Teaching Obedience without Legality
One of the most challenging, yet satisfying, gifts I have ever received is the gift of parenthood. Teaching my children obedience has been one of the most challenging parts of being a parent. It can be difficult to teach them the way they should go without provoking them, both of which are biblical principles for parents to follow. God calls children to be obedient to their parents, and as a parent, my job is to guide them in that, so they can honor God. It can be quite the balancing act.
As we teach our children obedience, we must be careful not to confuse it with legalism. When you are solely focused on behavior modification, it becomes about their “works” rather than about faith. Below are some ways to help you teach obedience without legalism.
- Communicate when Disciplining: your child needs to understand why they are being disciplined. They must understand your expectations and why they are important. Healthy communication in this area will help them better understand what is expected of them so they can make better decisions.
- Lead them through Example: to teach obedience, we need to show a good example to our children. For example, if you don’t want your children to scream inside, you shouldn’t scream inside either. In other words, practice what you preach. That shows you value what you are teaching them as well.
- Focus on Positive Behavior: when your child does something right, point it out. Don’t simply focus on negatives. You should point out positives as much, if not more, as negatives. Otherwise, they may become discouraged and only focus on behavior modification rather than a true transformation of the heart.
- Help Your Children Learn They Can’t Earn Love: since we are unable to earn God’s love, we should teach our children this truth through our parenting. This is best taught when they misbehave. When I correct my children, I let them know I will always love them, regardless of what they do.
The way we discipline our children has a huge impact on how they develop their relationship with God. Let’s do what we can to help them learn obedience without legalism.