We’ve been in a series I’ve been giving to my ministry discussing how to disciple their children through the Tough Stuff. You can find the first two discussions on (friends and grades) here on earlier posts. Today we are going to talk about how to disciple your children through the Tough Stuff of extreme rebellion.

The Symptoms – Rebellion is a fairly obvious. You see rebellion in your children when they refuse to follow your (or any other adults’) leadership. They may stop doing their homework or chores. Your children may talk back to you or undermine your authority with others. Whatever someone in authority wants them to do, they will want to do the opposite. It can come in many different forms. Growing up, my family didn’t regularly attend church. For me, going to church and being very involved in the youth group was a form of rebellion. Part of the allure of the Church was that it frustrated my parents.

The result of rebellion is that can cause pain and division in the home. It can tear a family apart. It can wound the psyche of a parent and make you question where you went wrong.

The Root Cause – There is no simple answer to what causes rebellion. Sometimes it’s caused when a student starts to see the faults of their parents. Because you are imperfect, your children may believe that your authority is unfounded. Rebellion may stem from an sinful reaction to your teenage child’s natural desire for independence. Other times, rebellion may have no observable cause. Your child may just be naturally rebellious. As a parent, this can be frustrating because you want to know a cause so you can fix your child.

The Gospel Solution – The solution isn’t easy with rebellion. One solution may be to look into your own life. Take an honest look at yourself and see if something you are doing is a justifiable cause for your child’s rebellion. If God reveals something to you, then you will need to repent before God and before your children. God gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). Your children will benefit from your display of repentance and may even turn from their rebellion.

If your child is striving for independence in a way that is rebellious, then you may need to remind them that both the Lord and you are on their side. When you discipline them (and they will need loving discipline) it will be because you love them and want to protect them from hurting themselves and others.

When pure rebellion happens there may not be much you can do. As a parent, you want to help your child and change them. You may fear that your child’s rebellion is your fault. This is where you need to hear the Gospel for yourself. You are not saved, thankfully, by your parenting skills. You are saved by Christ’s death and resurrection.

God is using your children to draw you deeper in dependence. In these times, you will need to go to your Heavenly Father in prayer. He will give you strength and peace, even when think you cannot endure any more. This is where you must reach out not only to Christ, but also to the local church for support and encouragement.

If this is where you find yourself, please let us know, so that we can walk with you. We, as the Body of Christ, want to come alongside your family to help you endure and overcome. Do not suffer in silence, fearing that a rebellious child means you are a bad parent. We are here for you.