Every child is prone to push the boundaries, but God expects parents to enforce them for their own good. Loving your child isn’t allowing them to get away with anything, but it is committing to discipline them through everything.
- Too many parents excuse their child’s behavior by claiming that defiant attitudes are merely passing phases.
- Sin is not a phase but a choice, and if parents don’t intervene, the rebellion will only worsen.
The Biblical Charge
- A refusal to discipline your children is an admittance that you do not care what they do or who they become.
- The Bible does not categorize parental negligence of discipline as love but hatred.
- The amount of love I have for my children depends on the degree of diligence with which I discipline them.
- You can merely punish a child with consequences, but you carefully discipline a child with instruction.
The Stark Warning
- The Bible categorizes children disobeying their parents as a serious sin (Rom. 1:30; Deut. 21:18-21; Mic. 7:6).
- The rise of rebellious children is a sign of the end times (2 Tim. 3:2; Matt. 10:21).
- Unruly children disqualify the fathers from church leadership (1 Tim. 3:4, 12; Titus 1:6).
- Everyone needs to learn that authorities exist for our benefit and that disobedience leads to consequences.
- Children who disobey their parents become students who disrespect teachers, employees who disagree with employers, citizens who disregard authorities, church members who discourage their pastors, and adults who disvalue God.
The Practical Application
- If you fail to exhibit parental authority during one stage of parenting, you’ll struggle with how to reclaim it later.
- Be committed to using whatever method that best gets your child’s attention.
- Discipline yourself before you discipline your children (cf. Eph. 6:4).
- If parents nag about everything, children won’t listen to anything.
- Be as eager to affirm your children as you are to correct them.
- Always discipline with discipleship as the goal.
If you don’t think godliness is a phase, don’t act as if disobedience is either.
Loving your child isn’t allowing them to get away with anything, but it is committing to disciple them through everything.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.