Parents: Tell, Don’t Ask! Seek Obedience, not Cooperation!

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John Rosemond recently wrote:

“I want my children to cooperate,” a parent tells me. She tells me this in the midst of complaining that her kids rarely do what she asks them to do. That’s another problematic word: ask. Those two problematic words go hand-in-hand, in fact. Parents who want cooperation tend to ask as opposed to tell. Asking is nice. Telling isn’t. And today’s parents are trying their best to be nice. Which, by the way, is why they often suffer total cerebral meltdowns during which they get red in the face and begin screaming like lunatics. Their children have no appreciation for their niceness; they simply take full advantage of it.

I tell the mom that the reason her kids don’t obey her is she wants cooperation. That necessitates a peer-to-peer relationship. Neighbors cooperate. Friends cooperate. Spouses cooperate. Coworkers cooperate. But the CEO of the company, when he tells two cooperating coworkers what he wants, he’s not looking for cooperation. He wants them to obey. Two Army privates assigned to the same task will cooperate with each other. But the officer who assigned them to the task is not seeking their cooperation. He expects them to obey.

When the relationship is not between equals, the proper word is obedience. The fact that so many of today’s parents talk in terms of wanting their kids to “cooperate” reflects two things:

First, these parents do not feel comfortable with authority. They are trying to avoid being seen by their children as authority figures. So, when they communicate expectations and instructions they use persuasive speech as opposed to authoritative speech. The symptom of this is the ubiquity of “OK?” at the end of a parent’s persuasive sentence, as in “Please hang your jacket up in the closet, OK?”

Second, they want to be liked by their kids. They act, therefore, as if the parent-child relationship is peer-to-peer. When they speak to their children, they bend down, grab their knees (i.e., getting down to their kids’ level, which is what some magazine article told them to do), and ask their kids for cooperation, … ending with “OK?” They look and even sound as if they are asking the king for a favor. In effect, the superior in the relationship is the child.

Why do parents act in this absurd, counter productive fashion? Because they think capital letters mean something. People with capital letters after their names — mental health professionals, mostly — injected toxic theory into parenting in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and it lives on.

Ephesians 6:1-3: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  HONOR YOUR FATHER AND MOTHER (which is the first commandment with a promise), SO THAT IT MAY BE WELL WITH YOU, AND THAT YOU MAY LIVE LONG ON THE EARTH.” 

You can read John Rosemond’s entire article here:

http://www.kentucky.com/2013/11/11/2925599/parents-teach-your-child-to-obey.html

 

 

 

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About savedbygrace1976

Mark Chanski (author of Manly Dominion and Womanly Dominion) has labored as a full-time Pastor since 1986 in churches in Ohio and Michigan. He has been Pastor of Harbor Church in Holland, Michigan, since 1994. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Cornerstone University, and a Master of Divinity degree from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He teaches Hermeneutics for the Reformed Baptist Seminary in Taylors, SC. Mark is married to his wife Dianne, and has fathered their four sons and one daughter, whose ages stretch from 30 to 20 (born 1983 to 1994).
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