Do you wish your children to be obedient?

Yes, of course, all of us as parents do wish our children to be obedient.

Well, let us explore this concept of obedience a little deeper to understand fully and decide whether we really wish our children to be that or not!

Obedience to put it simply is to do or follow what you are told. On a more subtle level, it is to believe what everyone else believes.

When I believe what everyone else believes, where is the scope left to check the facts before I believe. And when I don’t do the facts checking for the self, have I used my mental faculty, my thinking abilities?

See, you can counter me ..means now we must go and experiment in the space to believe that the earth is round? No, I don’t mean that. I just mean that when we label growing children as disobedient, when they are just trying to look at the same thing from another perspective or they are trying to do something with their own unique approach, we as parents must know that they are not being disobedient, they are just being innovative and trying to identify themselves.

Imagine, you wanted your child to bake a cake the way you had been baking all along, but your son tries something new, and the cake he baked is differently delicious. It is not the same as yours. Your son decided not to obey you and came out with something totally new. This is being innovative, this is being intelligent. Your son trusted his instincts and developed confidence also. Suppose the cake would not have turned out totally edible. So what? He would have learnt the lesson as to what not to do the next time so that the cake turns out to be edible and that lesson would be permanent in his memory because it has come out of experience.

The problem with obedience (Absolute Obedience) is that it robs children of important experiences. Experiences of life are processed in the brain and are stored as intelligence to be used further.

Obedience needs no intelligence. Any idiot or fool can be obedient.

It needs guts and courage to be disobedient at times. (I am not saying the disobedience is to be promoted just for the sake of being disobedient). You see, when you are being obedient, you don’t own any responsibility, you don’t owe any explanation. But when you choose to be disobedient, you owe explanation. Since you owe explanation, you automatically own responsibility because usually nobody loves to explain.

While dealing with children, we must remember that it is not about our children only. Any intelligent person will ask; why? Why am I supposed to do this? What are the reasons you wish me to do it a particular way and what will be the consequencesAt times the acts of disobedience by our children are a way of great intelligence.

As I said earlier, the more subtle form of disobedience is to believe in the belief commonly accepted. The most commonly accepted belief that we must not question our seniors/bosses/parents  is the root cause of social evils to go on & on. (Only in army, it is acceptable to not question your seniors or bosses because the decisions that are to be taken in the middle of a battle field do not provide the opportunity to question and reason so a senior has to be absolutely obeyed).

Many of you readers reading this blog must be aware of Nazi Concentration Camps during World War II. The Heads of the Concentration Camps were all educated officers, they were professionals like engineers and doctors. What did they do? They committed the most ghastly crimes. The torture and inhumanity, these officers inflicted upon the prisoners were unparalleled. BUT  they owed no explanation, because they had obeyed the orders of their Commander.See, when this mindset of obedience settles in, the Authoritarianism flourishes; at homes, in organizations, in societies and in States.

The belief that we must not ask questions because everybody else does not ask is the gross form of obedience. Where does it start? It starts at home, at school, where children are supposed to follow and do everything they are told. The schools were supposed to nurture the intelligence but instead nipped it in the bud. Any child who asks intelligent questions (at times uncomfortable too, because they shake a teacher’s core belief system also) is labeled disobedient. Obedience converts you into robots and it is easy to manage and handle the class. Imagine the class where a teacher has to answer 25 possible intelligent questions for which he/she is not prepared. Either make extra efforts to think from that perspective or snub the enquiries in the name of disobedience. Similarly at home, it is easier and comfortable for parents to push obedience rather than involve children in intelligent discussions.

Looking at obedience from this perspective is a real problem. On the contrary, disobedience is the assertion of your intelligence, of the mindset that I own responsibility and owe explanation.

Since, everybody has been doing, so I’ll also do the same way and my children must do the same. Take a deep breath dear readers, all progress of the mankind has its root in disobedience. (Disobedience to me is  questioning the norms, their efficacy, their purpose. If they no longer serve the purpose, they must be redesigned.)

I believe  we all wish to nurture Intelligently Disobedient children.

Right ???

Would sure love to know your perspective. Share your take through comments.


  1. McLeod, S. A. (2017, Febuary 05). The milgram shock experiment. Simply Psychology.