Shows Main Idea – How do you help a child who was adopted from a drug and alcohol mother and is now ten years old and out of control? We have tried everything we know but it does not work. We’re at our wit’s end.
Does he know how to obey anyone? (You’re not trying to discern his motives. You’re looking for obedient behaviors regardless of what is motivating him to obey.)
Are there contexts or situations where he is compliant? Is he more apt to obey outside the home rather than in the home? What are the conditions where he follows rules?
Is he mostly disobedient to certain people, e.g., his mother? Generally speaking, mothers are easier to manipulate than dads or other authority figures. It is essential for the dad to be doing most of the discipline and instruction, even if he’s not home during the day. He can provide directional, instructional, and disciplinary care after he arrives home.
Are there certain triggers or responses that motivate him to obey? If he does obey, what is happening and why does he choose to obey?
Have your responses to him been like Christ, both the dad and mom? Or are your negative responses adding to the chaos of the home?
How does your marriage model Christlike relational interaction that gives him a template for how to relate well with others?
How do his siblings influence and react to him?
How do other people in his close network of friends influence or react to him, i.e., church and school?
Call to Action
He may need medication
Because he has a legitimate organic problem.
As a means to bring calmness and safety to your home so (1) you can help him and (2) no one is hurt by his actions, especially as he becomes older and his rebellion intensifies.
Adding meds will cause a reaction you did not expect or intend.
He must not be allowed to ruin your marriage or the rest of your family. Your marriage is your number one relational priority.
You may have to find another environment for him because you’re not able to bring him the most effective care. There is also the “danger element” as he grows older; his behavior will intensify. This is not unusual. There are times when an older parent is placed in a more effective care facility. When organic and non-organic parts of a person deteriorate to such a degree, it’s not wrong to find alternate means of care.
Ask the Lord to bring the “right person” to come alongside him. Perhaps he will listen to someone else. Perhaps you can find a mentor for him.
Consider asking a policeman to speak with him. This is the “scared straight” idea. Perhaps he will listen. It will reinforce your seriousness about doing whatever is necessary to help him.
Continue to teach him how to be like Christ while hoping God will impose Himself into your son’s soul (2 Timothy 2:24-25). If he becomes a Christian, then the things he has been taught will be in place, and the Lord can activate the power to change him.
Parent him according to who he is, not necessarily his age. Guard your heart against expecting him to be something he is not.
Watch my webinar on Disorders from a Biblical Perspective
Watch my webinar on Human Motivation and Shaping Influences
Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and in 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).