Whether it is sneaking out past curfew or lying to our parents about our whereabouts, all of us have rebelled at one time or another. But for many parents, they find themselves frustrated and in despair when those “one time” situations turn into a lifestyle of rebellion for their child. After writing a viral blog post about why she didn’t rebel as a teenager, Canadian millennial and blogger Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach wrote a book with the encouragement of her mother, Sheila Wray Gregoire. Lindenbach’s book, Why I Didn’t Rebel details her teenage journey with the intent to guide parents who are looking for help as their children transition from childhood to adulthood.
Lindenbach’s book argues against the “rebellion is inevitable” paradigm. She draws deeply on her own experience, psychological research, and in-depth interviews. She highlights eight common factors of homes where teens do not rebel against their parents or their faith. Rather than provide step-by-step instructions on how to construct the perfect family, Lindenbach offers her own story and the stories of others as examples of what went right, inviting moms and dads to think differently about parenting. She addresses hot-button topics such as courtship, the purity movement and spanking. Her hope through the book is to provide a unique vision for raising kids who follow God rather than the world.
“Today when you hear his voice, don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled, when they tested me in the wilderness. There your ancestors tested and tried my patience, even though they saw my miracles for forty years.” Hebrews 3:7-9
Lindenbach shares her perspective in helping parents.
“There are never any guarantees that your child won’t rebel, but too many people think it’s a guarantee that they will, so parents give up too easily…Maybe what [parents] really need sometimes is a bit of encouragement, not another lecture.”
Lindenbach found these methods in common with parents whose teens did not rebel.
- Ditching a rules-based mentality and instead teaching moral reasoning
- Having true communication with each other that’s more than just praying for information or rattling off reminders for homework.
- Learning how to have a friendship with their kids where they truly like each other as people and want to spend time together
- Letting teens make decisions on their own and if they fail, allowing them to productively learn from those mistakes
- Using discipline to encourage behaviors, instead of only stifling bad ones.
- Teaching kids how to find their identity in God alone, not grades or social status or even what their parents think of them.
Get help. Don’t be afraid to get help. Whether it is going to a counselor as a family, meeting with a pastor or going to a parent support group, reach out for help. The enemy wants to isolate you and think that you have failed as a parent and that you are the only one that struggles with this. But the reality is that there are many parents who have trouble with their children. There are many great resources including books and conferences that can help you as a parent, coach or mentor.
Support a parent. You might have a friend or someone in your small group or church whose child is going through a rough time. Ask them how you can support them. It might be helping watch their other kids so that they can spend time with the child one-on-one. It could be sharing a time in your parenting experience and what God taught you. It might just be asking how you can pray for them and commit to praying for their child.
Mentor a teen. One of the ways that rebellion can be prevented is through people coming alongside the family through mentorship. Whether you are a coach, youth group leader or friend, you can provide valuable insight to a youth going through a difficult season. Ask God to show you someone in your life that you can help mentor. Pray and ask God to show you what lessons or things from your life He wants you to share. It can be something as simple as meeting weekly for coffee and seeing how they are doing or it might be teaching them a life skill.
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For more information, check out www.whyididntrebel.com