Preventing Rebellious and Broken Children

Preventing Rebellious and Broken Children

On the “Happiness Hour” that Dennis Prager has every week, recently he asked the question, “If you have a rebellious or broken child who is an adult, looking back, is there anything you would have done differently?” One woman called in and said she would have been careful to not allow her daughter to hang out with the wrong crowd but since she was a single mother who worked full time, she didn’t feel she could do anything about it. Her daughter got pregnant at 14 years old and has lived on government assistant since then. She is now 40 years old, unmarried, and with three children from different fathers. This woman has no relationship with her daughter anymore.

My youngest daughter wanted to go to the public junior high. I told her before we sent her that if she began to hang out with wrong friends, she would be pulled out and homeschooled immediately. Within two months, she was home with me. She is 31 year old, married, and has three children with her husband. My daughter and I are best friends. Don’t be afraid of keeping your children from harmful friendships. It’s for their protection and good.

Bad company corrupts good morals, the Bible tells us. We are to walk with the wise. “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed” (Proverbs 13:20). “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord” (2 Corinthians 6:17). Children are easily influenced. They must be protected from bad influences whether from TV, music, movies, and friends. Don’t allow your children to hang out with fools, nor allow them to be entertained by fools.

Many children who are being raised in Christian homes are walking away from their faith after being saturated with the Marxist Feminism that is being taught in the public schools and universities today. Wake up, parents! Your children’s eternal souls are in danger. Satan’s goal is to steal, kill, and destroy. God’s will is for YOU to raise your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. He gave this responsibility to no one else.

Another caller mentioned that she was consistently demeaning her husband and his authority in front of the children. In hindsight, she saw how destructive this was on her children. Even Dennis Prager, who isn’t a Christian, stated that it’s an obvious fact that the man is the head of his household and deserves respect for this fact alone. Children know this instinctively. They know their father is bigger, stronger, faster, and has a lower voice than their mothers. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this out no matter how much women want to protest this. Never demean your husband in front of your children or anyone else for that matter. This is not only humiliating to him but to everyone who sees it happen. Divorce greatly damages children too.

Children need to be protected and modeled godliness. In this world, they will be modeled the complete opposite. God gave children to parents for a reason. He wants the parents to raise godly offspring. Yes, it’s a lot of hard work and sacrifice, but it’s completely worth it and there’s NOTHING more important that you could be doing than raising the next generation of Christians.

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.
3 John 4

38 thoughts on “Preventing Rebellious and Broken Children

  1. Great post! I’d add the importance of teaching girls skills they’ll need in marriage while they’re still young, so as to prevent broken/rebellious wives in future.

    My own daughters have been helping in the kitchen since they were 5, and help serve dinner each night, and clear the table after. Good to get them in these habits early, don’t you think?

  2. My parents did not allow me to date boys whose parents were divorced. I didn’t like this rule when I was dating, but I appreciate it now.

  3. Thank you so much for your post! We pulled our children out of public school for this school year and my daughter was quite upset with us (6th grade). I just keep reminding myself that God’s design includes me as the primary influence, not ungodly friends and systems. It isn’t about making my daughter happy. My priority is that my children know Christ. I’m praying this will yield faithfulness long term. I’ll be needing to stay firm when they ask to go back to public school.

    Thanks again for the encouragement!

  4. My grandma used to say, “If you are doing what you ought to be doing, you won’t have time to do what you shouldn’t be doing. ” So true! Keeping them busy at a young age learning and doing homemaking skills is definitely the right way to go. Make it fun so they won’t want so much screen time. Also having skills will save them so much money in the future. My 17 yr old is learning how to get rid of popcorn ceilings and replace them with new. We are also beginning embroidery. Evening hours can be so special. Accomplishment brings the right kind of self esteem and keeps them from wanting to waste time hanging out with the wrong friends.

  5. Dear Lori, this post relates to something I’ve been thinking about lately. We have 4 children and we homeschool. Our 2 boys are pre-school age. We are involved in AWANA and church events. My husband has been hinting around lately that he would like to get our boys involved in organized sports, and asked my opinion. I told him that I am against organized sports; I think it is foolish to spend so much time and money on such a thing. I fear the kids may be negatively influenced by others on the team. And I feel that many parents become too pushy because they want the next big sports star. However, my husband thinks sports are a good idea. He is a great father and I know I am to submit to him as his wife. I am unsure as to what to do next. I would be very grateful for any advice from you, Ken, or any of the other Christian parents out there. Thank you so much.

