Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Guidelines for Boot Camp


(Adapted from chapters 3 and 9 of Child Training Tips)


Many parents have older children whose wills were not brought into submission when they were young – they are full of themselves and voice their opinions about every command given them. Although they did not learn self-denial during their most formative years, it is not too late for them. Since their root need is to learn to say "No" to themselves, they must go back and learn to obey without discussion. It occurred to my wife and I one day that the military has success in training young men and women who were defiant and disrespectful to their parents. We figured that if an 18-year-old rebel can learn to answer "Yes, Sir," and make a perfect bunk within the first week of a 6-week military boot camp, a 10 year old can learn to be respectful in the same amount of time. Here's one possible plan:

· After finishing the book “Child Training Tips” or the seminar “Biblical Insights Into Child Training,” you should approach your children and apologize for failing to properly develop within them maturity and prepare them for adulthood.

· Explain how they must learn to humbly accept parental directions without always knowing the reasons why.

· Give them a time period for demonstrating quiet, humble obedience (perhaps 6 weeks), during which all parental commands will be given without reasons, and no appeals will be considered.

· Tell them they will be required to respond, "Yes, Mom," or "Yes, Dad," to every command, unless it is an emergency. Only then, may they make an appeal.

· An emergency is defined as a time when they have no ability to carry out the command, or they know the parent giving the command lacks information which will most certainly affect the command given, ie: The other parent has given a contradictory command; they have no transportation to go somewhere; there is insufficient food for preparation of a meal; the detergent box is empty, so clothes cannot be washed, etc.

· Explain to them that for every occurrence of sass (anything, but “Yes, Mom” or “Yes, Dad.”), one week will be added to the boot camp.

· So that the boot camp does not continue until they are 30 years old, I suggest that after their accumulated penalties increase the length to 10 weeks, start adding one day per offense.

· Let them know that if, at the end of boot camp, they consistently obey quickly and respectfully, then you will begin to give wisdom behind your commands.

· You must make clear to them, however, that when you begin sharing wisdom behind commands, it will not be the same as your former habits, when you allowed debates. The reasons you give will be brief and may not be discussed at the moment of instruction.

· To kick off boot camp have them practice saying to you, “Yes, Mom” and “Yes, Dad.” Repeat the exercise until they can do it without a sour attitude.

Keep in mind that as they grow and demonstrate they can submit unquestioningly to authority, you can entrust them with more reasons for obedience.


Although parents must be careful to not invite discussion about every parental command, children who are humble and respectful in their attitude should have the opportunity to appeal parental decisions at times. The key to making an acceptable appeal is the respectful attitude in which it is made. Children must never be allowed to dishonor parents by responding with a raised voice, sass, or angry objection. Parents must be careful not to reward such disrespect by continuing the discussion. If children do not learn early in life to be self-controlled in their communication, they will become belligerent as teenagers and will lack self-restraint in all other relationships. Children should have the opportunity for appeals, but only if they demonstrate honor for their parents. More discussion on respectful appeals in chapter 9 of Child Training Tips

Giving Sass or back-talk

1. Sass is any response to an adult statement that is given without permission or invitation. ie:

· Denying responsibility

· Questioning or challenging

· Offering unsolicited explanations during correction.

· Grumbling or blurting out objections about parental decisions.

2. Contradicting a parent's statement is the same as calling them a liar. If a child believes his parent is mistaken about something, then he should be allowed to offer his opinion, but only after he has secured his parents' permission to do so.

3. If you allow them to continue to sass throughout childhood, they will make themselves obnoxious to their future employers and will limit their success in social relationships as well. Sass is a form of defiance and reveals a lack of submission to authority.

4. Sass is any response except, "Yes, Dad," "Yes, Mom," "May I appeal?" or some other respectful request for permission for further discussion.


Respectful responses are ones that indicate humble subjection to authority, such as:

· "Yes, Dad"

· "Sure, Mom"

Children should be able to make appeals for discussion, but only if they show respectful subjection to authority, and first secure permission before offering their questions or thoughts. Possible appeals:

· "May I appeal?"

· "May I have your permission to discuss this?"

· "Excuse me, Dad, may I offer you new information before you decide?"

· "May I inquire as to your reasoning?"

Whatever the appeal process we give our children they should never be permitted to respond with "sass" or "back-talk." If they respond argumentatively, or with anything other than a pre-established respectful response, then we must guard ourselves from responding to them with anything except correction. To answer them or continue in dialogue is to reward them and encourage future sass. Those children who abuse the appeal privilege by appealing every instruction, should have it revoked for a time.

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Jeremiah 6:16
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.

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