Your child's God-given responsibility is to submit to, honor, and obey you (Ephesians 6:1-3). We are all contaminated with a sin nature, so training a child to do this will not be easy. But we must believe and communicate that the child will be blessed if she remains within God's "circle of blessing."
How can we define honoring and obeying parents? Here are some thoughts:
- Children must not speak to parents in imperatives, or as they would speak to a peer.
- Obedience can be defined as the "willing submission of one person to the authority of another."
- Because it is a willing submission, attitude matters! Remember to focus on the heart, not just behavior. Some use phrase that they must obey "all the way, right away, and with a happy heart."
- If I accept any response besides complete and willful obedience, then I am training them to rebel against my, and God's, authority.
- Be consistent. It is exhausting for us, but to enforce obedience in our children is our command from God!
- You can train your child to appeal only after they have learned that they are individuals under authority. Tripp gives some great guidelines, and I encourage you to review this section on your own.