phase two: the school years
These are years of great significance as a young child matures physically, emotionally, intellectually, socially, and spiritually. In many respects, the child grows into the kind of person that he or she will become.
What does it mean for children of this age to obey their parents in the Lord? Their obedience must flow from reverence for who the Lord is and what He has done for them. This obedience is not optional (Ex. 20:12; Lev. 19:3; Deut. 5:16). A (persistently) stubborn and rebellious son is in jeopardy of the severest punishment (see Deut. 21:18–21). The fate of a child who scorns a parent is graphically described: an eye plucked out and eaten by a bird of prey (Prov. 30:17).
Children’s obedience to their parents must be prompt, ungrudging, sincere, and with a thankful heart. To delay is to disobey. Grudging obedience betrays a heart of disobedience. Sincere obedience demonstrates a submissive heart. Thankfulness recognizes that parental correction shows their sincere love (see Heb. 12:6, 11).
phase three: adult children
What responsibility do these grown children now have toward their parents? These young adults have left their parents’ home and authority to establish their own homes. They will likely start their own families, but they have not ceased to be a part of the birth family that God providentially placed them in.