  6. Hi Lori! I would love some advice on how you handled picky eaters when your kids were young. My husband and I are so fortunate and our 3 children are not picky at all and we have been even more blessed that they have not succumbed to what I call “peer pressure picky” (when kids influence other kids on their eating habits). We love to make extravagant meals and my children are willing to try anything. We love to cook as a family as an activity and a way to teach our kids About healthy eating, adventure, trying new things responsibility, understanding consciousness around the kitchen (stove, knives, etc). However I am in desperate need of help when it comes to my children’s friends. A few are so picky they only eat a few (mostly microwaveable) things. My kids very rarely eat microwaved food and don’t really enjoy it. What kinds of foods have you found help picky young children? Do I speak to their parents? Is this something that they will grow out of soon? These are all wonderful families in our community but I’m not sure how to address this.

  7. My mom started homeschooling my siblings and I when I started 7th grade. I was angry as well. Her rationale was not clear to me and honestly I did not believe she was all that invested in me prior to this so I was not keen on being home with her all day.

    We fought frequently and she would threaten to send me back to a private/public school, which of course I wanted at the time. I was not respectful in my attitude, which I own. I also believe that I had a right to not like it (for example, my mom worked part time so half the time I was in charge of my own schooling) but if I voiced dislike I was told I was ungrateful. I am a strong believer in differentiating between gratitude and dislike. I can be grateful for a meal and prefer other meals over the one I’m eating, etc.

    I encourage you to be open with your adolescent about your decision AND be open to their reaction. Maybe even helping them voice a reaction you don’t like, in a respectful way.

    Despite how much I hated homeschooling, I plan to homeschool my own kids. I hope that gives you hope!

  8. Yes, I look around the church and see so many parents with adult children who they lost to the world. Whenever possible or appropriate I ask these parents what they would have done differently. Bad company is at the top of the list. I was just talking with two women who raised children (now all adults) during the same time period and both in 3x a week church. The first homeschooled all her biological children but when they adopted older children those continued at the public school. All of her biological children and the youngest adopted child love the Lord. They were kept from bad company and predators (the two that fell away were adopted out of single mother situations where they weren’t protected and they were molested and exposed to bad things).

    The second woman has lost all three of her adult children to the world (although we pray they return). Two are partnered with atheists and have children by them. We think hanging out with atheists is fine because they seem nice and reasonable. “No problem listening to humanists as children”. “They’re just all kids, no big deal, right?” Well I can tell you it’s a gamble!

    We all know that people make up their own minds but we fail to guard our children’s minds from the garbage schools and peers constantly throw in it. That’s a lot to contend with. We’re handicapping our children when we fail in this area. Then we wonder why they aren’t crossing the finish line.

    When the woman with the believing children answered why she thought her children were walking with the Lord, she said they homeschooled them and they had nightly Bible studies together. The woman with the kids who fell away then bemoaned the fact that they usually watched television at night without the Bible studies.

    Both of these families are “good” families who weren’t users abusers and are pleasant to be around. The reality is that we are in a spiritual battle and those generals who spend more time equipping their soldiers and honing their troops skills with the sword and protect them until they are equipped to win have much better outcomes than those who send their soldiers out with very little training.

  9. One of my sons had a friend who only ate white bread and few other things which we had none of. He just didn’t eat when he came to our home. Sometimes, he would bring his own food. Most kids don’t like what we eat. One family in the neighborhood, however, loves our food. I think the mother must feed her children healthy food. Another one does not but I can usually find something she likes!

  10. You should submit to your husband’s leadership.

    At their young age, there’s a fair amount of parent involvement within the participation of team sports.

    However, within the last year, there was a concerned parent who commented with a dilemma of locker room choices regarding technology usage, so be careful as they get older.

    I would assume it will also depend on what league they join.

    If you believe homeschooling your children from 8-2:30 when public school students are in class but then allowing them to socialize on the field, in the locker room, and in travel to games isn’t going to have an impact, think again.

