In my last three posts, we have covered the first 4 things that often lead kids to rebellion: Our own resistance to authority, allowing passive rebellion, lack of training, and improper correction. If you missed them, you can read them here:
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Today we will be looking at the fifth and last thing on the list:
5. Failure to train in righteousness
This kind of overlaps with lack of training, discussed in a previous post, but looks at it from a different angle. There are two important aspects of training in righteousness.
The first aspect of training in righteousness, involves having our children go back and do what is right. We practice with them, and require the right responses. (This can also be considered part of character training) It’s not enough to tell our kids to stop WRONG behavior; we must also tell them what they ARE to do to replace that with RIGHT behavior.
“Trying to stop sinful habits without replacing them with righteous ones will frustrate any adult Christian, let alone a child. Anyone who goes out each day and tries simply to “not sin” is bound for failure, ie: trying to “not be angry” at your boss all day will never get the success as “pursuing love” for your boss.
Our children, in order to learn how to obey us, must understand not only what they must not do, but what they are to do. This will require us to help them plan proper responses .” –Child Training Tips by Reb Bradley
Often as parents we make the mistake of saying “stop that”, or “don’t do that”, but neglect to train in what we DO desire of our children. It’s easy to get frustrated when they act in a way that we don’t like, when in reality we have never taken the time to teach them what we want. We take that frustration out on them, just expecting that they KNEW what they were doing was wrong. That’s unfair to them, and will lead them to eventually think they can never please us, so they quit trying.
When our kids were young we took time to train them to come when we called them. They didn’t do this on their own, and we realized we had to teach them what we wanted. So we PRACTICED. We would have them go across the room, and we’d call them, and encourage them to come running to us. Then we’d praise them. We made it into a game, and with practice they learned to respond the first time we called them.
We practiced with them on how to answer the phone politely, how to behave in the grocery store, etc. It took time, but we trained them in right behavior. Left to their own sinful nature, our kids will be selfish, mean, and tell lies. Our job is to train them in what God says is right.
The 2nd aspect of training in righteousness if protecting them from wrong influences.When outside influences are controlled, our kids are free to learn our values (based on God’s Word) without hearing contradictory things that confuse them. It’s our job as parents to protect our children, while at the same time gradually preparing them for when they will be on their own.
If you totally protect them from everything, rather than gradually training them and preparing them in areas, when they leave home they are likely to just go crazy with all the freedom they have. We must teach them how to handle the internet safely, and how to set up boundaries of protection. Before they’ve been taught that, we need to protect them.
This would involve protecting them from peer pressure before they know how to stand alone on what is right. Peer pressure is very strong and real. When our kids spend too much time with their peers before they are old enough, they start to desire being with them more than us. At their point their loyalty is no longer to us, and they’re not open to our teaching. They listen to their peers instead. Much of this can be avoided if you have a good relationship with your child, and have their heart.
We’ve talked about 5 things that lead kids to rebellion. I’d like to just close this series by reminding you that the most important thing we CAN and MUST do as parents, is pray for our children! God can do a work in their heart, but we must be faithful to pray for them on a regular basis.