Jan 242016 2 Responses

When My Kids May Rebuke Me

It can be uncomfortable if you are a guest in our house. It might feel disrespectful. If we are sitting at the dinner table and my phone vibrates, I sometimes instinctively look to see the message. If my daughter catches me, she calls me out. “No phones at the table, Daddy.”

Our guests nervously look at me to see how I will respond to being publicly corrected by a child. On good days, my response is “You are right Ella, thank you for reminding me.” I put my phone up and the conversation continues. On bad days I may not be as mindful of my response, but the result is still the same–my phone goes back in my pocket as I submit to my daughter’s leadership.

There are times, in which, as a parent it is my unique responsibility to enforce rules. The lines of authority are clear–Jenny and I are in charge and our children must submit to us. However, that should be the case as infrequently as possible. The more my children can see that we all submit to rules, the more effective the rules will be. (See: Why You Should Never Yell at a T-Ball Umpire)

Instead of always seeing me as the authority, they benefit from seeing me as someone who also must submit to others. It’s true as I interact with police officers, sports officials, members of the government, etc.

One way we communicate the importance of obedience to our children is by allowing them to hold us accountable to the truth. They have every right to call us out–in private or public–regarding certain things. By empowering them to have equal charge over us, it allows them to better understand our charge over them.

Kids Can Hold Me Accountable To:

1. God’s Word. In our house, the ultimate authority is not the parents; it is God. We all submit to what God has said in the Bible. Because this is the authority, my kids have every right to call attention to any action I take which might contradict Scripture. The Bible tells me to love so they have every right to ask, “Dad, is this punishment loving?” We are all called to submit to God and my kids can help me do so.

2. My Word. While my word doesn’t carry the authority of God’s word, my kids have a right to expect me to do what I say. Because of this, they have every right to remind me of what I have said (both to them and while preaching to others) and make sure I’m doing as I say. It is not disrespectful to remind me of my word and to assume I will not contradict myself. On occasion things change, but when they do, my kids deserve an explanation from me. (See: Kids Are Supposed to Test Us)

3. House Rules. Every house has rules. In good houses they are clearly spelled out. In other homes, they are assumed. While age/maturity does dictate some rules, most of the rules are true for everyone. Many of the things my kids are not allowed to do, I’m not allowed to do them either. In these areas, my kids are allowed to hold me accountable to the very rules which I expect them to obey. Because they are house rules, everyone has the expectation of obeying and everyone has the authority to enforce them. Enforcement isn’t saved for parents.

In these three areas, my kids are as much in charge as I am. While I have more responsibility, we have equal authority. As they hold me accountable, it helps them better understand their own behavior and makes it more likely we all will obey. (See: Cheerleader Tryouts–When Dreams Don’t Come True)

Honoring dinner time is a house rule. While there are times in which our schedule doesn’t allow, we work hard to make sure all four (normally five because my mom joins us) eat together five or six days a week. One part of honoring dinner time is by not having things at the table which could distract us. My kids are not allowed to have electronics at the table and neither am I. Just as I can remind them, they can remind me.

Do you allow your children to hold you accountable?


2 Responses to When My Kids May Rebuke Me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Please enter your name, email and a comment.