Today all over the world, moral decadence is not news. Family values have been jettisoned. God’s original plan for the family is being challenged. It’s quite unfortunate that Christian homes and families are not exempted.

Parental discipline is now considered old fashion. In several homes, the children are really the ones in control and not the parents. Any home that a child has a way of manipulating the parents and getting his own way is a sign of parental weakness. As parents, we shall give an account unto God regarding how we bring up our children (Rom. 14:12). Many children end up badly because the parents are weak.

Let us consider two of these weaknesses:


To indulge is to overlook the fault of a child, to gratify the child, that is, to continually give or allow the child the pleasure of whatever he desires. Every child wants to be indulged in something or the other but it is our responsibility as parents to curb their excesses.

Biblical Examples:

In 1 Kings 1:5 – 9, Adonijah paraded himself king before his father’s death and David did nothing.   “David his father had never in his life displeased him by asking why have you done so . . . .” v6 Amp. The NIV version reads “His father had never interfered ….” Meaning, Adonijah had always been indulged from childhood. This unchecked behaviour later brought some friction between him and Solomon who later became king; and it caused Adonijah an early death.

We know the outcome of David’s parental weakness. Amnon, his first born raped his half-sister, Tamar and was not disciplined by his father. Even though the king was angry, not a word of correction came from him. Absalom his second son killed Amnon for raping his sister. Later Absalom planned a coup to overthrow his father, causing his father to flee for his life. Finally Absalom got killed in the process. King David the man after God’s own heart indulged his children, which caused his family terrible heartaches.

The prophet Eli  is another example of a weak parent. He also indulged his sons and it caused him his life and a revocation of God’s covenant with him and his descendants. Eli only said to his children, “My sons, what you are doing is not right,” but that was the end of the matter. No punitive measures were used to correct their bad actions. He refused to correct and discipline them early in life. By the time he started to correct them the boys had become men – it was too late. In one day, Eli, his two sons and daughter-in-law all died as a result of his parental weakness (1 Sam. 2). “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction” Pro. 19:18 NKJV.

If you are going to do anything permanent for the average man, you must begin before he is a man. The chances of success lie with working with the boy and not the man. – Theodore Roosevelt.

The prodigal son’s father in Luke 15:11 -20 is another example. The younger son’s action in making a demand on the father to give him his own share of the inheritance was unethical, against the Jewish law and punishable, a fact well known to the father. The son was basically saying, “Father I wish you were dead.” That son was selfish, self-centred and over-ambitious and his father allowed him to have his way. The father found it difficult to say ‘No’ to his son’s wrong request. It later caused him loneliness, separation, spiritual and physical destitution, self-abasement, and starvation; and the father  years of heartache longing for his lost son.

Though the son came back to his senses and was forgiven and accepted back into the family; not all have such an opportunity, some get lost forever. We can do without having our children go astray. If we truly love our children and desire their well being, we will instill discipline in them from childhood so that they will not end up as children of perdition.

Like most parents who indulge and over-pamper their children normally do, Eli and the prodigal son’s father found it difficult to say ‘No’ to their children’s wrong tendencies and actions. The love they had for their children weakened them from disciplining them. True love, however, must be strong and a love that is strong is equally a tough love. That is the kind of love that makes us speak the painful truth into the lives of those whom we truly love. True love sometimes has to do the painful thing in order to bring back the erring one. Parents, it may not be enjoyable to punish your children when they do wrong but we nevertheless must do so when necessary because it’s our God-given responsibility and also because we do not want our children ending up in destruction.

Some areas in which parents indulge their children include: sleep, food, disrespect to people, tale bearing, gossips, immorality, chores,  and television viewing, indecent dressing, eaves dropping, lying, stealing, keeping late nights, partying and so on. “… a child left undisciplined brings his mother [parents] shame Pro. 29:15 AMP, (emphasis mine).

Later in life such a child becomes a burden either to the parents, spouse, the church and the larger society.

Indulgence is insidious (a cancer, an ulcer) that must be vehemently disallowed and fought against by parents. As a parent you need to ask yourself this question: is there an indulgence I need to correct or check in my child’s life?

Small leaks if unchecked will sink a mighty ship – anonymous.


Partiality is to show too much favour or preferential treatment to one child above the other. The Bible calls it showing respects of persons.

Isaac because of food loved Esau more than Jacob. “And Isaac loved (and was partial to) Esau, because he ate of Esau’s game, but Rebecca loved Jacob” (Gen . 25:28 AMP).  A typical example of each parent loving a particular child for personal reasons.  Results: distrust, dislike, scheming, hatred and the children were able to use a parent against the other.

Jacob did same when he grew up, “And he put the maids and their children in front, Leah and her children after them and Rachel and Joseph last of all! (Gen. 33:2 AMPL). “Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children because he was the son of his old age, and he made him a (distinctive) long tunic with sleeves” (Gen. 37:3 Amp.).

The love Jacob had for Rachel more than Leah, his first wife and other wives made him to prefer Joseph more than his other children. Of course he must have indulged Joseph. Little wonder then Joseph’s brothers hated him because of the preferential treatment accorded to him by their father. Isaac was partial; Jacob his son also was when he had his own family. This is how some bad traits flow through families and become inherited or ancestral. We must guide against such.

Parents, partiality is lack of wisdom on your part.  It cause confusion, family feud, dissention, hatred and division in the home (1 Tim. 5:21; Pro. 24:23). Partiality breaks God’s laws (Deut. 16:19; 1:17). It is unjust  to the other party (Rom. 13:1 – 8). It makes our children later in life to hate, break and have no respect for law and order (Pro. 24:23 – 24). It encourages and condones sin (Micah 3:1 – 11). It is sinful and contrary to the gospel (James 2:1 –26).

As these children grow up they want to continue to enjoy being favoured and indulged at the expense of others; hence they crave for power, wealth, position and popularity. At the end of the day, they become manipulators, fraudsters, gigolos, lazy, bossy, robbers, wife beaters and the like.

The negative effects of these two ( indulgence and partiality) are seldom noticed, that being the reason why parents do not take them serious. But I tell you they are dangerous and slippery as the serpent that tempted Eve and as the devil who cunningly twisted the Words of God when he tempted Jesus.

A child is curious, tolerate him;. helpless, help him; impatient, control him,; learning, teach him; dreaming, encourage and support him. When a child makes mistake, correct him. When a child deliberately rebels, discipline him; when a child succeeds and makes you proud, celebrate him. Anonymous.

Parents, may the eyes of your heart be flooded with light so that you can know and understand that these children who are the Lord’s heritage are esteemed highly by Him and He expects you to rule, keep and bring them under control with true dignity (1 Tim. 3:4, 12) because you will give an account to Him on how you have trained and raised them (Rom. 14:12).

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