In the world of psychology there exists a law called the Law of Reinforcement: Behavior which achieves desirable consequences will recur. I think we’d all agree that rebellious behavior is NOT something that we want to occur in our children, so we have to begin with the question,” Is there a desirable consequence my child receives when he disobeys? Is there a reward for their rebellion that leads them to continue rebelling?”
In James Dobson’s Dare to Discipline he says, “If you can’t make a five-year-old pick up his toys, it is unlikely you will exercise much control during his most defiant time of life.” However, it’s been proven that harsh, unloving and critical parenting can drive a child to rebellion. So how do we walk the fine line of making our child do what they should without ruling with an iron fist?
The answer lies in how the Lord disciplines us. Take the time to ask yourself how the Lord has disciplined you. Has he been patient? Has he been forgiving? At times has he allowed you to suffer the consequences of your sin?
Hebrews 12:10-11 says God’s point in discipline is holiness. So shall our discipline be for our children. “For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
As you handle defiance and rebellion in your child, here are a few quick reminders:
- Be decisive. Land on a consequence and enact it upon rebellion.
- Give them the appropriate amount of power. It’s OK to decide what clothes to wear as long as they’re acceptable to school, and you don’t get sick wearing shorts in the snow.
- BE PATIENT AND BE CONSISTENT.
- Figure out the root of rebellion, the why behind the behavior.
- Keeping your cool is just as important as consistency.