Teen Rebellion: Helping Your Teen Overcome This Temptation

Lisa Cherry —  August 25, 2013

Teen boy eyes 3384726149_b496eb7b8b

By Lisa Cherry

Many in our culture consider rebellion among our teenagers to be normal. In fact, some would say it is healthy.

But how do we as believers deal with the concept of adolescent rebellion when God clearly admonishes His people to obey?  (See Jeremiah 7:23 and 1 Samuel 15:22.)

After having raised some teenagers to mature adulthood, I thought I would share some of my best learning on the issue.  

1.  It is 100% true that teenagers, in order to be healthy adults, must separate from us. They must learn to think for themselves and make wise decisions.  (See Genesis 2:24.)

2. It is also 100% true that teenagers are not much different than us adults. They will not find righteousness, peace, and joy through a lifestyle of rebellion to authorities.

3. All human beings must learn to deal with the temptation to rebel. Hopefully, many of the learnings necessary to walk free of rebellion will be conquered in early childhood.

4. During the teen years, the need to be independent brings natural temptations toward rebellion. How an adolescent learns to conquer those temptations will determine his launching success into young adulthood.

5. Some kids have an easier time conquering rebellion temptations than others. Some will need years of assistance from us, their parents, until they conquer the inner battle.

6. Our homes must be structured to exemplify the biblical principle of Isaiah 1:19-20:

If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land;
but if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.

7. We teach our kids that their mature, responsible, obedient demonstrations will earn our trust and increase their freedom. We tell them this illustration:

Son/daughter, everyone in this family wants you to be promoted to higher levels of independence and responsibility. When you come through the gates that we open for you correctly, you will be led into greater fields of freedom.But when you try to sneak over the fence by rebellion, or sneak around the edges by deceit rather than coming through the gate, you will lose. Every time. You will go back to the previous level until you are willing to come through the gate appropriately.

8. The principle of logical consequences backs up the reality of #7. For instance, if a teen rebels against a household rule of when to come home with the car because they think the rule is unfair, the car keys are not available for the next trip out.

9. Encourage, encourage, encourage..... Our kids need us to recognize the reality of this difficult temptation.  Appropriately recognize their successes at conquering the selfishness of self-will. Expect and desire every moment of success they achieve.

10. Recognize that the battle for our teens’ behavior is a battle for our teens’ souls. Pray for their salvation. Pray for their relationship with the Lord. Ask Him to woo them to His side so they will learn the same obedience that Jesus learned by suffering for each of our sins. (See Hebrews 5:8.)

How have you dealt with rebellion in your teen?  I would love to hear from you.  Leave a comment here.

Image Source: LukeNotJohn under Attribution 2.0 Generic license

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Are you facing the challenge of rebellion with your teen?  We faced it head on with our daughter Kalyn, after she was tricked into a secret relationship with a sexual predator. 

It was the greatest spiritual battle of my life.  Let us tell you about it in our book, Unmask the Predators.


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