The second ingredient in the Recipe for Rebellion is that of rules without responses–developing rules without allowing our children to question those rules—without allowing them to respond to our instruction. This is a common ingredient in rules-oriented families. We often do not listen to our children if they disagree with something or question something. Even those who are not opposed to telling children the why’s of rules (Ingredient #1) are sometimes not comfortable with letting children ask us about our rules.
Recipe for Rebellion
Rules Without Reasons
Rules Without Response
Rules Without Repetition
Rules Without Relationship
So I guess this would be more appropriately coined as a time to listen…not talk. And this is why….
The problems with Ingredient # 1: Rules Without Reasons are also found in Ingredient #2: Rules Without Response (plus one other “biggie”):
1. “No-Response-Allowed” Is Aggravating!
There are many problems with this ingredient, of course, not the least of which involves the verse in the Bible that tells fathers not to aggravate their children: “Fathers, don’t aggravate your children, if you do they will become discouraged and quit trying” Colossians 3:21 (NLT). It is aggravating not to be listened to! Think about how annoying it is for you with work or relatives when you are not allowed to voice your opinion. Your children feel the same way–only perhaps even more helpless because they are, well, children.
2. “No-Response-Allowed” Handicaps Our Children in Their Future Decision Making
Additionally, not allowing our children to respond to our rules and choices for them causes them to be unable to make decisions for themselves later in life. They need to know the process a Christian goes through to determine how to live and act. If we consistently tell them that this is the way it is, and they just need to buck up and do it, they will not learn how to make wise decisions for themselves and their own families some day.
3. “No-Response-Allowed” Is Not How God Treats Us!
If we truly want to follow a Christian protocol in parenting, we will want to try to parent our children like God parents us. God listens to us! Think of how painfully honest David was in the Psalms—“God, why are you doing this to me! Why don’t you listen to me? Why do you let my enemies overtake me? Oh, I want to follow your way, but it is so hard. Okay, God, I will trust in you, not in chariots and horses.” God allows us to respond to what he is doing in our lives! Or how about Abraham: Will you destroy the city if there are some godly people still there? He not only responded to God’s edict, but he gave God suggestions on how to change it. And God listened!
4. “No-Response-Allowed” Causes Our Children to Argue With Us
Besides the three above difficulties with Ingredient #1 and Ingredient #2, “No-Response-Allowed” has the added problem of arguments and fighting that result when children try to discuss rules with us and we do not listen. This is where a communication technique that we have used with our children comes in handy: the godly appeal.
Most parents, when presented with the concept of letting their children respond to them, are not altogether wrong in their opposition. Their children might already be responding–and Mom and Dad do not like it!
Parents usually do not like it because they have not allowed (or taught) proper responses from their children early on, so their sons and daughters have resorted to arguing, bickering, and begging. That is not the type of response we are recommending in this appeal advice.
So this time to talk is when you need to let your kids respond—the next one will give you an outline for how to let your kids respond/appeal to you in a non-argumentative way. So stay tuned!