Teaching Your Kids To Disobey


I believe that consistency in discipline is one of the hardest things to do as a parent.

But it’s one of the most important.

A lot of parents ask why their kids don’t obey them.  The answer for many parents is because you taught them it was okay not to.

Whether or not a parent is consistent to discipline, is the difference between teaching a child to obey or teaching a child to disobey.

As a parent, you’re not just teaching your child by what you do and say; you’re also teaching by what you don’t do and say.

When your child disobeys you or does something wrong in front of you and you don’t discipline them, or worse you say you’re going to discipline and you don’t, you are teaching your child to disobey. You are teaching them that it’s okay to disobey, that it’s okay to disrespect or disregard authority, that sin is not bad.  A child learns respect for authority and the difference between right and wrong from you.

If you instruct a child that if they do something they will get disciplined, and they do that thing and you don’t follow through, you are in effect undermining your own authority and in action teaching that authority doesn’t need to be respected or regarded.

This is why some young adults have sex before marriage and some throw literal tantrums at their jobs when they don’t get what they want.  Because as children, their parents didn’t teach that authority was important and that it should be respected and obeyed.  A person tends not to obey authority that he or she does not respect. And a person is supposed to learn to respect authority from their parents.

Some of you are saying, “I can’t discipline my child yet.  My child is too young to understand.”  If you wait to discipline your child until they can mentally understand the words you are saying to them, you are going to have a nightmare on your hands by then.  Don’t wait.  If your child won’t lay still to let you change his/her diaper and you discipline your child, your child will learn to lie still.  If your child keeps throwing food on the floor while eating and you discipline your child, your child will learn not to throw food on the floor.  But more than food and lying still, your child is learning respect for authority.

It’s imperative that your child learns to respect and obey God’s delegated authority, because a child will never be able to make their own wise choices until they first learn to fear the Lord.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. (Prov 9:10).

Respect for God’s authority is instilled through God’s delegated authority figures: parents.  Folly is bound up in the heart of a child and it’s a parents job to drive it far from them with the rod of discipline (Prov 22:15).

It takes a lot of hard work to stay consistent.  Don’t give up.

(Image Credit: Wayan Vota)

About Josh Christophersen

Josh is a software engineer, church planter, and blogger with a passion for helping people do their life well. He lives in KC with his wife and 7 kids.

2 Replies

  1. Staying consistent in discipline and instruction is most definitely the toughest aspect of parenting little ones! Thank you for the reminder and encouragement to not grow weary in this season!

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