Parents Prayer For A Rebellious Teenager
Handling a Rebellious Teenager: 10 Practical Tips
Listen: Collett Smart chats to Emma Mullings about handling a rebellious teen.
Parenting is challenging role at the best of times—but if you have a rebellious, wayward teenager, you’ve got an especially tough gig.
Late nights make you worried and exhausted, fights and hurtful words can leave you angry or heartbroken, and self- blame may set in as you try to work out ‘what went wrong’.
Family psychologist Collett Smart offered some keys for parents to handle a rebellious teenager, but first, she said, it’s important to determine whether your teen is actually rebelling, or simply going through a normal growing up process.
Rebellion vs Normal Teen Behaviour: Know the Difference
If your teenager’s pulling away from you, disconnecting, spending most of their time away from the home, and ignoring some of their childhood boundaries, that’s quite normal behaviour, says Collett.
“They’re trying to become their own person,” she explained. “It’s actually called developmental individuation. That’s the fancy term. They want to grow independent. They don’t always want to do everything their parents do. They will say no to certain things, or sometimes flat-out refuse and push a little bit.
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“It’s not so positive when it’s happening in your kitchen or living room, but it’s normal for your teen to fight, and for you to lose some battles. It’s important to realise that your teen’s in the process of moving away from you.”
Rebellion, on the other hand, is a destructive process.
“You actually can watch your child destroying part of their lives and refusing to abide by any rules,” she said. “There’s often chaos in the relationships around the child. It’s when your teen really just flat-out refuses to follow any kind of advice or anything their parents try and reach out to them with.”
For parents in this situation, the following practical keys will help you navigate this season.
1 – Know That You Can’t Control Your Teen’s Choices
it or not, teenagers are autonomous humans who can make their own choices. It’s not your job as a parent, or even your right, to control them. It’s an important and liberating point to remember when you’re faced with a rebellious teenager.
This also means you needn’t blame yourself, or other parents, when teens go off the rails.
“We must be careful not to label ourselves as bad parents, or think, ‘look at those parents, they have a rebellious teen, they must have done something wrong’,” she said. “It’s very easy for us to become judgey.”At the same time, though, remember that many rebellious teens have reasons for their decisions. Often they feel hurt in some way.
Knowing this will help you to have some understanding and compassion in approaching them.
2 – Don’t Give Up on Your Teenager
For a frustrated parent, giving up and walking away from your child emotionally can be the easiest solution—but it’s not helpful.
“Having a rebellious child is very tiring and stressful and you can feel very angry and frustrated, but if I can just implore parents, no matter how exhausted or disappointed you are, just be the best parent you still can be to your rebellious teen,” Collett says.
By continuing to ‘be there’ for them, this will send a message that they are loved, which is the message they need the most.
3 – Look For Opportunities to Encourage and Praise
Just as parents with toddlers take every chance to praise their child for succeeding at a task, the same principle is helpful with teenagers, says Collett.
“Tell them that you love them. Find something they’re doing well.”
“Catch your teen doing something right,” she said. “Sometimes it’s very difficult when your teen is rebellious and angry. But still tell them that you love them. Find something they’re doing well. Even if it’s as basic as them happening to unpack the dishwasher that week. You might think, ‘Well they should be, that’s their chore’. But thank them.”
“And praise your teen sometimes just for effort, not for accomplishment or being the best, but just for actually having a go at something.
“Pick times when you can just love on them.”
4 – Pick Your Battles; Let Go of Some Rules
As kids grow older and push the boundaries, it’s important to relinquish a few, says Collett.
“Around age 15 or 16 you need to back off from your teen,” she said. “Lessen some of the rules. Still have a few boundaries but really pick your battles. For example for a messy room, just shut the door for a while. Some things are not game-changers and not moral issues. Let some things go.”
5 – Don’t Get Drawn Into Yelling Matches
If you let your emotions get control and yell at your teenager, you’re not actually making any progress. In fact you’re shooting yourself in the foot, says Collett.
“Young people already know when they’re doing things badly or are upsetting their parents, and their motivation is sapped when they know they’re failing,” she said. “It just becomes a downwards spiral.
So they have lower expectations of themselves and they just start to help less, and do less and become more stressed, and the survival instinct kicks in. So yelling doesn’t help.
At that point they’re actually not even hearing you.”
Instead, wait for a moment when you can talk with your teen calmly instead, says Collett.
6 – Find Neutral Territory Where You Can Talk
If an emotional explosion with your teenager is inevitable, though, taking the discussion outside the home can help.
“Find neutral territory if you can, to talk about things,” Collett suggests. “ a coffee shop or somewhere where you’re not at home.”
7 – Leave Little Wordless Gifts
While you may not feel giving anything to a teenager who is breaking all the rules and taking you for granted, there is still a place for small gifts that say ‘I still love you’.
“Even if they’re out at a party and you know that they’re getting drunk, leave their favourite biscuits or chips on their bed,” Collett says. “Just little things where you can actively consciously send little messages saying, ‘I love you, I’m still here, and I still want to chat with you’.”
8 – Keep Attending Their Events
Although a rebellious teenager won’t communicate well, stay in touch with what’s happening in their school or sporting team, and continue to go along to their special events. Even if they’re ly to ignore you, it’ll send the message that you’re still around and haven’t given up on them.
