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One Reason Children Rebel Against Their Parents

Children are one of God’s many gifts to parents. And as parents, we have the responsibility and the privilege to guide them into a practically biblical experience of knowing and loving God (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).

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Though our children are born with a limited God-awareness (Romans 1:20), we must still cooperate with the Lord (Ephesians 5:1) in the process of connecting their innate awareness of Him (Romans 2:14-15) in real, practical, and mature ways that ultimately lead to their salvation (John 3:7).

The graphic helps to communicate this concept. These six points will assist you in discerning the meaning of the infographic.

1. Children are born in the image of God–as seen in the green pie shape, which is part of the incomplete circle (Genesis 1:27; 2:7).

2. These kids are also born in Adam–as seen in the “Adamic” piece of the circle (Romans 5:12).

3. A parent’s job is to cooperate with the Lord by leading the child to the Lord’s salvation–as is noted by the green directional arrow (Ephesians 6:4).

4. A poor parenting model will create “a regressive effect” for the child (Matthew 19:14; Mark 10:14; Luke 18:16). Rather than drawing her closer to the Lord, the child rebels by creating a wider “gap” between herself and the Lord.

5. Parents can either impede or facilitate the child’s path to God (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19).

6. In many cases, a dysfunctional child—after they become adults—will desire a spouse as a means to a better life rather than pursuing God with all of her soul, mind, and strength (Matthew 6:33). This wrongly motivated choice only exacerbates the longstanding dysfunction.

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Natural Regression in Life

The impact we have on our children is powerful because we are their earliest and most profound influencers. As they grow up in the context of our care, whether that care is good or bad, they are affected by our attitudes, words, and actions.

What we do to them become the shaping influences that they will either imitate or reject. Our goal is to export to them—as much as we can—Christocentric attitudes, words, and actions.

Though no good or bad parent can make a child righteous or unrighteous, we are called to cooperate with the Lord in the salvation of the child by (1) modeling the life of Christ before them (Ephesians 5:1), while (2) teaching them everything that He taught (Matthew 28:19-20).

If we are not presenting the life of Christ to our children (1 Corinthians 11:1), the chances of them rejecting God by the time they become teenagers is exponentially higher than parents who humbly present Jesus to their children while they are young.

The Fruit of Fear

Fear is the foundational problem that you will see in a child who is in the early stages of rejecting their parents. Let’s suppose a parent has a pattern of any one of the following traits. These are not episodes, but patterns in either one of the parent’s lives.

  • Distant parent
  • Angry parent
  • Abusive parent
  • Critical parent
  • Divorced parent
  • Preoccupied parent
  • Impatient parent

If there is a consistency of any of these patterns in either or both of the parents, the chances of the child’s fear having a mental stronghold (2 Corinthians 10:3-6) is much higher than a child living in a loving and safe home.

Being born in Adam is to be taken with fear. Being afraid is part of our Adamic wiring because that is what came upon Adam after he chose to sin in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:10). Fearful people beget fearful people.

Younger children crave security in the family community. If they do not find it, when they become older, they will seek a “safe” community outside of the family community. When a parent exacerbates the fear of a child through any of the behaviors outlined above, the child will be compelled to find the security (safety) they crave through other means.

This reaction is one of the primary reasons a teen begins to distance himself from his parents. He is looking for an accepting, approving, and loving community.

Parents have the responsibility, through their attitudes, words, and behaviors, to lead their children to God. To fail in this is to stir up an Adamic fear that could push them farther from God.

You will find a simple biblical template to model for your children in the “fruit of the Spirit constellation” in Galatians 5:22-23. These nine elements give you a snapshot of what Christ was like, and how you should be to your children.

Self-Assess

Look at the template for Christlikeness (below) to see how you are doing and how you may need to change. You can preface each Christ-trait with this question: “Are my children experiencing the (insert the element) of Christ through me?”

  • Love of Christ
  • Joy of Christ
  • Peace of Christ
  • Patience of Christ
  • Kindness of Christ
  • Goodness of Christ
  • Faithfulness of Christ
  • Gentleness of Christ
  • Self-control of Christ

Though you cannot save your children or make them holy, you can choose to not complicate their lives further by giving them the clearest possible picture of Jesus.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. – 1 John 4:18

Call to Action

  1. How will you respond to this practical teaching?
  2. Will you share your thoughts with a competent Christian friend who will speak the truth with love to you?
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