david herndon

godly parents
March 4, 2014, 5:01 pm
Filed under: parenting | Tags: , , , ,

I read a blog last week by a 19 year old who claims to have never rebelled and her article consisted of the top 5 things parents need to do so their kids don’t rebel either.  If I’m real honest, the whole article made me kind of sick.  First of all, I’m not in the habit of taking parenting advice from a teenager.  No offense meant.  I thought I knew everything about parenting at one time.  Then my wife got pregnant 3 times.  Secondly, I don’t think the mark of godly parents is a non-rebelling teenager.  My mother and step-father are two of the finest parents I know and two god-fearing people to boot.  I still screwed up.  A lot.  Finally, I think we need to redefine what we mean by rebellion.  Its a strong word that gets way overused in our American culture – just ask any third world country currently going through a true rebellion.

I know some of you may think your students are rebelling right now (and maybe they are).  But what if in actuality they are just expressing curiosity?  I know – our kids do things that we don’t understand… a lot!  As parents, it makes us feel like we’ve messed up or that our kids don’t trust/respect/love us.  But what if our kids are testing the boundaries BECAUSE we are doing a good job and BECAUSE they trust/respect/love us and they know that we trust/respect/love them too?  How do we teach ourselves to view our kids mistakes NOT as rebellion, but as… well… just mistakes?

Webster defines “rebellion” as “an act of violent or open resistance to an established government or ruler.”  In this case you (the parent) are the established government or ruler.  Like it or not, that’s your job.  God gave it to you, and you accepted when you participated in the life giving process of pregnancy and birth.  It was a pretty easy job to be the established government and ruler when your children just ate, slept, and pooped.  Then they learned how to run away screaming “no,” and its all been downhill since then.  However, before you are too quick to label your kids as rebels, ask yourself if they are indeed leading “a violent and open resistance to your rule.”  Or are they just being kids?  Just like I was a kid.  Just like you were a kid.

Now, to be fair, many teenagers do rebel.  This may be another topic for another day but I will give you my brief description of a TRUE rebelling teenager.  A true rebelling teenager leads to harming his/her self and/or his/her family in physical and emotional ways on a consistent, daily basis.  A true rebelling teenager will disappear, runaway, and lie on a consistent, daily basis.  A true rebelling teenager will break laws in order to feed their need to rebel on a consistent, daily basis.  I’ve helped with true rebelling teenagers and their families before, and usually I was joined by some sort of law agency or family services.  I can tell you there is a BIG difference between a kid who is testing boundaries and a kid who is truly rebelling.  However, both have a really good common trait – they both can change with the love and grace of Christ and his/her family… just like any student can.

So what is my point in all of this?

Your kids are going to test boundaries and your patience.  It is a part of growing up.  Your role as a parent is not to 100% completely prevent your kids from making mistakes.  That’s impossible, in case you didn’t know.  AND that is not the mark of a godly parent.  A godly parent finds the balance between love, grace, and discipline in order to help their kids learn from their mistakes in an environment of shared trust and respect.  You might just want to put that last sentence on the fridge.

If your child is participating in true rebellion and leading a violent open resistance to your rule, seek the help and counsel of the necessary agency, church, or ministry.

But if your child is just making mistakes… Try to keep extending love, grace, and discipline in an environment of trust and respect.  It might not make the difference you want today, but it will make an impact on your children… and their children… for the rest of your lives.

Sometimes we think Godly parenting is all about getting it all right, measuring up to some ridiculous standard, and raising perfect kids.  It’s not.  Godly parenting is all about parenting with total dependence on God… especially when our kids are testing boundaries.  Wait until your kids are adults before you deem yourself a bad parent.  You’re doing better than you think.

*Footnote: I did not link the referenced blog by the 19 year old because I mean no criticism to her or her heart in writing the article.  I applaud her for striving to seek God and to live her life according to His ways.  I do think some parents who are dealing with rebellion issues might find her thoughts a little defeating in the moment.  I simply wanted to share a different view of encouragement.


%d bloggers like this: