Daily Devotion

April 21, 2016

Raising compliant and defiant children (1)

“Your children shall be taught by the Lord.”

Isa 54:13 NKJV

There are two kinds of children. The first are compliant ones—those who sleep through the night from the second week of life. They coo at their grandparents, and smile while their diapers are being changed. They never spit up on the way to the grocery store or the doctor’s office. During later childhood they love to keep their rooms clean, and they do their homework brilliantly without being asked. Then there are defiant ones: “strong-willed kids.” They get their mother’s attention long before birth because they scratch their initials on the walls [of the womb] and kick like crazy. They enter the world yelling about the temperature in the delivery room, and complaining about the incompetence of the nursing staff. From about eighteen months forward, they want to run things and tell everybody what to do. Their favorite word is no! Compliant children are a breeze to raise, but defiant ones can turn out fine too. The secret is to shape their strong will during the early years, without breaking their spirit. This is done by setting boundaries very clearly, then enforcing them with loving firmness. Even the toughest kids find security in a structured environment where other people’s rights, as well as their own, are protected. When this is done right, even the most independent child can learn to be responsible and self-disciplined. And God will work with you. He promises: “All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.”