Rebellion; The Line in the Sand
As a child, I remember my mom once saying, “You wait until you have kids.” What she was telling me is that one day I would also have to endure the woes of parenting and put up with rebellion similar to my own. Well, her forecast came true. Now, after raising 5 kids, I would say that parenting is hard and we all need a little insight and help with rebellious storms from our kids that can seem to come out of nowhere and last for long stretches of time.
We want the best for our kids. We try to raise them up with values we believe in, values we hope they will pass on to their own families. When they don’t uphold these values, rebellion can ensue and we feel as though we have failed as a parent. We don’t understand why they are acting so unappreciative. Don’t be too hard on yourselves; just be ready to go deeper and get tougher with them because they need that tough love now more than ever. Not only are they needing tough love, but asking for it.
I can remember a few times when I’m sure my boys thought I was being unfair in how I was treating them. When they rebelled with their attitudes or showed lack of respect and appreciation toward us as parents or other members of our household I imposed more difficult measures than normal. I was prepared to take things away, limit their privileges or make them put forth a little more effort. As an example, I had one son wax and polish a tractor, one son weed-eat our property for over 4 hours, and more than just one time. I had them completely empty everything in their rooms to clean it and put things back in a much more organized way. I took away games, car keys, cancelled time with their friends and withheld funding for college and so on. These measures were hard, but I was willing to engage and not relent until I saw the desired attitude in my kids. When I began to see a change, I would change. Not that I would give in to their every whim, but I would show more mercy and give them more grace.
There is one more key weapon for this battle agains rebellion in our children and it is the most important of all; prayer. It was prayer that gave us the calm during these storms. It was prayer that gave us wisdom to know when to be tough and when to give grace. It was prayer that helped change their hearts, which in turn changed their minds and attitudes. It was prayer that showed me how to love them even more through these seasons of rebellion.
When I began to see a change in their hearts I would ask them “Are you ready to talk?” When they were ready, Danielle and I would sit down with them and first tell them how much we love them and only want the best for them and then we would listen. We were not trying in any way to break them but to strengthen and to love them. When they would apologize, it wasn’t like we had won some game. This was harder on us than it was on them, but we had values in our home that we were willing to fight for. We know once we gave in, the foundation and then the walls would begin to weaken and they would eventually fall. Our home was built on a foundation of core values and they were not negotiable.
Today our kids joke about the times when they had to do hard things. They also have an appreciation of why we did what we did. We believed all along what our kids were asking for were boundaries and parents who were willing to fight for them, even if they didn’t realize it at the time. As parents of young adults, Danielle and I were always in agreement that being tough was just a part of the parenting process and we were both willing to do our part.
Written on our wall in our family room were some very important words. These words spelled out our family’s vision and included words such as honor, respect, love and commitment. To us, these weren’t just words, they were a line in the sand and if anyone dared to cross it, we were ready to love them back across it. There is nothing easy about family and parenting, but we believe it will bring you the greatest joys of your life. C2 it and receive the blessing.