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After Having Done All - When Your Child is Living in Rebellion

By Teri Worten

There's no pain quite like that of a parent whose child is engaged in activities that may hinder their future success. Behaviors such as drugs, gang activity, criminal conduct and the like are common traps that ensnare many of today's young people.

Nevertheless, once a child reaches a certain age, we, as mothers, must turn them over to their own devices. The time comes when we can no longer make choices for them, it is then that we must trust that our seeds of faith and moral integrity have taken root. Some fruits do not produce immediate harvests, but if a child was taught and trained, the seed will indeed yield. When a young person ventures into risky activities, try to trust, encourage, and support them--not to criticize, judge or detest.

If you, or a loved one, is in the dilemma of living with the rebellion of a young person, understand that there are no quick cures for this type of situation. In spite of this, there are attitudes and actions that a parent can employ to alleviate the pain and dissention caused during these times.

Recognize that children are going to choose their own way. This doesn't imply that the parent shouldn't try to persuade or advise them to choose another path. Still, making (and learning from) mistakes is a normal part of the growth process. Each of us has made our share of blunders and most of us are better for it. [As long as it?s not life threatening], allow your children to stumble a few times. It's the best way to learn!

The greatest Parent of all. Of course, this great parent is our heavenly Father. Think of how He handles us when we rebel. His mercy is graciously infinite. When we apologize, He quickly forgives, dusts us off and provides a fresh start. We must learn to be so merciful with our kids.

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Don't beat yourself up. Don't kill yourself with shoulda coulda wouldas -- shoulda done that, coulda done this... doing so is utter foolishness. When you do this, you begin to take too much responsibility for the ordeal. If they are of a reasonable age, you can't be held solely responsible for the choices your children make. Think back for a moment, when the doctor handed you that precious little baby, did you say "I'm gonna teach you to make very bad decisions"? Of course not, you did the absolute best you could to train them well. They made alternative choices.

Keep on keepin' on. Don't let your child's rebellion reek havoc on your life or on the lives of your other children. Continue to live as normally as possible. Remember the story of the prodigal son? When he came to his senses and returned home, he didn't find the house in disarray, or his father suffering from a nervous breakdown. He found life as usual. I'm sure that made returning home even sweeter.

Do not forget the other kids. One child's rebellion should not directly affect other siblings' lives. If you focus only on the rebelling child you're sending the message that the best way to receive mommy's attention is to do something to anger or frustrate her.

Okay, Girlfriend. Let's get real here. There are going to be times when bitterness might get the best of you. You may ask yourself, "exactly who does this little nutmo think he/she is, causing all this trouble?" Try not to hold animosity in your heart for the child. The rebellious child needs to see you in a consistent state of calm and control. You may need to seek professional help with this.

Finally, do not give up. Concentrate on all of the other obstacles you've overcome as a parent. Remember that it's not over until its over. There's always hope.

© Teri Worten
Teri Worten is a freelance writer passionate about guiding women toward reaching their fullest potential in Christ. Visit her at


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