“Offer to pick them up, even if they are ly to flatly say ‘no way’,” Collett suggests. “Keep offering, keep extending that olive branch, so they know that you’re still there.”
When your teen won’t talk to you, being present in the background is an alternative way to send a message of love.
9 – Respect Their Boundaries
To a moody teenager, there’s few things worse than their parent treating them a little kid. By paying attention to their boundaries, you will communicate to your teen that you respect them and understand they are becoming an adult.
“If they say ‘I don’t want to talk’, respect that, but still keep saying ‘I’m genuinely interested in you and when you want to, I’m still here,” Collett suggests. “Even if they never actually take you up on it, they will still know that you’re still there.”
10 Look After Yourself
If you’re the frazzled parent of a rebellious teen, don’t forget to take time out for yourself. “Invest in self-care,” advises Collett.
“It’s important to have your own network, other people you can talk to, and if there’s a point where it really escalates, get help for yourself and your family. We’re quick to go to the doctor when our children’s legs are broken but we somehow don’t go for help when our family needs emotional support.”
By looking after yourself and filling your own emotional tank, you’ll be better equipped to navigate your child’s difficult teenage years much more effectively.
Top 7 Bible Verses For A Rebellious Child
Rebellion is a deliberate defiance and opposition to authority, and it often leads to confrontation and suffering.
It is especially hard for parents and families when they have a rebellious child, as their heart breaks for the poor decisions that their children are making.
Whether it is a child, a teenager or an adult child, their words and actions impact the people around them. These decisions will effect the rest of their lives, so included here in this article are my top 7 Bible verses for a rebellious child.
God’s word is so relevant in every situation, and this is so true when discussing a rebellious child.
Wise King Solomon wrote this verse describing how a child’s actions will define who he is and how he is accepted. If a young person acts with purity and an upright heart, then he will be seen as joy and a blessing.
However, if a child chooses disobedience and defiance, then he will be labeled as rebellious and difficult.
There are many reasons why a child might be oppositional and resistant to those in authority. Some of these reasons might be due to neglect, poor parenting or even abuse, and these are all tragic situations for a child to have to endure.
This verse confirms that a child should not be left to his own devices, because he cannot raise himself and he will bring shame to his mother and father.
Children need love, supervision, caring, and discipline in order to grow in favor with God and man.
The natural state of man is to sin, so there is a propensity for rebellion in each and every one of us.Solomon explains here, we all have folly bound up in our hearts as children (and even as adults), so we need discipline to push us in the right direction.
Proverbs 22:15 goes on to elaborate even more by saying, “do not withhold discipline from a rebellious child.” So correction and discipline are a necessity in correcting rebellious attitudes and actions, especially in children.
Another way to correct and counteract a defiant child is to teach them God’s word.
it says here in the book of Deuteronomy, teach your child about God and his love and his laws that are always meant for our good, as you are spending time together.
Whether walking or driving or resting at home, it is always important to share the truths of God’s word with our children, so that it becomes a part of who they are. The Lord’s truth will combat sin and rebelliousness in all of us.
Life can sometimes be very hard, as we face various trials and challenges on a daily basis. This is true for children and young people as well, so this verse reminds us all that we should always focus our lives on God and his will for us. The earlier we turn our hearts over to him, the more problems and pitfalls we are ly to avoid.
As it states at the end of this same chapter, “the end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil” (Eccl. 12:13-14).
Our actions have consequences, so the Lord encourages us to choose wisely.
I believe that this is a great verse for a rebellious child, because it shows us exactly how we can combat a defiant and disobedient heart.
When we love God with all of our heart and soul and mind and strength, there is no room left for insurrection to lift its ugly head in our lives. Focusing our attention on the Lord, will release us from the pull of sin.
The Lord is quick to forgive us our sins, when we repent and turn back to him.Finally, in order to stop a rebellious child, it is most important that they realize that obeying their parents is not only a commandment, but it is also pleasing to the Lord.
He doesn’t want to shame young people, but rather his desire is to admonish them as his beloved children (I Corinthians 4:14).
God is calling us to greater things than what the world offers, and he encourages all of us to seek wisdom and love him with all of our hearts.
Remember parents, it’s more about relationship with your child than it is about laying down the law. Following the rules is expected, but by overstating their necessity you will most ly see only an outward display while the heart has not changed.
By having a true relationship, your child’s behavior is most ly an inner, heartfelt, desire their love for you. It often seems that young people don’t realize the consequences of their decisions, so they make poor choices without regard for their future.
I heard recently that “decisions have descendants,” and I believe that this is so appropriate in this case. Rebellion and parental defiance will have negative consequences both now and in the future, and it is imperative that children realize that now before it is too late.
God loves them (and us) so much, and he wants to give us a bright hope and a future without baggage or scars to weigh us down.
Written by Karla Hawkins
God has been good to me over the years, and I have much for which to be grateful to Him. First of all, I feel blessed to be the pastor’s wife of a thriving church in northern Michigan and the mother of four amazing grown children.
It is also very rewarding to be a Christian author, editor and translator for the Kingdom of God. Some of my favorite pastimes include supporting my children’s contemporary Christian band ONLY9AM, singing on the worship team at church, traveling, and connecting with family and friends via social media.
When I am not working, I love spending time with my family and especially with my precious three-year-old grandson.