As a parent, we want to believe that kids just randomly turn out good. Some are angels and some are problem children. The truth is hard to accept, but our children are the direct product of how we raise them. Deep down we all know this, but we don’t like admitting it.
There are only two verses in the entire New Testament about parenting. Yes, only two! Both of them speak to the same issue and describe the outcome of poor parenting. They are each addressed to Fathers and I don’t think that is an accident. However, mothers can learn from these as well.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged. Colossians 3:21
Both verses deal with an attitude among parents that we are all familiar with; provoking, aggravating, nagging or choking to death (figuratively of course). We want what is best for our child, but we see them do foolish things. Our gut reaction, and usually the one we follow, is to begin lecturing. Many of us obsess over insignificant issues. We end up belittling and even bullying our kids. A deep sense of resentment is growing inside them. They can’t put it into words, but they know they aren’t being nurtured and taught about life. They know that you are just throwing every mistake they’ve ever made back in there face. Kids aren’t dumb, they know you’re sleeping on the job. Unless you change your approach they will become increasingly more angry and ultimately may decide to just give up.
Nothing I ever do is good enough so why even try?
A Guide to Raising a Rebellious Teenager
If you want a rebellious child who has given up on you and given up on life follow these steps carefully.
- Major in the minors –Make sure you nag them about things that don’t matter. Obsess over the fact that they can’t seem to remember to pick up their underwear. Make them feel completely worthless if they don’t clean their room or take out the trash. If you really want to stifle them they have to feel like your love for them is based on how responsible they are.
- Be really worried about how they make you look -How your kids look on the outside needs to be really important to you and them. The clothes they wear,and how they wear them, should be controlled at every turn. They should know,at all times,wether you consider them fat or skinny. This way their worth will be closely connected with your personal narcism.
- Criticize more than you compliment -No child can be provoked to anger when all they get is encouragement and compliments. To truly raise an embittered child, clearly note all of their shortcomings and ignore the truly great things they do. Never miss an opportunity to point out a flaw. Heaven forbid they should make a mistake and only feel the weight of their own guilt. No, they need you bearing down on them to really feel discouraged.
- Never admit you are wrong -The cardinal rule of raising a rebel: You are always smarter, stronger and better than your child. Your pride is a key factor in truly embittering them. They need to have the sense that you like being right and in charge more than you love them. Power and control are what its all about.
If you follow some of these I can guarantee that you will provoke your child to anger. They will be embittered and ultimately give up.
Want to try having a fulfilled child? Think boundaries not rules. We can’t just let kids do whatever they want-that would be a disaster. Our job is to give them a canvas. A painters canvas has limits because it has edges, but within those edges a painters creativity is limitless. Give your child the edges of the canvas and give them the freedom to fill it in whatever wonderful creative ways they wish.
Edge: Clothes should not be revealing or vulgar.
Canvas: You can dress however you want.
Compromise: Your children may dress differently from what you think looks good. They may not even look good in what they choose. Oh, well.
Edge: No strange smells should come from your room and no inappropriate decorations
Canvas: Your room is yours. Clean it, don’t clean it, its up to you.
Compromise: Your kids may choose to live in squaller.
Edge: Being caught in a lie will always result in discipline and disrespect is not allowed
Canvas: You can tell me whatever you want without a lecture. No confession will ever be punished.
Compromise: You kids will tell you things you don’t want to hear and you will have to bite your tongue A LOT!
Edge: Having a D+ or lower is unacceptable and missing assignments will have consequences.
Canvas: Work hard and get good grades or be average.
Compromise: Many kids choose to do the bare minimum and this will drive you crazy.
The Ultimate Test
Find ways to give them structure that allows freedom. Stop the lectures and immediately decide nagging is not good parenting. The ultimate test is asking yourself this question:
How would I react if someone treated me this way?
How would I respond if someone said this to me?
Many of us would punch someone in the face if they treated us the way we treat our kids. At very least we would respond poorly. How do expect our kids to respond when we ride them like Seabiscuit? Even a mature adult would crack under that kind of pressure. Back off! Your best intentions will be blow up in your face and your kids will rebel.