The Role of Children in the Family

The Role of Children in the Family

Both the Old and the New Testaments agree that children have only one role or responsibility in the family – to obey their parents. The admonition of Solomon in Proverbs 1:8 is more fully explained by Paul in Ephesians 6:1-3.

Bible Verses: Proverbs 1:8 & Ephesians 6:1-3

“My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother.” – Proverbs 1:8

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother,” which is the first commandment with promise: “that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.” – Ephesians 6:1-3

Reflection and Challenge

We read in Proverbs 1:8 a warm and appropriate scene; a father speaking to his son and encouraging him to receive the wisdom of his parents. Solomon’s mention of “instruction” shows he understood that children are to be regarded capable of thought and obedience.

In essence, Solomon is saying that children are not to be taught and disciplined primarily through physical punishment such as spanking; they are to be instructed.

The Responsibility of Children in the Family
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In Ephesians 6:1-3, the command is simple and that is for children to obey their parents. The role of children in the family is to obey their parents and parents have the responsibility to teach their children obedience – one of the most important jobs for parents.

*Note: “Children” is an inclusive term. It is not a matter of either sex or age that is involved.

Children Ought to Obey their Parents

Twice in Scripture has God intervened and directly stated what He would have children to do. The last time was nearly two thousand years ago when He gave a revelation to Paul for the church. The first time was nearly thirty-four hundred years ago when He gave a revelation to Moses and Israel in which He commanded, “Honor your father and mother” (Deuteronomy 5:16).

God’s will for children is that they are to obey their parents. The expression “in the Lord” does not limit the responsibility only to the circumstances where the parents are believers. Colossians 3:20 clearly points out that children are to obey their parents “in all things,” not just in those things pertaining to Christian living.

“In the Lord” more properly is understood to mean by the Lord or because it is the Lord’s directive (this is what God says children are to do). “For this is right” indicates that when a child respects his parents’ authority, he is respecting God’s order of authority in other areas of life.

Such obedience is perfectly illustrated by God the Son who was completely obedient to God the Father, even though that obedience resulted in his death (Philippians 2:6-8).

The Responsibility of Children

The Importance of Teaching Children to Obey

Think about this for just a moment, parents are admonished to teach their children how to obey, now why is that? Parents need not teach their children to disobey because they have each inherited an inclination to sin from Adam, but obedience must be taught.

Teaching obedience to their children is essential for all parents so that their children will grow up knowing how to obey God even when they do not understand everything or do not want to.

We call this discipline on the part of the parents. This will not be easy for parents but disobedience must be punished for obedience to be learned.

Hebrews 12:6 says, “The Lord disciplines (or chastens) those whom He loves.” (See also Proverbs 3:12.)

Promise of Reward for Obedience

Two things are promised to children who obey their parents:

  • It will be well with them – they will have a happy life
  • They will enjoy long life

These are the two things that children want most, and obedience to parents is the only way to assure them. That is why this is the first commandment with promise; from it springs all other important issue of life.

The Role of Children in the Family

The child who has not learned to obey his parents, who are God’s representatives in the family, will not learn to obey God.

Conclusion

To honor our parents means much more than simply obeying them. It means to show them respect and love, to care for them as long as they need us, and to seek to bring honor to them by the way we live.

Children must learn to obey their parents, not only because they are their parents, but also because God has commanded it to be so. Disobedience to parents is rebellion against God.

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