We were eye-to-eye in a struggle of wills…me, the parent and he, the son. This young man would test my patience…and my grace over the years. He brought the term “strong-willed child” into my life! I had not known anything about it before him! My daughter was the picture perfection of the compliant child. Teaching her obedience was a dream. But my son…that was an entirely different story. I had my work cut out for me. Some of you…many of you know exactly what I am talking about. You have a strong-willed child (or children…my 3rd is also of the same sort…**SIGH**) yourself. And maybe you are here because you need to understand how to teach our children obedience.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that my youngest 2 are strong-willed. I have come to embrace this personality trait…and perhaps even see a bit of my own strong will. In fact, I’ve come to be more comfortable with their strong-will than my oldest’s easy-going compliance. Interesting, hey? A lot of that likely comes from my own compliant childhood and how my compliance affected me.
So, how do we get our children to obey us?
Getting To The Heart Of The Matter
To begin with, we must understand that obedience is a heart issue. There isn’t a special formula or any fairy dust that will make our kids obedient. Teaching them to listen to the convictions of the Holy Spirit, learning to know the voice of the shepherd, is key.
I don’t want my kids to obey me ‘just cuz’, similarly, God doesn’t want me to obey Him ‘just cuz’. He longs for my heart – my whole heart – to be obedient to Him. It is His Word that changes hearts…so, are your kids in the Word? Are you? Don’t make excuses for this. If you are struggling with obedience, this is the first place to take a good look at.
Are your kids in the Word?
Why Should I Obey?
Often children, especially strong-willed children, want to know the WHY. And we, as parents, have to get past the ‘because I said so’ philosophy and teach their hearts the truth about the importance of obedience.
Some points I have discussed with my kids about the ‘why’ of obedience are:
- God’s Word instructs children to obey their parents.
- Jesus obeyed His Father, therefore, as followers of Christ, we also ought to obey – our parents and our Heavenly Father.
- Learning to obey our parents quickly, now, and the first time, will equip and prepare us to readily obey God as well.
- My husband and I have their best interests at heart and have a wealth of wisdom. We know the consequences of certain choices and we want them to avoid those consequences, so we give instruction. If they obey, they likely won’t experience those natural consequences. Sadly, they have had to see this play out themselves several times, wishing they had obeyed to begin with.
- Obedience shows trust. When our children obey us, we know they trust us. When this is explained to them, it brings deeper understanding of the purpose of obedience.
- As much as we want the to obey us, we also promise to really work on not provoking them to anger and frustration. You see, the command for children to obey is quickly followed with the instruction for parents to not exasperate 😉 .
- Looking to Jesus for the ultimate example of obedience. He became obedient even to death by crucifixion. If you have never read the details about the crucifixion, read it here. Now that is insane obedience!
The following is a resource I have used for my youngest to help her understand the importance of obedience…it really helped!
Be The Super Model You Were Meant To Be!
Oh boy…here is the tough one for us wives! I quickly learned that I must model obedience to my children. If I don’t teach them obedience through my example, then how on earth can I expect them to obey?!
First, and foremost, I must obey God. Easier said than done, isn’t it? How quickly do I obey God when He asks me to do something? Or how about this…I quickly choose to obey Him and then question it later on. For example, recently I went on a little speaking tour. I had to be away from my family for 3 days. I don’t like that. But when I received the invitation for the tour months before and Marcus said I ought to go, I agreed prayerfully, knowing it was surely God’s call for me. As the days got closer, I began to regret and second-guess my decision. I just didn’t want to leave my family! Going out on my own was out of my comfort zone. Completely! I even very briefly considered canceling. I was not fostering a heart of obedience to my Lord. That had to change.
Second, I had to have obedience towards my husband. Ok, ladies, if the previous one was hard…this one is crazy, stupid HARD!
Who’s with me?
Over the last almost 18 years of marriage, I have found the most difficult obedience to my hubby has been obedience with a happy heart. After all, cranky, bitter obedience is not true obedience, is it?
But…be confident in this…our children are watching us. Will we submit to our husband’s Godly authority without grumbling?
If you are a man reading this…do you make it easy or hard for your wife to submit to you? Is she confident in your love for her? Do you make it simple for her to trust your heart? I really wish Marcus would write some posts about being a Godly husband!
The Last Hurrah
We can go with all of the pop psychology we want these days – although it will be completely different next year, OR, we can see what other Godly parents have done or are doing and be open to their wisdom and advice.
I have been a ‘fan’ of Pam Forster of Doorposts for some time now. I am pretty sure she would not be keen on the term ‘fan’…but if I could say someone is a spiritual mother to me, it would be her. Without a doubt. So, I am going to learn from her! And the most awesome thing is that she requires us to follow the prompting of the Holy Spirit! That is what a great teacher does!
Which areas above do you struggle with the most? Do you have a teachable spirit? Do you prefer to listen to what’s popular or to the seasoned parents? How are you doing with obedience to the Father and to your husband?
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