Some children are seemingly compliant. Such children politely ask questions, accept whatever answer their parent or teacher gives, play well with others, manage their emotions, follow rules, and can be reasoned with.
Other children, however, are more like the Hulk. When unhappy, they become irrational, turn green, get strong, and start yelling and breaking things.
Were you a child like that?
Are you raising a child like that?
My wife Grace and I are the parents of five children: three boys and two girls. As you might have guessed, we have some children who lean more compliant and other children who lean more stubborn.
The truth is that we really want our children to learn to be both when appropriate. When given wise instruction from a good authority figure (parent, teacher, coach, God), we want the child to be compliant. But, when the child is tempted, dared, or told to do something that is foolish or dangerous, we want the child to stubbornly do the right thing even if the peer pressure is trying to drag them into trouble.
There is a child in the Bible like this named Daniel. He was taken captive to a godless nation away from his family. There, he was told to do things that were ungodly and unwise. But, Daniel was stubborn in a good way. Daniel stuck to his God-given convictions no matter what the cost. In this way, Daniel was compliant to God and stubborn to not give in to those people who told him to sin against God. Ideally, we would raise children like Daniel who know when to be compliant and when to be stubborn.
While teaching a series called Parenting on Point at our church, Grace and I took questions from church members and did our best to provide impromptu answers. One of the questions we received was, “How can a Christian parent deal with a stubborn child?”. This is a great question that many parents and caregivers have. We did our best to provide some practical and biblical advice that we hope is helpful.
Lastly, if you have a question I might be able to answer in a future Ask Pastor Mark video clip, send it in to firstname.lastname@example.org. Most likely, you are not the only person with your question, and it might be used of God to help others wondering the same thing.