Parents, Require Your Children to Obey

A few weeks ago, someone on facebook posted a photo of a child’s graded paper from school. The child’s teacher had written on the paper that she had told the child several times not to write in cursive. A friend of the child’s mom posted it. She included that the child wanted to learn cursive and that the child’s mother who was a veteran taught the child to write in cursive.

a mother's love parent

I watched as thousands of people shared the story. Many were in an uproar about it. Some were appalled by the teacher’s actions. Some wanted the teacher chastened for such an act. I saw comments about reporting the teacher to the board of education. Most were outraged that a teacher would make such a comment. I also saw many comments that declared “At least you could read it.” “The teacher should be glad the child could write in cursive.” I could go on. You get the idea.

I mulled it over for days. It really bothered me. I tried not to think about it, but I kept seeing it over and over again. Here are some points I made to a friend that posted the picture:

1. The child’s teacher asked her several times not to write in cursive. The child was being disobedient.

2. People are justifying the child’s disobedience with comments like, “it was only …”. “At least you could read it.” Justifying disobedience is a dangerous line to cross. Doing this gives children mixed messages. Sometimes you mean what you say and sometimes you don’t. Does a child get to pick and choose which instructions are up for negotiation?

3. The person who posted the picture included that the child’s mom was a veteran. What does that have to do with anything? My husband is a veteran. My grandfather was a veteran and wounded in action. Does that absolve a person from following instructions? No doubt the veteran comment was a way to manipulate others and elicit compassion and sympathy to join their side.

4. Why are adults bullies? This problem should have been resolved with the child’s teacher. A very short parent conference or phone call could have handled this. Handling it civilly obviously was not their intent. It was to gather support and attention.

5. These adults are teaching their child that they do not have to listen to adults. If something goes wrong in their life, their parents will be there to bail them out. Even the best of children will manipulate and lie to get their parent on their side. This family opened a wide gate to that happening.

I just checked the photo. It has been shared over 460,000. I’ll be honest. This kind of behavior grieves my heart.

If I have a problem with my child’s teacher, I discuss it with the teacher. Disagreeing or disrespecting an adult in front of a child causes some serious mixed signals. I may not always agree with my child’s teacher, but I think it’s important to maintain a united front.

As James Lehman says,

It’s your job to get along with your teacher, not your teacher’s job to get along with you.

Make no mistake: defending your child when he has behaved inappropriately will not help him develop appropriate skills and to become right as a person.

Truthfully, I think I have pretty great kids. I don’t say that with a boastful heart. They’re not perfect. We have normal issues. I’m incredibly thankful for my children. They didn’t become who they are on their own. My husband and I require obedience. We also pray and rely on guidance and wisdom from God.

Some parents say, “I don’t know what to do! I’m at my wits end. I can’t control them.” Are you not the one that pays the cable bill? The phone bill? Do you pay for a cell phone? Are you the one that buys special snacks and treats? Do they live in your house? Then yes, you are the parent. Control is not the goal. We’re supposed to be raising children to be successful adults. Hopefully we’re not trying to raise children that can’t make it on their own and need their mom and dad to intervene in every conflict. But then again, maybe we are.

Tonight I read a parenting article from John Piper. He says that parents should require obedience from their children. Even if you do not consider yourself a believer, it is a great article.


Parenting is not for wimps. There is no easy button. Some days you think you’ll have a whiny child forever. Then suddenly, you make a breakthrough and things get better.

Once again, I’ll remind us all that we are raising our children to be successful adults. I don’t want my child to go off to college unable to function and cope with people and relationships. I don’t want them calling me to bail them out. I don’t want them getting dropped from their classes because they are disrespectful and challenge a professor’s authority.

I can say with confidence that respect, cooperation, responsiblity, and conflict resolution are lifelong skills that your child will need. Teach them to obey. Please don’t set them up for failure.

image: sxc by Chrissy Pauley


Are You Enabling Adolescent Adults?

September 28, 2013 by  
Filed under financial matters

A few years ago I posted about this issue in an article, Have You Set Up Boundaries in Your Life?  Today I needed to elaborate a bit.  😉


It seems every family has them — these “adults” that never seem to grow up. They end up staying with relatives, eating their food, and not contributing a fair share of the bills. I am so puzzled by this. Why in the world would someone pay for an adult’s monthly expenses? I mean, if you go to work and work hard each day to earn a paycheck to pay your bills, why would you enable someone else not to do the same?

