May 5, 2011

Why Christian Kids Rebel - A Book Discussion Week 1

Today we're starting our discussion about the fabulous book Why Christian Kids Rebel by Dr. Tim Kimmel of Family Matters.  Let me say that this book is so full of great information that if we tried to discuss it all, we'd be here for months!  I will try my best to bring out some of what I felt was most informative in the hopes that it has touched you in some way as well.

Chapter 1 - The Sheer Weight of Rebellion
We all know that any kind of rebellion leads to serious consequences.  It hurts us deeply as parents when our child is choosing rebellion, rejecting our value system, losing credibility and remains in bondage to their mistakes.  A rebellious child is blocking God out of their life, their parents annoy them, they claim their family life stinks, they are stubborn, argumentative, aloof and moody.  After that description, we can certainly see why one rebellious child can cause disruptions that ripple through the entire family.

Honestly, when I chose to read this book, I was looking for answers on how I could change my child, or how I could bring them back to our side.  I wasn't ready for Dr. Kimmel's explanation of some of the causes of a rebellious child.  It was eye opening to see that some of those reasons may have stemmed from me.

"Our kids see us as haughty and arrogant and envision themselves as being somewhere far beneath us." pg 9

"Your willingness to acknowledge your own feet of clay is one of the best starting points when it comes to helping your children, especially when they have chosen to embrace an attitude of rebellion." pg 10

Rebellion should point us toward Grace.  It helps us stay focused on God rather than ourselves.  Our children need it the most when it is the most difficult time to give.  But many times in our fear in the depths of this situation, we can inadvertently make it worse by trying to keep moving through the checklist of "good christian behaviors".  We all try to adhere to the list found on page 20 because it is what makes the most sense, but sometimes our children will choose a different path.  But we also need to leave room for God to work.

What did you find in Chapter 1 that was new information to you?

Chapter 2 - An Overdose of  Bad Behavior
I was immediately struck on page 25 with this quote, "Human nature reacts to the moment.  Grace looks for the deeper explanation."  This is so very true.  I know sometimes my initial reactions to mistakes or sins of my children are not grace filled.  I needed this reminder to take a  breath and look deeper inside my child for the real reason for the behavior.  Discovering the reasons behind the behavior can help us to increase our patience and find the specific area to pray about for that child.

Getting to the heart of your child is key.  Their rebellion is simply an "external expression of an internal problem".  Many times this rebellion is immaturity on our children's part in knowing how to handle internal emotional struggles.

Dr. Kimmel lists eight reasons for rebellion:

  1. They don't know Christ personally
  2. They are angry at God
  3. They are mad at their parents
  4. Their personalities are pushed to the extreme
  5. They are in a state of confusion
  6. They are in bondage to sin
  7. It is an essential part of their spiritual pilgrimage
  8. They have flaws with the brand of christianity they are witnessing
As we can see from this list, the rebellion is a symptom of a deeper struggle.  Our job as parents is to gracefully love them through it and provide whatever counsel we can in finding the root of the rebellion.

I'm so thankful that at the end of Chapter 2, Dr. Kimmel promises us advise on how to help our children want to follow Jesus!

Having seen the reasons behind rebellion, has it helped you see deeper into your child's struggle?

I hope you will join us again next Thursday as we tackle Chapters 3 and 4.



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