely missed the mark. 

The Forgotten Instruction

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.You see, we have no problem referencing the above verses and many others along the same line.  BUT, we neglect the verse right after.

Well now!  This is an entirely new ballgame!  

Let us not discourage our children.

Let us not provoke them to anger – OHHH…could the cause of their anger be the fact that we are provoking them to anger and discouragement?

Instead, we are responsible for bringing them up in the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord

Did you get that?  Not our way.  Not the way that makes us look good (or not so good).  

But the instruction that comes from God.

I wonder if we intentionally avoid these verses because we really don’t like to be told what to do.  Can I just put that out there?  You know it is true.  I know it is true. 

Maybe we don’t want any of the responsibility that comes with our children’s behaviour.  

Maybe we don’t want to think about the possibility that we have something to do with how our children react.  That maybe it is more our responsibility than we want to admit.

My Heart Was Convicted

I did a study by Pam Forster of Doorposts – Child training Boot Camp.  What I found convicted my heart but also encouraged me.  

You see, I have held a certain belief for almost 15 years.  My children are to be treated as kindly and respectfully by me as I would treat a friend – actually, I ought to treat them better than a friend.  I should not treat my children in a way I would not want to be treated.  Just because they are children – my children – does not mean I am permitted to regard them callously or coldly. 

It’s not ok to treat them with contempt.

What I say greatly matters to them. 

I have the power to break them. 

I have the power to build them up. 

I have the power to discourage and dishearten them. 

I have the power to help them become who God wants them to be. 

The choice is mine.

As A Parent

I created this 8×10 printable for my blog post “How To Get Your Kids To Obey”.  It is a good reminder to us parents that we have the power to tear down our children or to build them up.

Interestingly enough, I discovered through this study that verse 20 of Colossians 3 is pretty much the same in all of the versions of the Bible I looked at. 

Get Some Perspective

But verse 21 had several different variations. 

As I read through the varied versions, I recalled the times I have failed to heed this instruction in regards to my own behaviour towards my children. 

But I also see the progress that has been made in my life since my oldest was little.  And it is only because of Jesus and His healing in my life. 

Here is what I found in those versions.  I know there are several versions below and it might feel redundant, but please, take the time to carefully read through each one and listen to the Holy Spirit’s conviction of anywhere you need it.  Things will not get better if we just ignore it and pretend there is nothing wrong.

Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.  KJV

Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.  NLT

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.  NIV

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so they won’t become discouraged.  HCSB

Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.  NASB

Fathers, do not provoke your children, so they will not become disheartened.  NET

…the fathers! vex not your children, lest they be discouraged.  YLT

Fathers, do not vex your children, to the end that they be not disheartened.  DBY

Parents, do not irritate your children, or they will become discouraged.  GNT

Fathers, do not be hard on your children, so that their spirit may not be broken.  BBE

Parents, don’t provoke your children in a way that ends up discouraging them.  CEBA

Fathers, don’t irritate your children and make them resentful, or they will become discouraged.  CJB

Fathers, don’t make your children resentful, or they will become discouraged.  GW

Parents, don’t come down too hard on your children or you’ll crush their spirits.  MSG

Our Responsibility

Just because most versions say “father”, don’t make the mistake of thinking that these instructions relinquish us moms of our own responsibilities.  Our husbands are the head of the home and we all fall under their headship, so ultimately, the father/husband will be held accountable for what goes on in the home – he will be held accountable for how he permits us to treat our children.

But we, as mothers, the nurturers, will be held accountable for our own actions and words as well.   

My husband and I were talking about this topic the other day.  He understands his responsibility in this area.  I know, without a doubt, that if I ever mistreated our children, he would call me on it and put a stop to it immediately – even when our children are adults.  The mistreatment of adult children hurts just the same as young children.  He recognizes his authority and his responsibility as a husband and father.  I am so thankful for his leadership of our family.

I know, we don’t need any more guilt trips on how we are failing as mothers.  But, God gives us instruction in His word and it would do us good to heed His directives.  They are meant for our good and not our demise.  They are for our conviction and not our condemnation.

Parenting Wisdom From Bible Study

Last year, I went through a fantastic Bible study written by Pam Forster of Doorposts.  It is called Child Training Boot Camp.  I learned so much from her wisdom and what she said and how the Holy Spirit spoke to and trained my heart confirmed my own parenting philosophies and convictions.  Here are some great questions from one lesson:

Have I provoked my children to disobedience?

Am I contributing to their disobedience?

Have I offended them in a way that is causing disobedience?

Am I treating them harshly or disrespectfully?

Are they feeling unloved or neglected?

If so, I need to repent and seek forgiveness.

Aren’t those great questions?  Do they convict your heart as they did mine? 

How have the above versions of Colossians 3:21 convicted you?  

Do you struggle to make your kids obey? Are you at your wits end with disobedient children? I want to offer you some encouragement...and possibly some conviction in your Christian parenting. How To get Your Kids To Obey.
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Aimee Imbeau

Aimee is a wife to an incredible husband, Marcus, and mother to three fabulous children. She works from home as a homeschool support teacher and she homeschools her own children as well. She loves writing abut her faith and decided to give blogging a try in 2013. The rest is history...
  • Trena Quesenberry

    This was a timely word that I needed to hear today. I love it when I’m thinking or struggling with something, and then I come across a post like this at exactly the right time. I love it when God gives confirmation!

