I recently posted a lengthy article which laid out six supracultural biblical parenting principles. To be “supracultural” means they are principles that apply in every single culture. To be “biblical” means they are attitudes we see taught in Scripture, but not necessarily about parenting. I applied them to parenting, however, in my original article.
My original post is found here. It was quite long, so someone encouraged me to rerelease it as six individual posts. This is part four of six; it excludes the original introduction and gets right to the questions.
Does my parenting style teach obedience?
Supracultural Principle: Christians believe submission is even found within the Triune Godhead. We know we are to submit in multiple contexts, agreeing with Scripture that parents must teach obedience to their children.
We believe in submission, following the order God has designed. God Himself exists in an order and has designed us to exist within one as well. Although submission to authority is a challenge, we recognize life is contingent upon it.
Of all the Bible doesn't say to parents, it does say that children ought to be obedient. To us. But why ought they obey their parents?
The whole world is built off of varying degrees of submission. Our children will grow and need to, in various contexts, follow. In work, church, government, and family affairs they must follow to some degree. Much of the pain people cause themselves flows from an inability to follow when they should.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” Ephesians 6:1
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” Colossians 3:20
It doubt the New Testament era toddlers took copious notes when these verses were read. I think their parents would have overheard these exhortations, and taken note. When the Ephesians or Colossians sat down to study their letters, the parents would have heard this command. They likely would have understood the parental need to teach obedience.
Now, grace filled, relational teaching of obedience is far different from a harsh teaching of obedience. But do we teach obedience to our children? You are their parent, not their friend, and you are responsible for them.
One question to ask is this: am I able to use the word “no” with my children? I’m not talking about a caloused or cold use of the word. I’m talking about a loving ability to refuse them.
There are times we must. I believe we ought to say “yes” as much as we can. Then our “no” counts for something. Still, we must be able to actually refuse them.
I’m sure every parent, in a pinch, can say “no.” But do you notice a paralyzing fear come over you when you must say “no”? Do you frequently try to distract them, avoiding the confrontation?
Does my parenting style teach obedience? Can I teach a version of obedience that is also freeing? A version where they know the boundaries, yet feel free operating within them? Or do I teach obedience that is void of relationship?
It is worth noting where these directives about the obedience of children are found. The New Testament. We consider the Old Testament our Scriptures also, but they do take more interpretive work. The New Testament, on the other hand, is straightforward for us. All this to say, modern believers can rest knowing the obedience mandate is a crucial one for us to learn.
This subject takes great care to unpack well. Kids need to fly. They don’t need to be controlled. We are to aid them in discovering who God has made them to be. Still, the Bible is clear, teaching our children to obey is a significant part of our parental role.