1910) Kids Rule?

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When I was in seminary forty years ago, one of my professors lamented the number of best-selling books that were selling nothing more than plain old common sense.  He could not understand why people had to pay money for knowledge that came naturally to their far less educated grandparents.  But then he said, “Perhaps we are a nation of people who have lost our common sense.”

A few years earlier, in 1970, psychologist James Dobson wrote a best-seller called Dare to Discipline (updated 1996).  The title tells the story.  Other experts had begun advising against disciplining children, arguing that the ‘natural goodness’ of children would have a much better chance of flowering if parents weren’t always pestering them with rules and negative words like “No.”  I think those experts lacked common sense.

The need for authority in the home is so important that God made it one of the Ten Commandments, commanding children to honor their father and mother.  God also commands parents to exert that authority with kindness and love, and that authority can certainly be abused.  But kids cannot rule the home.


Child Calls Police on Parents… Because They Made Him Eat Salad

By Annie Holmquist, June 21, 2018 at: www.intellectualtakeout.org

     Practically every child has turned up their nose and refused to eat a vegetable at some point in their life.  For me, that detestable vegetable was a stuffed green pepper, and only my mother’s firm insistence that I couldn’t have dessert until I finished it made me soldier through and swallow.

     Last week, a leafy green salad was the dreaded vegetable of a 12-year-old Nova Scotia boy.  Instead of obediently eating it, he took matters into his own hands and called the police.  Twice.  CBC reports:

     Just before 10 p.m. on Tuesday, Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers responded to a 911 call from the boy who said one of his parents made a salad he didn’t like.  However, before police arrived, the kid called 911 a second time asking when police would get there — and reiterated how much he disliked salad.

     While we may chuckle at such an incident, neither the boy’s parents nor the police who answered the call were amused.  And unfortunately, such a disrespectful attitude toward both sets of authorities is becoming all too prevalent among today’s children.

     Family practice doctor Leonard Sax notes this in his book, The Collapse of Parenting.  As he explains it, today’s parents have a condition called “role confusion.”  The main symptom of this condition is uncertainty in dealing with children, and as a result, those children run roughshod over their parents and turn instead to their friends for cues on how to behave.  Children also exhibit an attitude of ingratitude toward those around them.

     This was not always the case, notes Sax:

It’s tough to be a parent in a culture that constantly undermines parental authority.  Two generations ago, American parents and teachers had much greater authority.  In that era, American parents and teachers taught right and wrong in no uncertain terms.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  Those were commands, not suggestions.  Today, most American parents and teachers no longer act with such authority.  They do not command.  Instead they ask, ‘How would you feel if someone did that to you?’  The command has been replaced by a question.

     Such a loss of authority, explains Sax, hinders children from learning maturity:

When parents lose their authority – when same-age peers matter more than parents – then kids are no longer interested in learning the culture of the parents.  They want to learn the kiddie culture, the teen culture. …  

The benefits of parental authority are substantial.  When parents matter more than peers, they can teach right and wrong in a meaningful way.

     As the aforementioned salad incident indicates, increasing numbers of children are behaving as though they are in charge and know better than their authorities.  If such an attitude sticks with these children into the world of college and careers, will they be able to successfully thrive as adults?  If not, is it time for parents to reclaim their authority, not only for peace in the home, but for the future well-being of their offspring?



Deuteronomy 5:16  —  Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you. 

Proverbs 1:8  —  Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching.

Proverbs 29:15  —  To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.

Colossians 3:20-21  —  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.  Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Ephesians 6:1-4  —  Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.”  Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Hebrews 12:11  —  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.



Almighty God, according to thy mercy relieve our distress and sorrow.  In thy goodness, spare us and our children.  Grant that in our homes we may keep and foster thy heavenly Word.  O thou who art good, kind, and bountiful, have compassion on us.  Grant us the necessities of daily life and keep our families securely in thy care, so that we may honor you forever and ever.  Amen.

–Philip Melancthon, reformer (1497-1560)