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When You Realize Your Child Is Rebelling the First
Things You Do Are Very Important

As a Pastor and Biblical Counselor for many years I have seen many parents respond to rebellion in their children.  Many of them make the situation worse because of the decisions they make.  Most children in a Christian home do not go on to serve God and most live wicked lives. In fact, approximately 60 to 80 percent do not go on to serve God.  Life is all about choices.  Our choices are either godly or they are not. We are also responsible for our own choices.

Most Parents Do Not React Spiritually

Most of the time the parent is very hurt.  They are devastated! How could their child do such a thing?  Anger is an immediate response.  Anger at the child, situation, or anger with other people.  After that the cycle starts to go to blame throwing.  It is someone else’s fault!  Then they compromise with their child’s rebellion.  When that happens, they have lost something they may never get back.

Mom and dad you cannot compromise with sin and expect good things to happen.

Most parents do not think spiritually or clearly when they are hurt.  Instead of responding spiritually they react emotionally!

Many parents are more upset that their pride is hurt!  Not a good thing!  They then make decisions based on what others (non-spiritual people) might think rather than what is really needed spiritually with their lives and with their child.  They then compromise their life spiritually and everything goes downhill because a rebellious child has hijacked their home.

Realize this is a Heart Issue

Ephesians 6:6, Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;

Proverbs 23:26My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.

Realize that somewhere, somehow you have lost the child’s heart.  Instead of reacting all over the countryside, the first thing to do is ask God a serious question.  “God where have I lost my child’s heart?” Even in the pain and hurt, be honest with God and yourself.  Don’t seek to defend your poor choices (angrily) as well. Don’t spend your time arguing with the child at that point.  They will just spew venom on you.  They may say horrible things that do very much hurt. It does not mean what they are saying is true and it will not be spiritually correct. It is probably greatly exaggerated, but there is probably some truth to it. You will make the issue worse if you respond in anger. If you can hear me in your anger listen to the next thing!

Ask God to Search Your Heart

Jeremiah 17:9-10, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  (10)  I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

You do not know your heart, but the Lord does. He will show you where the issue(s) are in your heart.  Find out where you lost the child’s heart.  Most parents are unwilling to do so, to make the Biblical long term changes they need to in their life to see real changes in their lives and their children’s lives. Listen carefully, this will and could be a painful process for you, but it is truly essential.

Do Not Ask God to Reach the Child, Ask God to Work in Your Heart

The child is living for their lust(s).  Honestly, you have probably had a lot to do with that.  God can show you that and it is the most important place to start. There is a spiritual principle here that is important. Remember God loves you and He loves your child.

Parents Who Live for Their Lusts Teach Their Children to Live for Their Lusts

Romans 6:11-19, Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  (12)  Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  (13)  Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.  (14)  For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.  (15)  What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.  (16)  Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  (17)  But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.  (18)  Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.  (19)  I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

Spiritual Principles to Remember

When God shows you where you lost their heart, make the spiritual changes that need to be made in your life. This will take hard work but you cannot ask God to work in another’s heart unless you are painfully honest with God in your own heart. This is important!  When you have dealt with your heart and this will take some time and some real spiritual heart house cleaning.  It will also take real spiritual change in your life. Otherwise nothing is going to change. Then you can now ask God to intervene in the child’s heart, because you are in fellowship with God and emotionally free.  Stay emotionally free, by turning your child over to God each day, moment by moment.  There are no easy spiritual short cuts here.

Do not get angry.  You will drive them farther away.

Ephesians 4:29-31,  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.  (30)  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.  (31)  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Do not support them in their rebellion, but do your best to keep lines of communication open. Don’t give them money to live a rebellious life.

Be kind in your speech.  When you can’t support their rebellion let them know you love them, but I can’t do that.  Many parents support their children in their rebellion and it only makes them worse. The child knows if they pitch a loud enough fit you will cave in and give them what they want. You may not love what your child is doing, but you can always love your child.  Love does not mean supporting rebellion. When you do support rebellion you will be in for a life of further long term misery with this child or other children.

Listen to wise spiritual counsel. It will benefit your life.  When you argue and are angry with those who try to help you spiritually, realize it just you fighting for your lusts. You are not helping your situation.

If you have other children in the home realize, they are watching.  Don’t continue to make poor lust choices and lead another child into rebellion. Don’t allow your children to be compromised by other rebellious children.  This is a huge mistake most parents make and rationalize their choices in it to appease their children, others, or any other scenario that they think is important but makes no spiritual sense.

Finally, without being a Spirit controlled person, nothing works.  Do you understand what that means?  If not read, How to Have a Real Relationship With God, The Work of the Holy Spirit In a Person’s Life.


We encourage you to read the book, Rearing Spiritual Children to Serve the Saviour at www.hopebiblicalcounselingcenter.com.