Children (five to six and seven to eight years old) were presented with scenarios in which various adults (a police officer, a teacher, and an unspecified adult) requested assistance from a child. Six scenarios were presented (two per adult) with half involving a reasonable request (requiring little effort from the child) and the others unreasonable. For each scenario, the participants stated: (i) whether the child in the story should comply with the adult's request, (ii) the reason for the compliance decision, (iii) the consequences of non-compliance, and (iv) the legitimacy of the adult's request. Compliance and perceived legitimacy of the request was highest for the police officer compared to the teacher, with both figures commanding greater compliance than the unspecified adult. Children's justifications suggested that the positive relationship between obedience and social status was due (albeit in part) to fear of punishment for non-compliance, particularly in the younger age group.