Child Guidance


Chapter 12—Obedience Must Become a Habit

Use Gentle but Persistent Effort—Children are to be taught that their capabilities were given them for the honor and glory of God. To this end they must learn the lesson of obedience.... By gentle, persistent effort the habit should be established. Thus to a great degree may be prevented those later conflicts between will and authority that do so much to arouse in the minds of the youth alienation and bitterness toward parents and teachers, and too often resistance of all authority, human and divine.1 CG 85.1

Allow No Arguments or Evasions—The first care of the parents should be to establish good government in the family. The word of the parents should be law, precluding all arguments or evasions. Children should be taught from infancy to implicitly obey their parents.2 CG 85.2

Strict discipline may at times cause dissatisfaction, and children will want their own way; yet where they have learned the lesson of obedience to their parents, they are better prepared to submit to the requirements of God. Thus the training received in childhood influences the religious experience and molds the character of the man.3 CG 85.3

Permit No Exceptions—As teachers in their own family, parents are to see that the rules are not disobeyed.... By allowing their children to go on in disobedience, they fail to exercise proper discipline. Children must be brought to the point of submission and obedience. Disobedience must not be allowed. Sin lies at the door of the parents who allow their children to disobey.... Children are to understand that they are to obey.4 CG 85.4

Require Prompt, Perfect Obedience—When parents fail to require prompt and perfect obedience in their children, they fail to lay the right foundation of character in their little ones. They prepare their children to dishonor them when they are old, and bring sorrow to their hearts when they are nearing the grave.5 CG 86.1

Requirements Should Be Reasonable—The requirements of the parents should always be reasonable; kindness should be expressed, not by foolish indulgence, but by wise direction. Parents are to teach their children pleasantly, without scolding or faultfinding, seeking to bind the hearts of the little ones to them by silken cords of love. Let all, fathers and mothers, teachers, elder brothers and sisters, become an educating force to strengthen every spiritual interest, and to bring into the home and the school life a wholesome atmosphere, which will help the younger children to grow up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.6 CG 86.2

In our own training of children, and in the training of children of others, we have proved that they never love parents and guardians less for restraining them from doing evil.7 CG 86.3

Reasons for Obedience Should Be Given—Children are to learn to obey in the family government. They are to form a symmetrical character that God can approve, maintaining law in the home life. Christian parents are to educate their children to obey the law of God.... The reasons for this obedience and respect for the law of God may be impressed upon the children as soon as they can understand its nature, so that they will know what they should do, and what they should abstain from doing.8 CG 86.4

The Parent's Word Should Be Law—Your children, that are under your control, should be made to mind you. Your word should be their law.9 CG 87.1

Many Christian parents fail to command their children after them, and then wonder that their children are perverse, disobedient, unthankful, and unholy. Such parents are under the rebuke of God. They have neglected to bring their children up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They have failed to teach them the first lesson of Christianity: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” “Foolishness,” says the wise man, “is bound in the heart of a child.” The love of folly, the desire to do evil, the hatred of holy things, are some of the difficulties that parents must meet in the home mission field.... CG 87.2

In the strength of God, parents must arise and command their households after them. They must learn to repress wrong with a firm hand, yet without impatience or passion. They should not leave the children to guess at what is right, but should point out the way in unmistakable terms and teach them to walk therein.10 CG 87.3

Influence of One Disobedient Child—One disobedient child will do great harm to those with whom he associates, for he will fashion other children after his own pattern.11 CG 87.4

Winking at Sin—Teach your children to honor you, because the law of God lays this duty upon children. If you allow your children to lightly esteem your wishes and pay no regard to the laws of the household, you are winking at sin; you are permitting the devil to work as he will; and the same insubordination, want of reverence, and love of self will be carried with them even into the religious life and into the church. And the beginning of all this evil is charged in the books of heaven to the neglect of the parents.12 CG 87.5

Habit of Obedience Established by Repetition.—Lessons on obedience, on respect for authority, need to be often repeated. This kind of work done in the family will be a power for good, and not only will the children be restrained from evil and constrained to love truth and righteousness, but parents will be equally benefited. This kind of work which the Lord requires cannot be done without much serious contemplation on their part, and much study of the Word of God, in order that they may instruct according to His directions.13 CG 88.1