Calling Robert’s Bluff

Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
Colossians 3:20

Upon arrival for his dentist appointment, a rebellious ten-year-old named Robert refused to get in the patient chair and threatened to take off his clothes if the dentist made him sit. The dentist’s reply? “Son, take ’em off.” Robert did—and then, completely naked, settled into the chair and cooperated for the rest of his visit. When cavities had been drilled and filled, Robert said, “Give me my clothes now.”

“I’m sorry,” the wily old dentist said. “Tell your mother that we’re going to keep your clothes tonight.” An embarrassed Robert was forced to walk in his birthday suit through a waiting room filled with snickering patients. The next day, Robert’s mother came to retrieve the clothes—and to thank the dentist. “Robert has been making unreasonable demands and blackmailing me about taking off his clothes in public for years,” she said. “You are the first person to call his bluff, Doctor, and the impact on Robert has been incredible!”

Children such as Robert need boundaries. If you don’t provide them, they’ll threaten and push until someone else does. If you are easily “blown over” in times of confrontation, your child will not learn to yield to authority. Not only will he later defy you, but he is likely to misunderstand the ultimate authority of God. The two sources of leadership, parental and divine, are directly linked in the minds of your kids.

Before you say good night…

  • Do you have a “Robert” in your home?
  • Are you enforcing clear behavioral boundaries for your kids?

Dear God, just as You gave us clear boundaries for living in the Scriptures, guide us to do the same for our children. And when they cross those boundaries, grant us courage and wisdom in our response. Amen.

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This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reservedUsed with permission.