How Do You Deal With A Rebellious Child?

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But when he came to himself he said, “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough to spare, and I’m dying with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and will tell him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight. I am no more worthy to be called your son. Make me as one of your hired servants.'”

He arose, and came to his father. But while he was still far off, his father saw him, and was moved with compassion, and ran towards him, and fell on his neck, and kissed him.

— Luke 15:17–20, World English Bible

The odds for someone having a Rebellious child are very high, if you have any children at all. I believe that most parents don’t set out to hurt or harm their children. I know without a doubt that my mother loved me, she showed it in many ways in my fifty eight years, and she never gave up on me. 

My experience, strength, and hope has taught me what does NOT work. I was the Rebellious child. I did not want anyone telling me what to do, or running my life. My mother did the best that she knew how to do at the time. I hope that my experience can help someone, if only one. 

In the sixties, parents were taught that if you “spare the rod” then you will “spoil” the child. So, my mother went overboard and God bless her, she tried to teach me right, and make me mind. She did not realize that the more she shamed me and beat me, the more she hurt me not just physically but mentally too. I grew more angry, depressed, and stubborn and I escaped my pain through my addictions. It was inevitable that I would grow up with some kind of addiction. I spent twenty years in my addictions, and miserable and depressed. 

My mother and I had a wonderful relationship the last six years of her life. She never gave up on me, she just learned to not “enable” me, but she was always there when I needed her. She lived with us and we traveled together and became very good friends. We each benefited from my twelve step program. She learned to not try to control me, and I learned the same. I learned to “let go” of the past, and love her unconditionally, because that is what I needed from her. I had to learn to accept that she was in her eighties and that she was not going to change, but she was my mother and I did not care and wanted to be with her anyway. I really ache for those that missed out on time with their loved ones because of hanging onto “resentments”. Enough about me for now. Now, for the solution. 

My advice on the other side of the fence, is that I was the Rebellious child like is written about in the Bible. It is written about the “prodigal son” but it also applies to the prodigal daughters too! I was the “prodigal daughter”. I know that praying continually and unceasingly is the number one answer. But…next and just as important is to take the right actions. NOT enabling our children is very important. Mother never gave up on me, but she did not enable me. I am so happy that she did not. I am the wonderful woman that I am today because of God, the twelve steps, and her.

Many parents “enable” their children out of love…but it is NOT good for them or you. If mother had continued to “enable” me…then I would have had no reason to ever grow up or become responsible for myself.

I know that are some parents that are so needy, and so desperate for love, that they allow their children to “use” and “abuse” them.

Thank God, my mother was NOT like that. She was a strong, and independent woman. She wanted me to be independent and to be happy. Today, by God’s grace and my wonderful mother, I AM grown up, responsible, and I am happy. 

I know some people that have mothers that are so needy and have suffered abuse and addictions from their own parents, that they allow their children to “use” and “abuse” them. They think that they are helping them, they are NOT. If you do NOT want your children to grow up or be “healthy” and become responsible for themselves, then just keep doing what you have been doing. If you want something different, then you must do something different. Parenthood is NOT for sissies!