    I am a Christian parent who has numerous children in our local public school. They are all walking with the Lord, and I hear stories of the negative influence of student athletes from their friends (my older children are in music & dance), so use caution.

  11. Our daughter married a wonderful young man at 20 years old whose parents are divorced, (best friend but still divorced) and it has made them more than determined to work at their marriage than most and they have been married 16 years this year where as other friends who followed the rule of not marrying into a divorced family have split and gone on to divorce – so very sad!?In fact quite a few of them.?

    I think it is how much the couple put God first in their marriage and how much they love and respect their marriage and eachother than anything else.

    Love and Blessings.

  12. If you’re attempting to provide hospitality to your neighborhood children, yes, speak to their parents and ask them what their children enjoy eating. Strike a balance between their preferences and your family’s menu. You may introduce them to something they’ve never tried and may like.

  13. Yes, I agree. I have heard some young men say they were introduced to porn by their teammates and with smart phones being in every kid’s hand, they can easily be exposed to it yet this must be the husband’s decision.

  14. Love this! I’m married to my 2nd husband, my first marriage should have never happened, but it did and we both grew from it. I’d be sad (actually heartbroken) if my daughter (a product of my 2nd marriage) was considered “unsuitable” because of my divorce. I don’t think she should be punished for a mistake I made many, many years ago.

  15. Children are punished for the mistake (divorce) parents make, Lake. All the studies prove that children of divorced parents suffer greatly and this is why God hates divorce. Of course, these children can be transformed by God and go on to have great marriages but many of them never do, thus the large divorce rate and many young couples refusing to marry due to the harm that divorce caused them.

  16. Good for your daughter and her husband, Jilly!
    Why should young adults write off their Christian peers as candidates for dating/marriage due to their parents’ decision to divorce?
    At an age of understanding and accountability everyone must make a personal decision to accept Jesus as their Savior.
    It stands to reason that then as adults, the Bible will be the authority in all aspects of their marriage, including the subject of divorce. A believer’s parents’ marriage failure should not dismiss THEIR ability to marry for life.
    If I had a choice between my child marrying an authentic Christ-follower from a broken home and a lukewarm Christian from an intact family, I’d choose the former. My husband and I would pour ourselves into their new family as much as allowed, hopefully giving our in-law an example of a biblical marriage, and most importantly, pray fervently for their relationship.
    I’m not suggesting that a child’s upbringing and their parent’s relationship isn’t important to their development. I believe that God is bigger than ANY obstacle a child may face in their home.
    There are too many Christians out there wanting guaranteed formulas for their children’s Salvation and earthly happiness, which actually don’t necessarily co-exist in a fallen world.
    I agree with Jilly’s final sentence in her comment-beautifully articulated!

  17. Much wisdom in this article. I will say, however, that home schooling vs public schooling vs private schooling is really not the issue. I realize we disagree on this, but my kids have had excellent experiences in public schools, although it required my wife and I to be heavily involved with the teachers (many of whom were Christians). I also have friends who invested in their kids lives through home schooling, only to see them turn from the church. I have also seen both instances where the children turned from the Christian Faith, yet their parents continued to pray and God caused their children to have a stronger faith in the end (based on God’s grace, not the strength of the parent’s faith). My point is, whether you home school or not, keep putting your children before the throne of God, praying diligently for them. There is much power in prayer. I believe the prayers of my own parents, because of God’s grace, changed my life in amazing ways.

  18. As a non parent, but former latchkey kid, my advice is to be home with them. When I worked in juvenile probation, most kids got picked up for crime/problems between 3-6pm. Yup. That *small* window of time between school letting out and parents getting home from work. Most parents don’t consider that as leaving their kids unattended for a long period of time, but it’s plenty of time for every activity that can ruin the life of a child. Know where your child is at all times. Know every one of their friends. Don’t assume anything. Ask.

  19. You are right, K, but your husband is the leader.

    Organized sports have done nothing for America or the church at all, and have been severe detriments, leading to an idolatrous society.

    They make men effeminate and idle, as all the men watching sports games are not doing other, more important things, like learning the Bible, history, or getting involved in their families, and politics. It’s no coincidence that 95% of the teams in MLB, NFL, and NBA are all in Democrat ratholes. While the men are paying attention to professional sports, the logical outcome of organized sports, their cities are falling apart.

