I happened upon an article at DesiringGod.org called “Why require unregenerate children to be good?” This is a good topic for discussion, and I thought the answer was substantive.
I regularly feel the tension of responding to my children who do not make a profession of faith. I tell them to display the fruit of the spirit: love joy peace… patience, and so on. But my theology says that unsaved children don’t have genuine fruit of the spirit, any more than an unsaved adult. Thus, it does feel like I’m inducing my children to be hypocrites when they follow the motions of Christianity without testimony or evidence of regeneration. Or does it?
I do believe it is good and right to require unregenerate children to be good, but that does give me more questions. Those we’ll have to consider another day.