False Assumption 2: Challenging My Authority

by | False Assumptions Series

Challenges to my authority are avoidable and if they do occur, it is a sure sign that I am “losing the battle” and am falling short of being a good parent.

Not only are challenges to our authority unavoidable, they are inevitable and must be seen as learning and shaping opportunities.

Don’t we all want our 18 year olds (they DO still leave home don’t they?!) to leave home having the confidence to think for themselves, and to make their own decisions?  Don’t we want them to stand up and be respected for their thoughts, beliefs and values, rather than be swayed by peer pressure and all the other pressures to conform that will surely come their way?

Of course this is what we want.  We just don’t want them to practice on us!

But practice on us they must and this is where their challenging what early in their development they simply absorbed as “the truth” from us, comes in. Granted, there is a good, acceptable and healthy way to challenge us, and that too must be shaped and influenced by our efforts.  And we will do this more affectively and with greater success, when we see that it is natural and necessary for them to challenge what they have always accepted from us as gospel.

In Parenting With An Attitude….21 Questions Successful Parents Ask Themselves, I address the idea of a sponge-like brain that our kids originally come equipped with at birth, so I won’t belabor the explanation here.  Suffice it to say that, initially a small child’s response to what they hear, see and are told is to simply absorb and to conclude, “If you say so, it must be true” (man, those were good days.  All we had to do was feed ‘em and wipe ‘em!).  But very soon as their brain begins the slow but sure developmental process, this first response of absorbing as truth what they are exposed to, morphs into something like, “Wait a minute! What do I think”.

And this is when the birth of challenging our authority enters our relationship with them.  We don’t have to like it, but we really do need to accept it, and to understand that it is not only necessary and natural, but that this new found ingredient of challenging us can be used to shape and mold them into a healthy adult who is able throughout their life to think wisely for themselves.


Suggestion: Recognize that some form and degree of rebellion (challenge) is necessary, and that it is the “bridge” between, “If you say so, it must be true”, and, “Wait a minute, what do I think?”



  1. 10 Common Parenting False Assumptions - Ed Wimberly - […] Challenges to my authority are avoidable and if they do occur, it is sure sign that I am “losing…
  2. False Assumption 6: They Won’t be Affected - Ed Wimberly - […] my book Parenting With An Attitude, as well as False Assumption 2, I go into detail describing what I…

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