This is a question thousands of parents face every day. There are many solutions to this problem; some have proven to be successful and some have not. As a Christian writer and mother of three, I will share one option that really works; (it worked in our house) therefore it is not a theory, it is a proven solution to the problem of rebellion. I had to learn these lessons the hard way, but fortunately I learned them in time to deal with the problem of rebellion when my children were young.
When and where does the rebellion begin?
The rebellion at home begins slowly, but gains momentum as it continues. Like a snowball, first start with a handful of snow; But as it rolls down the hill, that innocent snowball gets bigger and bigger. You may be looking at a rebellious child and wondering how this happened when yesterday it seemed so good. It wasn’t just from yesterday; rebellion occurs over time. Rebellious actions and attitudes may not have been called rebellion until they got out of control and everyone was affected.
With your child, think for a minute … when did the rebellion start? I’ll use the Cute Puppy story to help you determine when it may have started.
The cute puppy
Position yourself as the mom in this story: Once upon a time there was a stray puppy who came to your door and, because he was so cute, you fed him. The next day this cute puppy, with sad eyes, comes to the door and this time you let your children feed him. On the third day, the cute puppy does not look so sad anymore, now he is wagging his tail because he knows that he has found a friend. On the fourth day you feed the cute puppy and let him in for a nap.
One little thing had been overlooked: the family rule of “no pets in the house.” Her husband had requested that the family establish this rule after a new sofa had to be purchased because the family dog had soiled the old one. The dog had since died, but the rule had been forgotten. On the fifth day the cute puppy comes to the door wagging his tail and this time you let him in to eat, take a nap and play for a while. After all, it’s so cute and the kids are having so much fun … what could be wrong with having it home for a while? After an hour or so you say, “We have to get the puppy out before your father arrives.” “Oh mom,” the children cry, “let him stay a little longer; he’s so cute and we’re having so much fun.” You agree to allow him to hang around a bit longer by saying, “Just if you don’t let him sit on the couch, remember how your dad feels about it.” “Okay, we won’t,” children say.
But no matter how cute a puppy is, it is a puppy, and a puppy will do what puppies do. As the games continue, the puppy jumps on the couch to catch a ball. “Mom, come see how he jumps to catch the ball.” The children cry: “He is the cutest puppy.” But before anyone could stop him, you guessed it right, he lifts his cute little paw and … oh no, what do we do? Dad would be home any minute, the couch was wet and the living room smelled like a dog.
They have a great idea: “Ok kids, we’ll go out to dinner and call someone to come and clean the couch while we’re gone.” This seemed to be a good way to tackle the problem. Dad does not get angry, you are free from responsibilities, the children are happy, and the cute puppy still has a home.
What really happened that day?
A seed of rebellion was planted.
The children were taught that it is okay to break a family rule.
They learn to disrespect Daddy and that his requests don’t really matter.
They learned that if something feels good and is fun, just do it.
They learned to find a way out of problems.
They learned to cover things up, what Daddy doesn’t know won’t hurt him.
Another example of how the rebellion begins:
Rebellion is like a small seed, it is planted in tender soil and then it begins to grow. You may not notice that the seed is growing until one day it sprouts from the ground. You may not take the time to do anything about the little marijuana or the little lie your child told you about where he went after school. But just like the weed in the flower garden, if it is not uprooted, it continues to grow. As the weeks and months go by, the little lie and the little grass grow and nobody notices. You may one day look out the window and see that the grass has turned into a tree and the son is not coming home at all. As a step? Yesterday everything was fine. No, it takes time for a weed to grow into a tree and it takes time for rebellion to grow into a child. When rebellion has not been addressed in the early stages, the results are highly predictable. Proverbs 29:15 says, “A child left to himself will bring great shame to his mother and father.”
Your child is like a garden and what is planted will grow or come out. Start weeding the flower garden today. Watch what comes out of your child’s mouth. Are they weeds or beautiful flowers? I would consider the mocking and disrespectful words of a child weeds. When these weeds first sprout, remove them simply by saying, “That’s unacceptable.” Apply Proverbs 29:17 and correct them. When correction is given correctly, out of love, God assures you in Proverbs 23: 13-14, that he will save your child from future destruction. Then do your homework; Find out how the seed was planted in the first place and eliminate the source of the problem. As a parent, you have God-given authority.
Bad seeds come from several sources:
Today’s TV shows and movies are full of violence, sex, and deception. The friends your children hang out with are a very strong influence and should be carefully monitored. And just like in the Cute Puppy story, the way parents hide things can also plant a seed of rebellion.
If you have a rebellious child, take action today!
Go to the source, remove the influence, and don’t wait until the weeds turn into trees. You can pluck a weed with two fingers when it first appears. If you wait until the undergrowth turns into a tree, it will take a lot more effort because a tree requires heavy equipment to dig up. The two fingers are the mother and father, they both get involved and work together. Both of you must take responsibility for correcting the problem.
This method of dealing with rebellion when it first begins has worked in our home. Our children are now 24, 20 and 16. We took care of the little weeds when they first appeared when they were young, and we have never had to deal with rebellion in adolescence. If you have a rebellious child, there is hope; but it must start with you, the father. God honors the position of parents and when you cry out to Him in humility, repenting of your mistakes, He will hear your cry and help you. Repentance will restore the authority that you may have lost in your child’s life.