How shall I govern my children, so as to secure their virtue and happiness?

(John Abbott, "The Mother's Authority")

"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right." Ephesians 6:1

How shall I govern my children, so as to secure their virtue and happiness?

is absolutely essential to proper family government. Without this, all other efforts will be in vain. You may pray with, and for your children; you may strive to instruct them in Christian truth; you may be unwearied in your efforts to make them happy, and to gain their affection. But if they are in habits of disobedience, your instructions will be lost, and your toil in vain! And by obedience, I do not mean languid and dilatory yielding to repeated threats — but prompt and cheerful acquiescence to parental commands. Neither is it enough that a child should yield to your arguments and persuasions. It is essential that he should submit to your authority.

The first thing therefore to be aimed at, is to bring your child under total subjection. Teach him that he must obey you.

Never give a command that you do not intend to be obeyed! There is no more effectual way of teaching a child disobedience, than by giving commands that you have no intention of enforcing. A child is thus habituated to disregard its mother; and, in a short time, the habit becomes so strong and the child's contempt for the mother so confirmed, that entreaties and threats are alike unheeded. Accustom him to immediate and cheerful acquiescence to your will. This is obedience. And this is absolutely essential to good family government. Let it be an immutable principle in family government, that your word is law!

"The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother." Proverbs 29:15