|Volume 25 Number 3 March 2023
Why Should Children
Obey Their Parents?
Johnny O. Trail
Every parent has had to deal with at least one child who has tried the limits of parental authority. Hopefully, parents step up and let their children know that the parents rather than the children control the home. This is biblical, and God expects parental leadership of children. Ephesians 6:1-3 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with promise: ‘That it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth’” (NKJV). Sadly, there are homes where there is neither discipline nor boundaries for a child’s behavior.
The rearing of a child is the responsibility of the parents. Some people in our society have relinquished these responsibilities to others. Instead of children being raised by godly parents, they are being raised by a society that is headed into spiritual destruction. Why is it so important that children be trained to obey their parents? Consider the following several reasons.
Children should be trained to obey their parents because it teaches respect for authority and the need for obedience. A person needs to understand the need for authority and its proper role in society. If parents allow their children to walk all over them, children will assume that other authorities will respond in the same manner. Children grown into adults find out very quickly that this is not the case.
Children should be trained to obey their parents because it teaches a child to revere his parents. Exodus 20:12 says, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.” One of the most disturbing things one witnesses in public is children who completely disrespect their parents. Parents need to be revered because of all they do to care for their children. Having and providing for a family is hard work, and children need to show respect.
Children should be trained to obey their parents because it protects the child both physically and spiritually. Children are sometimes unaware of the dangers that exist in our world. First Peter 5:8 reads, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” These dangers can come in many shapes, and they imperil a child physically and spiritually. Parents are in place to protect them from these sorts of things.
Children should be trained to obey their parents because it teaches that there are consequences for improper behaviors. If children are not punished for actions that violate the rules of the home, they learn that there are no consequences for their actions. Without any real punishments in place, they start to believe that adult life functions in the same way. Thus, young adults are reluctant to obey rules and even the laws of the land.
Children should be trained to obey their parents because it protects society. Society pays a heavy price when children are not trained to listen to their parents. The Old Testament Law had provisions for the protection of the entire community from rebellious children. Deuteronomy 21:18-21 records the following.
If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his city shall stone him to death with stones; so you shall put away the evil from among you, and all Israel shall hear and fear.
Children should be trained to obey their parents because it teaches them how to raise their own children. The adage, “Train your children well, because they will one day be in charge of your care,” might be true, but they will definitely oversee raising their own children. All too often, children will have kids and bring them back home to the grandparents to raise because they are not mature enough or financially stable enough to care for them themselves.
Studies demonstrate that grandparents who are tasked with raising their grandchildren can become resentful of those grandchildren. Typically, grandparents love spending time with their children’s children, but their age of childbearing and training has ended (Genesis 17:17; 18:12).
Children should be trained to obey their parents because it can enable them to have a longer life upon the face of the earth. Children are not always aware of the dangers that exist in life. Since they are born innocent (Mark 10:15), they are vulnerable, and evil people can easily take advantage of them. Therefore, children need guidance and boundaries to keep them safe. Sadly, there are adults in our society who would harm innocent children. Parents need to be ever watchful.
Children should be trained to obey their parents because it prepares them to pursue eternal life. The most important job that parents have is to guide their children to Heaven. Most children will not be talented enough to play professional sports. Most children will not become famous by worldly standards, but all people will pass from this life and stand in the Judgment before God (Hebrews 9:27).
As members of the Lord’s body, we should pray continually for the youth of our nation. We especially need to pray for children and parents who are members of the church. With so much evil present in our society, they have an extremely hard job.