Eventually these families grow very irritated with these moochers and yet for some reason they lack the nerve to do anything about it. I honestly think they feel trapped. When they ask the person for money, the person usually says they can’t afford it.  It is strangely interesting though that many of these live-ins can afford a new car, going out for frequent lunch dates, new clothes, a cell phone with data package, and a whole list of other necessities that I don’t have.

couch potato

As you might imagine from this post, this is a very touchy subject for me. Many times I have seen my loved ones at the receiving end of these adolescent adults. Perhaps they are poor managers of money but usually, they are just not forced to grow up.  I mean why foot the bill when someone else will do it for you?  I honestly can’t imagine treating someone this way.  My parents raised me to show respect for others and sucking someone dry is not showing respect.

Sometimes these adolescent adults might even give a little money each month and they usually feel very good about it . . . as if they are somehow helping out or doing someone a favor. Let me tell you something — the $150 contribution is only a drop in the bucket for the electric, water, internet, phone, mortgage, and food.  Don’t let it ease your conscience.

Please understand that I am not talking about college students or adult children with health problems.  There are exceptions but these are few and far between.

These adult leeches are something I still see on a regular basis. It upsets me for many reasons — I think the major reason being that it is disrespectful to the people I love.

Personally, I think there are a few ways to handle this situation. 

1.  You could give the person a reasonable timeline to move out. That would enable them enough time to save up some deposits.  Honestly, I think they should already have some money set aside since they have been mooching off of others. They probably don’t though, since they are poor money managers.

2.  You could give them a reasonable amount to pay. Take into consideration the things they are using and if they are eating your food.  Come up with a fair amount.  If they are eating your food and stay there every day, you might decide they should pay $500 per month. If you live in an expensive area or have a mortgage payment, it might be more. Tell them that you can’t foot the bill for them and that they shouldn’t expect it.  Let them know that you expect that amount next month and every month after that or they can find another place to live.  This enables them to continue to live with you and have responsibilities at a fair and shared rate or they can decide to move out and pay a higher rate.

It’s time to quit enabling people and make them grow up!

A few other articles that might interest you:

Adolescence: A modern plague, but there is a cure by Matt Walsh

My child is gifted. He’s also 29, unemployed, and living in my basement.  by Matt Walsh

image by suitee


Have You Set Up Boundaries in Your Life?

June 24, 2010 by  
Filed under financial matters

While traveling today, I was able to listen to part of the Clark Howard Show and a portion of the Dave Ramsey Show.  This is a rare occurrence for me, so I was thrilled to hear some financial advice.  It’s a shame I was driving, because there was plenty of information that I could have jotted down to share with you.  I do remember one particular bit about parenting and boundaries.

One of the callers on the Dave Ramsey Show said that her son had been living in her basement for two years, rent free.  She said that he worked full-time and whenever she asked him to help out with the bills, he said he couldn’t afford it.  The lady was seeking advice and basically, Dave Ramsey told her this:

1.  Immediately buy the book Boundaries.  Read it.  (Boundaries can be purchased through Amazon and through CBD, which also has a workbook.)

2.  Talk to your spouse and agree upon a plan.

3.  Sit down with your child and apologize.  Tell them you’re sorry that you have failed them and allowed them to live this way.  Let them know that you’re going to do the right thing and help them be responsible.

4.  Give your child 90 days to move out.  Have them sign a contract with the date to move out.

5.  As a gift, offer to pay for Financial Peace University Classes for your child.  (These are great classes!!!!) The caller said she had offered these to her son but he was not interested.

6.  Guide your child along the way, helping them to manage their money.  Do not pay their bills for them, but let them know you’ll be there for them if they’re hungry.

7.  If at the end of the 90 days your child has been working hard and you feel they need additional time, you can offer them an additional 30 days.

I think the reason that this story stood out to me so much is that I know of a few families that have been in this situation.  Let me just say, if your child is 25 or even 30 years old, works full-time, has lived at home for years and has NOTHING to show for it, there is a big problem!  I am not normally this direct and opinionated on my websites, but you are ENABLING your child to fail! You’re not doing them or yourself any favors.  We should be training our children to become adults, to be self-supporting, and successful in life.  Some people are more motivated than others.  Unmotivated children sometimes need a push in the right direction.  Paying their bills for them and not requiring anything of them is not doing anyone any favors.

The world is full of people that moved out at a young age, got married young, put themselves through college, or whatever the circumstance may be.  Many times success comes from having no other option but to succeed or fail.

Based upon the Amazon reviews of this book, it is also a good book for those that feel like they can’t say “no”, are a doormat, or those with problems parenting.  I have not read this book, but it has received positive reviews.

Do you know of a family that has failed to set up boundaries with their children?

As always, please use common sense with this approach. I don’t think this type of plan would apply to an 18 year old that just finished high school, a full-time college student, a child with medical bills, or someone going through a hardship.  This is for children whom are not in school and are unmotivated to move out of their parents’ home.

Image: CBD