The Biblical standard for a child’s obedience to his parents is simple: they should always obey. Colossians 3:20 says, “Children, be obedient to your parents in all things.” That means first time and every time. Children are not to obey in some things. They are not to obey in most things. They are to obey in all things (unless, of course, a parent’s command violates Scripture).
I remember a pastor making an interesting observation of parents dealing with their children. He said that when teaching discipline to their children, parents often teach arithmetic. By this, he meant that often, parents employ a method of counting to inform their children of upcoming discipline. A father tells his child to come. When the child is disobedient, the father begins counting, “1 …. 2 … 3 … 4 … 4½ … 4¾” and surprisingly, the child comes just before the father reaches five. This is because the child knows that number five is where discipline begins. In so doing, parents often teach their children not to obey on the first numbers, but only on the latter numbers.
But the Biblical standard is clear: first time and every time.
Such a standard ought to cause us parents to take great care in the things that we tell our children to do. We must be reasonable in our instructions to them, expecting them to obey everything we say. We must smother them in love, so that they know that we aren’t merely making our children our slaves.