If I could do my parenting all over again, I would spend less time on teaching my kids to obey me and spend more time teaching them to make wise choices. Please don’t misunderstand me. It is good for children to obey their parents, but it is better for children to hear directly from God and obey Him because they want to.

If we make all the decisions for our children, they won’t know how to make decisions for themselves. You might ask, “What type of things should I let my child make decisions on?”

Start with things that really don’t matter; in other words, things that are not a sin. (Just because the Bible says, “Children obey your parents in the Lord” doesn’t mean that every word that comes out of your mouth is scripture.)

As your children get older, you need to allow them to say no to you at times. For example: you might want to go to Applebee’s for dinner, but your child doesn’t like Applebee’s. It’s okay to let him or her make some of the decisions as long as it is not rebellion or manipulation.

Another important aspect of teaching our children to make right choices is allowing them to experience the consequences – good or bad – of their choices.

Too many times well meaning parents will “rescue” their children from experiencing the negative consequences of wrong choices. When we do this, and we all do, we actually teach our children that it is okay to make a wrong choice because someone will always be there to save them and in the end, we set them up for failure.

Eli did this with Hophni and Phinehas. He should have fired them because they dishonored the Lord and caused God’s people to transgress, but instead he continued to keep them employed as priests at the temple. The end result was that Eli and his sons died and most likely are in hell. The Bible says, “their sins will never be forgiven.”(Samuel 3:14)

It’s really hard to do this as a parent, because we don’t want our kids to experience heartache, but if we rescue them we are not allowing the law of sowing and reaping to operate in their lives.

Copyright ©  Mark Harper Ministries
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