How to Show Your Children When to Compromise (and When Not To)

December 23, 2019

Jeannette Tuionetoa

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Respect and compromise go hand in hand. In a world full of entitled people who do not respect authority, it becomes more and more important to teach both. Showing your children when to compromise (and when not to) is not an easy feat, to say the very least. We can, however, let the Lord guide us through it. 

Show Your Children When to Compromise and When Not To


Learning to compromise is a skill that we can even see some adults fail to master. Compromising in good communication does not mean failure. It doesn’t say someone won or got over on the other. Compromising includes settling on a mutual concession.

Compromise means you may not get all you want. If we are honest with ourselves, our current society tells us this is counterintuitive.

Society says we fight for our ideas until death; society tells us how we “feel” is right and that we should get whatever we want. Teaching our kids anything contrary to that will no doubt come with some friction by society’s standards.

How can we then teach our child when to compromise and when not to?

It’s a touchy subject depending on how you parent. Some have a strict parental home where kids have no say, and others prefer to be more flexible, leaving room for kids to do as they please. Other families are somewhere in between.

I can tell you that I learned the hard way to not enforce a super strict household. My eldest daughter grew up with a mom that didn’t let her have any input or feelings about what was going on around her. That mom, by the way, was me. I messed up with my eldest in this regard.

I allowed no compromise and learned the hard way that I was wrong in being a totalitarian. I understand that not allowing a child to make decisions doesn’t work and isn’t healthy at all.

Therefore, I hold to the fact that helping children and allowing them the opportunity to make decisions is vital in assisting them in learning how to compromise. Allow kids to make decisions even from a young age; it can be the difference between a whiny, selfish child and one who knows how to compromise well.

Embracing compromise yourself

We should be what we hope they will be one day, a person who can compromise. For instance, –don’t judge me – one rainy day my son was especially hyperactive. He was about 4, maybe. He got this idea in his head that he was on an adventure where he couldn’t touch the floor. He had to get across the rooms without touching the floor.

I looked at him like, “What in the world is wrong with you, child?” I could have easily told him, no, but then how would I have this precious story of when my baby played “the floor is lava” even before it became cool to do so? Compromising with our kids show they can also embrace compromise.

Embrace saying no

Many parents find it extremely difficult to tell their children no. They cave. They think disrespectful things are cute when a child is little. The problem is that those disrespectful things do not stay cute for very long at all. Learning to say no to your kids or providing them with options is important to teaching compromise.

I emphasize saying no because before we can teach our children to make decisions and to develop a cognitive ability to compromise, we must first teach there is an authority the Lord has put in place, which we must submit to.

Romans 13:1 – Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Embrace providing options

This was most difficult for me as a parent. When I was a single mom with my child, I was so stressed that I had no room for an unruly child. I was young and alone and didn’t know a thing about being a good mom. 

I look back and think about how I could have created more confidence for my eldest by giving her the ability to make decisions instead of dictating how she needs to every step of the way.

Controlling behavior – in me, led to her rebelling.

From a young age, give your kids choices to help their confidence, to encourage decision making, and to show you are fair even if you say no at times.

A part of learning when to compromise is also learning when not to compromise as well.

What I need to say here is that in accordance with God’s good Word, we can learn the instructions for life including that of compromising.

Proverbs 22:6, says “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

That way we train our kids “to go” is towards God. We should teach them that compromise has no place where the Lord’s Word is concerned. We need to make it established that God is the One who makes the rules for us. We are God’s instrument to carry out the plan that He has for us.

God’s Word says, “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the LORD. Joyful are those who obey His laws and search for Him with all their hearts. They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in His paths. You have charged us to keep Your commandments carefully” (Psalm 119:1-4).

In God’s Word or in anything to do with His Word, we are not to stray away from or compromise. That is why it is so important that we emphasize the need for our kids to read the Bible and for us to read it with them. In our training and in staying in God’s Holy Word, our children will know what they are to not compromise in.

1 Peter 3:15 … in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.

God does not play around when it comes to compromising with His ways. Teaching our children that this where we should never compromise will be everything they need to live their lives in a manner where they stand up for what is right according to the Bible.

This is true in people hurting others, in staying on the right path, in decision making, in speech, in it all.

In 2 Timothy 2:26, we see that God wants people to “come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.”

When gleaning from God’s good and perfect Word, our kids will learn what is right and what is wrong. In showing our kids the Bible stories God has left for us, we teach our children when to compromise and ultimately when to never compromise. The times we live in exemplify that our kids need to know this now more than ever.

How to Show Your Children When to Compromise (and When Not To)

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