We Teach Ourselves Chldren Don’t Respect Authority

kids-laughing
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There’s no doubt because of what our culture teaches there is a greater need than ever for Godly role models for young children[1].

Yet there are less and less people choosing to minister in children lives.

There are many reasons for this, but one of the greatest is that children don’t seem to respect authority.

The truth is children do give respect, but not in the beginning:

  1. When coming into a ministry they rarely obey
  2. Often they even challenge you (act in an uncontrolled way) instead
  3. Any attempt to bring the kids under control only results in chaos

It’s easy to walk away from an experience like that and believe it’s impossible for children to show respect.

Actually they do…but those first experiences are their way of testing character.

Remember that children grow up in a culture were justice is defined as getting whatever you want (and this is backed up by many authority figures).

So challenging us when we come in the door is their way of asking, “okay how do you define justice?” Or it’s a way that children force their view of justice upon us [2].

Also growing up in a culture that has little consequences for actions makes them expect a complete pushover.

In a deeper sense children are seeking for someone who they can trust…someone who is genuine and different from others in our broken culture. The problem is the only way they have of doing this is challenging us.

One day a substitute teacher came to the school where I volunteered in Australia. After about a half-hour of chaos, she looked at me and asked in a british accent, “is it always like this?”

The answer is no, but it didn’t take the children long to learn this woman didn’t have strong character, and they proceeded to eat her alive [3].

One of the important questions then is “how can we earn the respect of children?” The answer is by showing character.

  1. Trying to understand where the children are coming from (and why they challenge you)
  2. Not giving up or quitting when those challenges come
  3. Finding a way to prove you genuinely care about them
  4. Not allowing the children to completely control things [4]
  5. Developing relationships with the kids over time

Children are starving for someone who will pour love and attention into their lives. But they won’t accept just anyone.

You must prove yourself to them first.

Sadly many individuals when facing these challenges run away and never return. But by doing so back up a child’s belief that most adults have very little maturity or backbone.

Children don’t need more people who will run away.

They need people who will stay (even when it’s hard)

People who will show love (even when kids are driving them crazy)

People who will tell them no (even when this results in the words greatest temper tantrum)

They need people who prove they truly care.


  1. this ideally will begin with the parents of course, but there is often a need for individuals from outside the family who can minister to children’s lives  ↩
  2. justice means getting whatever I want  ↩
  3. not literally of course  ↩
  4. Often once you prove your willing to follow through with punishments they will be easier to control  ↩

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