    Boys should know the Bible, the Constitution, history, Civics, reading, and math. Organized sports is hardly enlightening and uplifting, and it also interferes with the women raising children, as they are exposed to dangerous influences when they are involved in sports.

  20. The news is always rife with tales of sexual assault, hazing, mistreatment of women that have to do with organized sports. Even regular “locker room” talk is very vulgar and references pornography and sodomy.

    Then there is the cost of “club sports,” money which could be going to the church, charity, or missionaries.

    Perhaps a neighborhood rec league would be the best option, or a Christian sports association? Even then I would be leery. Perhaps your husband can be the coach or volunteer at practices, so that he can monitor your boys and the team.

  21. God says children are a blessing and He tells us to raise them in the Lord. Raising and teaching is the parents responsibility. We are to protect them from ungodly influence. The scriptures say that we are not to spare the rod if needed and not to exasperate them. These are the means we use, but we do not trust in the means we trust in Christ. Remember Cain killed Able. Cain didn’t have the horrible influences our children have. He had Adam for his dad and he could hear about how wonderful it was before the fall. Enoch was 65 before he walked with God and King David (a man after God’s own heart) his children didn’t do very well. Jacobs sons sold their brother as a slave. And it goes on. I Know several Adults who are Christian that had no Christian upbringing at all and I know many who had beautiful Christian families but not all their children follow Christ. I have two grown children that follow Christ and one that I am praying for daily. We brought her up in a loving Christian home, Christian education, loving discipline, Church and still she is estranged from us all. My trust is in the one who saved me and He does all things well. Use the means he gave us but trust in the Savior.

  22. Parents have a HUGE responsibility on how they raise their children, Tracy, or else God wouldn’t have given them the command to raise their children in the nurture and the admonition of the Lord and tell us that the purpose for marriage is to raise godly offspring. He gave us many instructions in His Word on how to raise them so we must obey them. I know too many Christian families who raised all godly children to say otherwise. Yes, sometimes, one will rebel and this is that child’s own choice but it shouldn’t be common among believers in Jesus Christ.

  23. We live in a suburb of Los Angeles, in a townhome with a postage stamp-sized yard space, and I am not sure my kids would get the physical fitness their bodies require without organized sports and dance. I have a friend who lives on a few acres in Texas and they have horses, a cow, chickens and goats. Her children get plenty of exercise in that environment.

  24. Dear Lori, I had what seemed to be a normal family until my parents got divorced. Thankfully I was fostered by a Christian couple. Having said that. I did suffer because of my parents divorce. Even with the love and good example of my Christian foster family, I had all kinds of problems. Even when I became a Christian myself I still had lots of problems. It took me years to learn the right way to live, I was 45 before I got married. I can honestly say, if I’d married earlier I would probably have ended up divorced. This comment you made is very true. “All the studies prove that children of divorced parents suffer greatly and this is why God hates divorce.”

  25. Yes Lori, I am in complete agreement with you. Proverbs 22:6 and many other scriptures commands us and us to train them up in the Lord. It is a huge job that we should do upon our knees (prayer). I didn’t make my other point very clear and I apologise. What I was trying to say is that we definitely raise our children wisely in the fear of the Lord, but we place our trust not in the means but in God. Moses after he was weaned was brought up in a idolatrous Egyptian home, and God raised Him up for Himself to live mightily in the Lord. So for some Christian parents who believe they have raised their children up rightly and at present are not seeing the fruit of their labor (and saying, but I did it right) the encouragement comes for them in Trust in the Lord. Another example is we are called to use the “means of preaching the gospel” but it is the Lord who saves.

  26. Exactly, Tracy. Wise parents will pray without ceasing for their children to independently accept His gift of salvation and realize that it is an individual choice of responding to their call by God to be a Christ-follower. I do not want to fall into the trap of assumed conversion of my children simply because they were raised in a Christian home. At some point, they will be out in the world, and their faith and beliefs will be tested. We live in a fallen world with every soul having free will-it’s a tough reality to grasp from the first moment we gaze upon each beautiful newborn baby that God had blessed us with to raise. In acknowledging that truth, we must fear and trust the Lord with their lives and hearts.

    William P. Farley, a retired pastor/church planter wrote “Gospel-Powered Parenting (How the Gospel Shapes and Transforms Parenting), and I highly recommend it.

