And yet, this is what our rebel has to put up with. Knowing that, we have tried to keep school time a (semi) quiet time, isolating the rebel in a quieter place to do schoolwork, and we have tried to arrange things (such as our morning routine) in a way that helps this child avoid the pitfall of distractions.

The Words of a Former Rebel: “It helped me to listen to books on tape or music (or wear an MP3 player) while doing chores. That kept me from being distracted by anything else and kept me on task. It also helped to have a chore chart to mark off the things I had done and see what else was left to do. Routine was helpful as well. Some days I try to wake up earlier and do my schoolwork when nobody is awake and then eat breakfast with my family. This allows me some quiet time. Then, while my siblings are doing school, I’m doing my chores. Then I get to play for the rest of the day!”

The establishment of simple, daily, morning routines helped lay a foundation for a successful start each day. Certain things needed to happen every day. This was our simplified routine for our rebel: Upon waking, get dressed for the day and do morning chores. Eat breakfast and then start schoolwork (no lunch until schoolwork was done). Eat lunch, and then do afternoon chores. Free time began when all else was done and checked off the list. Keeping an unchanging list that can be checked off each day by that child will give him/her a sense of accomplishment and a goal to work toward—it gives the rebel that “end in sight” that is really needed.

Bad Habits

Being consistent has a side benefit: it can help anyone, including a rebel, form good habits. Of course, bad habits also can be formed if the individual rebels consistently.

The Words of a Former Rebel: “Fighting, arguing, and rebelling became a habit, even over the simplest things. I would rebel against something as simple as sweeping the floor, and then we would go through this whole cycle of me fighting, arguing, and rebelling, leading to punishment. Then I would ask myself, ‘Why couldn’t I just have swept the dumb floor?’ It was because I had made rebellion a habit.”

Breaking bad habits comes as a result of being consistent with discipline and having the same punishment every time. A good habit I would encourage moms of rebels to have is to speak Biblically at every opportunity. When you are dealing with your rebel, speak the Word into his or her heart and ears. When we don’t know what to do, the Word of God is quick and powerful and able to divide between the soul and spirit. Pray with your rebel often! Talk about ways that he or she can handle himself or herself better.

When your rebel lacks self-control, keep telling him that he needs to put himself under God’s control. Whatever you repeat over and over will become something your rebel will remember. Isaiah 55:16–11 gives us these words of promise and truth: “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near . . . .As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. . . . My word . . . shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

Schoolwork

Simplicity is key. Studying basic core subjects with no frills helped. Realize that a child can be academically successful by simply concentrating on basic Bible, math, and language. Everything else could be introduced and learned by reading good books. If your rebel doesn’t like reading, you can read aloud while he is doing something constructive with his hands, or your rebellious child can listen to books on tape.