We all know that, as parents, we take on a position of authority with our children. This idea is very natural to most of us. But understand that obedience and respect for authority do not come naturally to our children.
In Growing Kids God’s Way, the Ezzos say:
“Your children will not automatically obey, respect, or honor you. These activities run contrary to their natures. They must receive training and guidance from you,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 93).
When our kids hit about age 18 months, they begin to assert some independence. It is in their nature to follow their own free will. They want to do what they want to do. It’s not easy–for anybody–to submit to another person’s will. It goes against our nature.
But for us to accomplish anything with our children, we must teach them to obey and to respect our authority. This goes for everything from staying in bed after bedtime to teaching important moral qualities. In fact, having our children obey us is the first step in teaching them to show respect for others.
“Teaching children to respect and honor their parents is basic to teaching them how to show respect for others. It starts with the parents….There is something special about the role you serve as a parent. For that reason, we give this warning. Do not allow your children to mock your position as their guardian by their impulsive thoughts, words, and deeds,” (Growing Kids God’s Way, p. 92-93).
It takes real work to teach our children to obey and to respect our authority, but without it, we are left with very little. As parents, we are tasked with training our kids to be good people. That requires serious moral training. If they do nothing but ignore or mock us, none of this important training will happen. There are too many selfish, disrespectful kids (and adults!) who feel a sense of entitlement and that others are there to serve them.
If you want to raise a child who is selfless and thinks of others before he thinks of himself, start with obedience training. If you see any signs of disrespect, nip it in the bud. It’s when our children are little that this important work needs to happen.
And I cannot end this post without mentioning my eBook, Live in Harmony with First-Time Obedience. Teaching our children to respond with a “yes, mommy” when we call their names is the first step to instilling kindness and selflessness in our children. Teach them that they cannot do simply as they please. Teach them that by obeying you, they are learning to show respect and kindness for everyone in their lives.