What does the Bible say to do with a rebellious child?
Teaching children in God’s Word is crucial for all children, who must understand who God is and how to best serve Him. With the strong-willed child, understanding what motivates him—the desire for control—will go a long way to helping him find his “way.”
Ever since my 17-year-old daughter was about 11, she has been very willful and disobedient. She stays out past her curfew, not phoning if she will be late, does poorly in school, won't do chores when asked to, etc. I have enlisted the help of a counselor, whose conclusion was that my daughter was purposely trying to drive me crazy. I also had her tested to see if she had any learning disabilities and was told that she was above grade level in reading and math, but just was not motivated to do better. She has been pregnant twice. I later found out that she had gotten an abortion and had a miscarriage.
I have been praying about this situation for a long time. I have taken many suggestions and tried different ways of spending time with her. I am just tired now. I asked her to leave last week and she did. This is not the way that I wanted things to end up, I mean, she is my child. Have I failed God? I know that He has forgiven my sins and he wants me to forgive, but my daughter is unrepentant and unwilling to change.
However, it is also true that God has made children who and what they are. He loves them, and He has not left parents without resources to meet the challenge. There are biblical principles that address dealing with the rebellious, strong-willed child with grace.
First, Proverbs 22:6 tells us to “train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” For all children, the way they should go is toward God.
Parents must try not to raise their voices or raise their hands in anger or lose their tempers. This will give the strong-willed child the sense of control he/she longs for, and he/she will quickly figure out how to control you by frustrating you to the point of making you react emotionally. Physical discipline often fails with these kids because they enjoy pushing parents to the breaking point so much that they feel a little pain is a worthwhile price to pay.
More Bible verses about rebellion every Christian Should Know:
The secular world we live in today promotes rebellion. People don’t want to listen to authority. People want to be the god of their own lives. Scripture equates rebellion to witchcraft. Rebellion makes God angry. Jesus didn’t die for your sins so you can live in rebellion and spit on God’s grace.
Luke 15:11-24 ESV
And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs.
2 Timothy 3:1-4 ESV
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.
Deuteronomy 21:18-21 ESV
“If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and, though they discipline him, will not listen to them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city at the gate of the place where he lives, and they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This our son is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard.’ Then all the men of the city shall stone him to death with stones. So you shall purge the evil from your midst, and all Israel shall hear, and fear.
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