Helpful Hints

Here are some tips I have learned in this journey with my rebel:

- When your rebel is young, give your rebel the least amount of choices possible. Making choices can frustrate him and you. You make the choices for him. As he gets older, giving him choices related to chores or curriculum becomes an earned privilege and helps him learn responsibility.

- Let offenses go quickly. Don’t draw out the discipline all day. After discipline has taken place for each offense, start over in your heart and don’t hold a grudge. It’s very easy to hold a grudge, because you can become frustrated about the great amount of time the rebel is taking up in your day. His training is more important than getting that load of laundry done. Letting offenses go speaks more to your child than even the discipline. The Word of God, whether we realize it right then or not, does its work in the hearts of our children, so we must fill ourselves with it so much so that it flows out of us to them.

- When you are purposely not frustrated and have self-control of your own emotions, your child will learn more quickly how to do the same. Don’t get angry with the child; he is not the enemy. Get angry with the enemy of their souls. Keep a quiet voice; harsh words will stir up your own anger.

- Actively love the child. We tend to want to withhold blessings and affection until they are earned. Especially on hard days, find ways to bless your rebel in between flare-ups. Make him a cup of hot cocoa, or give him a hug and a back rub. Give him a high-five when you notice him doing anything positive.

- Keep track of his blood sugar level. Is he eating enough protein regularly? Limit the sweets.

- Be in unity with your spouse. Agree together on how to deal with your rebel. If your child thinks you are not in agreement, he will try to manipulate one or both of you.

- Teach these concepts regularly: small decisions reap big consequences, you reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7–8), judging others brings about the same judgment for yourself (Romans 2:1), God is merciful and gracious, longsuffering and abundant in goodness and truth (Exodus 34:6).

- Win the heart of the rebel by taking time to listen. Rather than always “preaching” at him (although there is definitely a place for that!), offer encouragement, support, and prayer. Let him know about your own struggles and how you have overcome them.

- Become a prayer warrior. Spending time with God in prayer and intercession is where I have learned most about “the fellowship of His suffering.” He knew the suffering I was going through as my heart was breaking for my child. I could feel His heart breaking for His own wayward children. I knew personally His intercession for all saints and that He, too, was praying for my child. I wouldn’t exchange that time of communion for anything this world has to offer. 

- Praying over your children day and night is essential to survival and growth. Praying with your child not only invites him into that special relationship you have with your Father, but it also models how to cast his cares upon Him and shows him that he doesn’t have to stay the way he is—that there is Someone greater than himself who can help control him when he doesn’t know how to control himself. Whenever he comes to you with a problem, pray. Your rebellious child may resist and make you feel like that’s all you ever do, but some day he will thank you for it and look back and remember it for the lasting legacy it really is.

- On those days when you feel like there is no hope, memorize and then meditate on this verse: “This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him.” (Lamentations 3:21–25)