Today’s Catechism sections discuss the duties of children in the Christian family. Supporting material comes from Pope John Paul II’s “Letter to Families”.

III. The Duties of Family Members

The duties of children

2214 The divine fatherhood is the source of human fatherhood;16 this is the foundation of the honor owed to parents. The respect of children, whether minors or adults, for their father and mother17 is nourished by the natural affection born of the bond uniting them. It is required by God's commandment.18

2215 Respect for parents (filial piety) derives from gratitude toward those who, by the gift of life, their love and their work, have brought their children into the world and enabled them to grow in stature, wisdom, and grace. "With all your heart honor your father, and do not forget the birth pangs of your mother. Remember that through your parents you were born; what can you give back to them that equals their gift to you?"19

2216 Filial respect is shown by true docility and obedience. "My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching.... When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will talk with you."20 "A wise son hears his father's instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke."21

2217 As long as a child lives at home with his parents, the child should obey his parents in all that they ask of him when it is for his good or that of the family. "Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord."22 Children should also obey the reasonable directions of their teachers and all to whom their parents have entrusted them. But if a child is convinced in conscience that it would be morally wrong to obey a particular order, he must not do so.
As they grow up, children should continue to respect their parents. They should anticipate their wishes, willingly seek their advice, and accept their just admonitions. Obedience toward parents ceases with the emancipation of the children; not so respect, which is always owed to them. This respect has its roots in the fear of God, one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

2218 The fourth commandment reminds grown children of their responsibilities toward their parents. As much as they can, they must give them material and moral support in old age and in times of illness, loneliness, or distress. Jesus recalls this duty of gratitude.23

For the Lord honored the father above the children, and he confirmed the right of the mother over her sons. Whoever honors his father atones for sins, and whoever glorifies his mother is like one who lays up treasure. Whoever honors his father will be gladdened by his own children, and when he prays he will be heard. Whoever glorifies his father will have long life, and whoever obeys the Lord will refresh his mother.24
O son, help your father in his old age, and do not grieve him as long as he lives; even if he is lacking in understanding, show forbearance; in all your strength do not despise him.... Whoever forsakes his father is like a blasphemer, and whoever angers his mother is cursed by the Lord.25

2219 Filial respect promotes harmony in all of family life; it also concerns relationships between brothers and sisters. Respect toward parents fills the home with light and warmth. "Grandchildren are the crown of the aged."26 "With all humility and meekness, with patience, [support] one another in charity."27

2220 For Christians a special gratitude is due to those from whom they have received the gift of faith, the grace of Baptism, and life in the Church. These may include parents, grandparents, other members of the family, pastors, catechists, and other teachers or friends. "I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you."28

IN BRIEF

2251 Children owe their parents respect, gratitude, just obedience, and assistance. Filial respect fosters harmony in all of family life.

In Pope John Paul II’s “Letter to Families”, he discusses the obedience of Christ, the model for obedience within the family.

The family has its origin in that same love with which the Creator embraces the created world, as was already expressed "in the beginning", in the Book of Genesis (1:1). In the Gospel Jesus offers a supreme confirmation: "God so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (Jn 3:16). The only-begotten Son, of one substance with the Father, "God from God and Light from Light", entered into human history through the family: "For by his incarnation the Son of God united himself in a certain way with every man. He laboured with human hands. . . and loved with a human heart. Born of Mary the Virgin, he truly became one of us and, except for sin, was like us in every respect".[3] If in fact Christ "fully discloses man to himself",[4] he does so beginning with the family in which he chose to be born and to grow up. We know that the Redeemer spent most of his life in the obscurity of Nazareth, "obedient" (Lk 2:51) as the "Son of Man" to Mary his Mother, and to Joseph the carpenter. Is this filial "obedience" of Christ not already the first expression of that obedience to the Father "unto death" (Phil 2:8), whereby he redeemed the world?

Footnotes

16 Cf. Eph 314.
17 Cf. ⇒ Prov 1:8; ⇒ Tob 4:3-4.
18 Cf. ⇒ Ex 20:12.
19 ⇒ Sir 7:27-28.
20 ⇒ Prov 6:20-22.
21 ⇒ Prov 13:1.
22 ⇒ Col 3:20; Cf. ⇒ Eph 6:1.
23 Cf. ⇒ Mk 7:10-12.
24 ⇒ Sir 3:2-6.
25 ⇒ Sir 3:12-13, ⇒ 16.
26 ⇒ Prov 17:6.
27 ⇒ Eph 4:2.
28 ⇒ 2 Tim 1:5.