Ask Your Preacher

Ask Your Preacher

“Parents and Landlords”


As stated in the fifth commandment, you are to honor your father and mother. Yes, as a child growing up in the home, children are to be obedient and respectful and do as their parents say - whether that be cleaning up the room or completing chores. Yet, I have heard it said that once that child turns a certain age or moves back in after college, the parents should have less control and say over that child. For example, the child should be allowed to come and go as they please. So how much do they need to listen to their parents? Yes, as a respectful person helping out around the house as they would do in their own home as well as picking up after themselves in communal areas as agreed upon. However, do they need to make their bed every day or clean their room to their parents’ liking? And do parents have a right to demand these things or threaten to take away their child’s personal things (things that the child has bought on their own) as punishment?

Sincerely, Too Old For Spanking

Dear Too Old For Spanking,

You are old enough to no longer heed your parent’s wishes when you are old enough to move out. The transition from parental oversight to honoring (but not necessarily heeding) your parents’ wishes is most visibly seen at the point of marriage. When someone gets married, they leave their parents and cleave to their spouse (Mk 10:7). Even if unmarried, when a child is old enough to “leave the nest”, it has the same effect as ‘leaving and cleaving.’ It sounds like your parents’ rules may be stricter than is appropriate for your age, but the fact remains that you are under their roof. Time has not made you equals, and they may have a good reason for those house rules. Take the time to understand their reasoning (Pr 23:22).

No rent, free food, free utilities, etc. gives them authority to set some ground rules regardless of age. If you are out of college and in your twenties, you have the ability to change that relationship… by moving out. Until then, you have a responsibility to abide by their house rules. Otherwise, you can always talk to them and hope to alter the house rules in a way that better suits both of your needs.