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June 26, 2014

Obedience is Overrated

Image: Flickr/Sean MacEntee

Image: Flickr/Sean MacEntee

“Parents are the bones on which children sharpen their teeth.” (Peter Ustinov)

There is a natural tendency for kids to “cut their teeth” with us by trying out emotions and pushing against us on seemingly small matters. This shouldn’t surprise us; in fact, we should be hoping that they do. We want to raise strong, confident adults, right? How do we expect our 16-year-old daughters to say “no” to a boy’s unwanted advances, when she’s never been allowed to say “no” to anything at home? How can we expect our sons to refuse their friends’ offer to smoke pot when we have never allowed him to make choices on his own?

Watch the movie Ella Enchanted for a delightful (and insightful) look at how the “gift” of obedience can actually turn out to be a curse. Then, teach your child that he always has a choice. There are surely consequences, both good and bad, for each choice he makes, but giving him the freedom to choose will go a long way in sharpening his teeth so he can take a bite out of the world.

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