"Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother, which is the first Commandment with a promise, so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth." Ephesians 6:1-3
For millennia most children obeyed their parents and most adults honored their parents. But we have seen a dramatic shift in the past century. Children often disobey their parents and feel mistreated at even the prospect of being submissive. There is much strife in today’s family, especially in the western civilized countries. Because there is so little time spent together children are simply not as close to their parents as children in past generations.
America’s households today are built on two incomes, so to make ends meet both parents generally hold jobs outside the home. Young children spend their weekdays in a day-care center and when old enough, in school. In this modern society, parents and children lead completely separate lives, with separate friends and activities much of the time.
Parents sometimes come to experience guilt which leads to allowing their children to go places and do things which they really know they shouldn’t. They quickly settle for "Thanks Mom and Dad, you’re the greatest!" Why are they the "greatest?" Simply because they let them do something they wanted.
But according to the Bible, this is not what makes a good parent - "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord." (Eph.6:4) The Bible also says that parents who do not discipline their children do not love them. God Himself says that He disciplines every child whom He loves.
All children belong to God. Parents are only temporary stewards who must be found faithful. Because they live such separate lives children and their parents are disconnected and most children never come to truly respect their parents. This causes them to stumble regarding the fifth Commandment. If we fail to gain the respect of our children, we can never teach them to respect God and His ways.
Ultimately, all children belong to God. The Bible says that a child is a "gift" from God. It is God putting one of His precious souls into our care and He expects us to raise them in His ways and protect them from the corruption of the world.