I find this article from Dr. Piper helpful in thinking through this issue.
1) For children, external, unspiritual conformity to God’s commanded patterns of behavior is better than external, unspiritual non-conformity to those patterns of behavior.
2) Requiring obedience from children in conformity with God’s will confronts them with the meaning of sin in relation to God, the nature of their own depravity, and their need for inner transformation by the power of grace through the gospel of Christ.
3) The marks of devotion, civility, and manners (“please,” “thank you,” and good eye contact) are habits that, God willing, are filled later with grace and become more helpful ways of blessing others and expressing a humble heart.
Caution. Here we are only answering one question: Why should parents require submissive behaviors of children when they may be unregenerate rebels at heart? Of course that is not all Christian parents should do.
- Let there be much spontaneous celebration verbally of every hopeful sign of life and goodness in our children.
- Let us forgive them often and be longsuffering.
- Let us serve them and not use them.
- Let us lavish them with joyful participation in their interests.
- Let us model for them the joy of knowing and submitting to the Lord Jesus.
- Let us apologize often when we fall short of our own Father’s requirements.
- Let us pray for them without ceasing.
- Let us saturate them with the word of God from the moment they are in the womb (the uterus is not sound proof).
- Let us involve them in happy ministry experiences and show them it is more blessed to give than to receive.
- Let them see us sing to the King.
- Let us teach them relentlessly the meaning of the gospel in the hope that God will open their eyes and make them alive. It happens through the gospel (1 Peter 1:22-25).