The making of a tyrant

Posted on · Posted in Authority, Parenting

Requiring exact, immediate, pleasant obedience is a huge blessing.  This establishes the parent’s God-given authority and helps children to see the value of honoring God’s authority. However, it is possible allow children to become the center of the home and allow them to assume command. So it is important to ask, “who’s in charge?”

Here is an example, that hopefully, borders on the absurd, of what happens when a child is in charge:

Mom asks her almost six-year-old son, Justin, to open the front door to let some fresh air in through the screen door.
Justin replies, “Mommy, I’ll just turn on the fan instead.”
“No, I want you to open the door, now.”
“Mommy, please can we just turn on the fan? I like the noise the fan makes.”
“Well, alright, go turn on the fan.”
“Thanks, mommy! I’ll do it in just a moment; I want to get a drink first.”
“NO, Justin, turn the fan on now!”
“But mommy, I am so thirsty that my throat hurts. Please can I have a drink?”
“Well, okay, you can get some water.”
“But Mommy, I really want some juice; you said that juice is good for me. Would you get it for me?”
“Justin, I am really busy, would you just get it yourself!”
“Mommy, I really am thirsty, please, please would you get it for me?”


“Please, Mommy, I am so thirsty and my throat hurts, please. And it makes me sad when you yell at me. ”
“I am sorry Justin, of course you can have some juice; just go have a seat at the table and I’ll get it for you. I hope your throat feels better soon.”
“Thank you, Mommy. Could you get me the orange juice instead of the apple juice?”
“Okay, Justin, Mommy is so sorry she spoke sharply. I’ll get your juice as soon as I turn on the fan.”

You get the point. Justin has assumed command. He is in charge. He is in the habit of doing what he wants, when he wants. He is a relational tyrant in the making. This is how he has been trained.

Biblically, the scenario should have gone this way:
“Justin, I would like you to you to open the front door to let in some fresh air through the screen door.”
“Sure, Mom. No problem.”

Mom doesn’t ask Justin a question as in the first scenario. She gives him a clear directive that she fully expects to be obeyed quickly and pleasantly. Training children to respond this way brings a great benefit to the home. This type of instruction stretches the heart of both the child and the parent. It also clearly establishes for both the child and parent that God is in authority and that he must be obeyed.

Who is in charge in your home?

With Jesus

Jay Younts
John A. (Jay) Younts is the Shepherd Press blogger, and is a ruling elder serving at Redeemer Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moore, South Carolina. He has written Everyday Talk, Everyday Talk About Sex & Marriage, Finding the Right Track, the In Touch With Paul stewardship series, and What About War. He has studied and taught about biblical childrearing for 30 years. He and his late wife Ruth have five adult children.