    Debby in Kansas, so true and thank you for your advice coming from professional experience. My children are all school-age and I remain at home. Working during their school hours still meant fatigue and mental connection to my very part-time job, even when I was home. My focus can now be on my husband and children consistently. They know I’m waiting for their return each day, and I can be physically and emotionally present for them late afternoon and during the evening, which at time gets late with high schoolers and their course load. I stay up with them. At times, my older kids think I’m TOO available with all my inquiries and “teachable moment” discussions, but that’s fine by me! ?

  27. Small town or rural public schools might be OK still today, sometimes. No personal experience with that, though, so couldn’t say, but I’ve heard a similar testimonial to yours.

    Private schools can be cripplingly expensive, but there are a lot of tuition organizations and work/study situations. The average family cannot afford the full tuition for a private school. The school my children are attending for this school year (where I taught until Christmas) has almost 90% of the student body on either full or partial scholarships.

  28. I’ll Tell You What! You absolutely Rock with these blog posts. My wife and I are at a Teen Challenge (12-18 year old rebellious boys) program as parents-in-Residence.

    That said, you are the ‘New radical’. The new ‘Counter-cultural’. The new Anti-60’s, 70’s voice.

    Encouraging woman (and men) to walk in the ‘ways of the Lord’ is so piercing! Yes, unto the dividing of soul and spirit, joints and marrow!

    Bravo! For the encouragement to both men and woman to walk in His ways! Bravo for facing head-on the ridicule and scoffing of our Laodicean age. Not just the culture, but the church itself. Bravo for the clarity and voice God has given you.

    Count me as a fan.

  29. Hi K,
    Have you looked into homeschool sports associations? I homeschool my children, but we attend a weekly Christian Co-Op part of the year, and that’s where I found out about ours, although it’s open to any homeschooling family in the state (NJ). The association is a statewide, volunteer-run organization that offers all kinds of sports leagues for homeschooled children (track, softball, golf, tennis, soccer, you name it). Right now my kids are rather young and have only dabbled in the weekly soccer practices/games during the fall, but I like that they have a chance to run around and exercise with other homeschooled kids, learn teamwork, and have some fun with no big pressure. It also gives homeschool parents a chance to connect. Just a thought, if it’s something you are led to looking into, maybe try researching your area or talk to other local homeschool families – or maybe even start your own volunteer league if you feel so moved! Best of luck and God bless you and your family.

  30. If I had it to do over, I would either home school or put our sons in a Christian school. My spouse opposed this idea, but now as they are grown it is easy for both of us to see just how much their public education influenced their worldview, values, and religious beliefs.Sunday church and Wednesday night bible study was not enough. Both have turned away from their faith, and I pray that they will find their way home to the Lord. I would also have served healthy, home cooked meals from day one. As a young mother, I took too many shortcuts and allowed some bad habits to develop. I let my kids drink soda instead of milk, eat fast food, eat too many sugary snacks. Now two family members are obese and experiencing the health issues that come with it, but continue to eat a fast food diet or processed food instead of the healthy meals I make. I wish I had focused more on our home life instead of taking a part-time job when they were small and then going back for a degree when they were older. I wasted valuable time and energy proving that I wasn’t lazy or a parasite by taking a job to do my part. If I had it to do over, I would have been more intentional in my marriage, parenting, faith, and home life from day one. You can’t get the years back, so please learn from my example and start with the end goal in mind. I keep my children in my heart, pray for them, and hope that they will open their hearts.

  31. Thank you for sharing, Kande. This is why God commands older women to teach young women so they don’t make these same mistakes. May the Lord use your past to encourage and exhort young women to not make the same mistakes. He uses our messes for our message!

  32. I encourage the younger women in my life. I speak to their value as wives and mothers, the rich gift their families receive from them as wives and mothers. I babysit to give them a break or go on a date with their husband. I am working with a close friend who struggles with her weight and is trying to get healthy for herself and her family. We exercise together, share meals, and I encourage her not to let small set-backs keep her from her goal. I listen to their problems and try to offer guidance when they are struggling as wives and mothers ( I lean heavily on the advice of my two grandmothers who both had 50 years of happy, Christian marriages and counseled me well as a young wife and mother).

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