Christian Parenting and Family Resources with Biblical Principles

Help for Parents in Pain

  • Ron Clarkson
  • 2002 4 Nov
Help for Parents in Pain
Have you experienced the pain of a child living a defiant, in-your-face life? Do you know a family where there is a child who is living contrary to the values of his/her family? There are no quick cures to this situation. Certainly prayer, counseling, and the support of friends can go a long way, but waiting it out seems inevitable.

  • Don't beat yourself up. What did we do wrong? Were we too hard, - too easy? When you beat yourself up, you disqualify yourself from being a decent, respectable, honor-worthy parent. You don't have to find the answer for everything that your child does. Read Genesis 2 and 3. When Adam and Eve sinned, God lost his children. He understands what you are going through. Go to Him for comfort and counsel.

  • Keep up the farm. Read the story of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15. The father never ran after his son. He didn't threaten him, indulge him, or physically restrain him. The farm continued to operate and when the son returned, it was a functioning, efficient farm just as it had been before the son left. Keep your home, your
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    health, your relationships, and your employment intact amidst the storm. And provided you aren't a child-beating, drug-abusive, verbally assaultive tyrant, you have the right to expect behavior that is respectful, honoring to God and man, and consistent with the values and priorities your family has established.

  • Maintain integrity with your spouse. If you're going to make it, you must provide a united front for your rebellious child and for any other children in your home. The worst thing for every member of the family is to see mom and dad disagreeing about how to handle problems. Guard your marriage. Make appointments to spend time together where communication and intimacy can flow freely and naturally. If you are not intentional, your marriage will suffer - and might be destroyed.

  • Maintain integrity with your other children. Make sure your other children are not neglected. Even though the rebellious child claims much of your attention, your other children - the ones who are respectful, obedient, and reciprocal - also need your time. When you have a rebellious child, you must calculate the cost on the rest of the family, and take whatever steps are necessary to preserve your home and your relationship with your other children.

  • Maintain integrity with yourself. Do not give in to your private thoughts of hatred and bitterness, of retaliation and revenge that you harbor toward your rebellious child and anyone you perceive to have caused his/her rebellion. Otherwise you will become a victim of what you hate.

  • You can't solve your child's problems. Unless something is chemically or physically wrong with your child, you can't solve the problem. His/her rebellion isn't against you, it's against God. Probably the hardest thing is to allow your child to experience the pain of his/her wrong choices. Parents have to get out of the way and let pain do its job. Your child has to get right with God, and when that happens, then the horizontal relationship - over time and with guidance - can get in line.

  • Don't give up. Give your child and his/her problems over to God because there is not a lot you can do about it anyway. When they are ready to change, and end their trek of self-destruction, then you must be there to assist them to make those changes.

Ron Clarkson and his wife, Ann, have five children. He writes from his experience both with his own family and those he counsels. The Clarksons live in Colorado where Ron pastors Community Church of the Rockies.

Originally posted on's Live It Channel, bringing you today's best advice from Christian books.