    • I love it when that happens, too, Trena! I am so glad that the Holy Spirit instructs us when our hearts are ready for truth. And to have a teachable spirit is so important. I need reminders of these truths almost everyday.

  • Ouch. This is definitely a good word for me today. Thanks for this!

    • I know, hey? I think we all need reminders of this from time to time. It is good to remember.
      Thanks for stopping by Leslie.

  • Su

    Our whole family needs this. We are struggling with back talk and disobedience almost daily. thx

    • Hi Su. Parenting is so hard, isn’t it? I pray that God will impart wisdom and grace upon you and your family. I intend to write more posts based upon what I learned from this study. You may find those posts helpful, too. I hope you come back for some encouragement in those other posts and be sure to check out Pam’s Bible studies – they are fantastic – and don’t take long to do every day.

  • mj

    just found you and this is a topic that is on my heart right now – I will be checking out the information you sourced thanks!

    • Thanks MJ. Doorposts is excellent for child-rearing. I have used many of their resources.

  • Wow, these are really thought-provoking questions. I think this study really would benefit my husband and me. 🙂

    • Aren’t they, though? It is a great study, Mary. I also love how Pam has suggestions to get the children involved in the study, too.

  • Pam Ecrement

    What a great post and admonition, Aimee! You are so on point with this post and council. My children are long gone and grown, but this advice would have been helpful “back then”. This looks like a great study that I would recommend to anyone still parenting children at home. Happy to be visiting as your neighbor at the Linkup today at Time Warp Wife.

    • Thank you so much for this edification, Pam! I truly appreciate your input here! I take your encouragement to heart.

  • Michelle

    We are struggling with disobedience, and it took me awhile to realize that I am encouraging this behavior unknowingly/knowing. That may not make sense, but they watch me all day…I have to pray daily and ask God to help me parent. Sometimes loving, and then sometimes firm. Never out of anger. This is where a child can be disheartened. I have the door posts book of righteousness and it has really helped me wth discipline measures.

    • Thanks for sharing Michelle. It can be hard to see the areas where we have ‘failed’. But so good to know that God redeems! Our kids are watching us! They know when we fake it and know when we are genuine in what we say/do. Actually, that is a big part of my next blog post that I intend to publish today.
      Isn’t “Instruction in Righteousness” awesome? I have used it many times to bring my kids to obedience. It makes a huge difference when my kids know it is God saying such things and not mommy being ‘mean’. And how the Holy Spirit convicts their hearts and brings them to repentance…isn’t that what we want?
      Parenting is hard…so hard. But know that hen you are walking in His will and truth, you will be the best mommy your kids could ever ask for.

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  • Sounds like Pam’s book was/is a great resource, Aimee. I also love the way you’ve fleshed out for us the mistake many parents make in quoting Scripture and demanding obedience. I don’t know that I did that, but I certainly could have used help from a book like Pam’s with my parenting. Of course, now that my kids are mostly out of the nest, I suppose I should focus on those “someday” grandchildren! Oh wait, aren’t grandparents supposed to spoil their grandbabies? ha! Thanks for this great resource and your wisdom to boot, my friend!

    • Thanks, Beth. I may have been a bit facetious in the beginning of my post;) I have been using Pam’s resources for several years now and our family enjoys them very much. She even has a chart for kids to follow to Biblically resolve conflict with each other! And, yes, you are supposed to spoil your grand-babies when they arrive…but I can also see you as being a huge part of raising them up in the Lord and being a tremendous encouragement to your kids as they parent.

      • I knew you were being facetious, Aimee, but the sad truth is many parents do that or have done that thinking it was a good thing. Glad you brought better ways to handle it to light! Great job and happy Easter, my friend!

  • Gwen AnIslandFamilyByGrace

    We have used a couple of Pam Forster’s books before, and this one sounds just as good. I definitely could improve a lot on the tone of voice I use when dealing with difficult behaviour/ attitudes in my children. Thank you for a challenging and helpful post!

    • Her stuff is great, isn’t it, Gwen? Be encouraged in knowing that we all need improvement in areas…even Pam acknowledges this in herself throughout the study. I think it is when we stop believing that we are a work in progress that trouble rears it’s ugly head. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts here!

  • So glad I found you on the Faith ‘n Friends linkup, Aimee. This is such an important post, such wisdom that is often overlooked. I liked the way you looked at several versions of this verse. We forget our end of the deal, don’t we? Pinning this now!

    • Thank you, Betsy. Yes, we often do forget our end of the deal. Looking at all of the different versions of that one verse really convicted my heart…and what comes to mind when I get mad at my kids;) Thank you for pinning!

  • I can’t love this enough! I’ve been learning lately, as my daughter is now in her later teen years, that the older they get, the more you have to rely on relationship to have any influence over them.

    • So true, Dawn. That relationship is so important. And you are a fantastic mom!

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