By Reb Bradley


     Who is in charge of your home -- you or are your children? You can tell who is in charge of any organization by who leads. In your home – who makes the plans and decisions? If you believe you make the decisions, is your home a democracy? That is, do your children have a voice in most or all household decisions? Are you like a politician who feels the need to listen to your constituency lest they not vote for you in the next election? Do your children obey you quickly and quietly each time you speak, or do they think they have the right to discuss everything?

    Who is in charge of your home? Are you the leader who is free to make decisions, and can announce them to the children, who immediately accept your authority with humility and respect? Or do you often compromise your own values or wishes in anticipation of a negative reaction from the kids? Do they have the security of having a strong leader at the helm, or are they insecure and agitated because they share part of the burden of making family decisions?

Children need leadership. Not only do they lack the maturity to handle the stress of running the home, but the self-control they gain from accepting strong leadership is the key ingredient they need to grow in maturity. They need their parents to be the parents.

    To help you determine if yours is a child-run home, consider the following list. Parents in a child-run home will be heard saying things like:


·      "I can't make that for dinner at our house, the kids just won't eat it."

·      "I prepare meals in two batches – one for my husband and I, and one cooked a special way for the kids."

·      "Among restaurants, my wife and I enjoy Sizzlers’ Salad Bar, but we never go there ... the kids prefer the play-land at McDonalds."

·      "We can't have that family over to the house, their children are so much younger than ours. Ours would not enjoy them."

·      "We can't go there, the kids will be bored!"

·      "We can never go out. Our children just don't behave for baby-sitters."

·      "We could never take our children into the church service. They wouldn't last."

·      "We won't be able to attend. Our little Princess just doesn't do well in those situations."

·      "We'll have to find a new church. Junior just doesn't get along with one of the boys in his class."

·      "We'll have to change teachers or schools. Little Jane doesn't enjoy Mrs. So & So."


    Those parents who say, "Junior just refuses to ...," or "My child just won't put up with …" have given up their authority and put their children in charge of their home. They have granted their children veto power and in doing so must follow their children's leadership. Needless to say, for those parents who have shared their authority with their children, parenting will be very difficult and unfruitful.

    If you realize that you have accidentally shared your parental authority with your children, and desire to step back into leadership, you will want the help you can receive from Reb’s tape set “Biblical Insights Into Parenting” and from his book “Child Training Tips: What I wish I knew when my children were young.”

Adapted from Child Training Tips, Chapter 3