Note: Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase an item, I will receive a commission at no additional cost to you. More details are here.

There’s nothing quite like starting out your homeschool day with a child who refuses to do his schoolwork.  Or one who moans and complains when you ask him to help out with some extra chores.  Or even one who gets angry with you shortly after you have just done something extra nice for him.  Having a rebellious child, at any age, is difficult.

Parenting a Rebellious Child

When our kids are young and they are rebellious, that is hard enough.  But as they get older, if they rebel against you or against God’s moral code, then it is beyond heartbreaking.

I know we’ve dealt with rebellion in our house.  I don’t often think of it using those terms, however.  I usually see it more as having strong willed sons.  And since my husband and I are also pretty strong willed, I figure my boys came by it honestly.

But it is exhausting to deal with a child who doesn’t simply obey you but feels the need to question everything!


I recently discovered a wonderful book called The Importance of Winning Your Child’s Heart by Kathie Morrissey in which she states that rebellion doesn’t have to be something that we allow in our children.  She says that our kids all have spiritual battles going on in their hearts but that there are ways to help our children overcome this battle rather than them simply giving in to their rebellious spirit.

I was given this product for free, but all of my opinions are honest and I was not required to write a positive review.

Kathie Morrissey has eight children and six grandchildren.  She has been married for 37 years and has been homeschooling for 31 of them.  She is a wealth of information and enjoys sharing that treasure with parents who are in the trenches raising their own children.

In her book, Kathie says that if we don’t require our children to obey us or speak respectfully to us, then they usually won’t.  Admittedly, this is a much easier task with some kids than with others.  Some kids are much more naturally compliant. And others seem like they were born to battle.  But Kathie points out that even when our kids are merely rolling their eyes, sighing, whining, or pulling away from us, these are signs of passive rebellion.

We are all sinners in need of a savior!

Am I The Problem?

Sometimes our kids nurture the rebellion in their hearts because they are modeling our behavior.  Does your husband come home from the office and complain about his boss?  Do you allow your children to do things you know your husband wouldn’t approve of when he isn’t home?  Do you often argue with the leadership of your church or find ways to nitpick things your in-laws have said or done?

When our kids see us acting this way, it can fuel the fires of their own rebellious spirits.


Teenagers and Rebellion

As our kids become older, we also need to work on transitioning our relationships with them.  Kathie says that when our children are young, parents are in control of pretty much everything in their lives.  We can give our children some choices – but they are all parent-approved options.  As they get a little bit older, we should be helping them to become self-controlled.  And as they reach the teen years, we need to guide them to live God-controlled lives.

Sometimes our teenagers are rebellious because they haven’t learned to be self-controlled.  But another sure way of breeding rebellion in the hearts of our teens is to continue to be a controlling parent.  I know I struggle with this one.  There are days when I allow my teenage boys to make decisions.  But then there are times when I see them making a mistake and I begin trying to pull them back under my control.

Kathie says that there are 7 things we should do to successfully parent a teenager:

  1. Teach them how to make decisions
  2. Teach them responsibility
  3. Teach them self-control
  4. Teach them to have wise counselors
  5. Listen to them when they come to you
  6. Don’t stress out when you fear they are making wrong choices
  7. Encourage them when they do mess up

Our kids are going to mess up sometimes.  That’s one vivid way for them to learn.  We take the positive aspect of the experience away from them when we are hovering over them, making decisions for them, or trying to keep them from making mistakes.


So What Do I Do Now?

Alright, so you’ve determined that your child is rebellious – and you may have even decided that some of the ways you’ve parented that child have contributed to their rebellion.  Is there anything you can do to fix your relationship?

Fortunately, there is.  In The Importance of Winning Your Child’s Heart, Kathie talks about ways to parent a prodigal child, ways to keep from pushing our kids away from us, things that parents learn from having a rebellious child, ways to pray for these kids, and more!

Kathie book is packed full of practical advice for parents who don’t know where to turn.  

Having a child who is in full-on rebellion can often be a lonely road because parents can feel too embarrassed or afraid to open up to others… or to ask for advice.  Kathie gets right to the point (59 pages) sharing tips for how to best raise these kids – so even if you don’t have much time to read, you can glean her godly advice quickly!

Our kids are our legacy!  They are a gift from God and they are merely on loan to us.  God has entrusted them to us to raise for Him.  We need to do whatever we can to teach them to walk in God’s ways.

wh-bookThe Importance of Winning Your Child’s Heart is filled with encouragement as well.  You are not alone!  And there is hope!

If you’d like to find out more, or are interested in purchasing this book, you can do so on Kathie’s website.

The Importance of Winning Your Child’s Heart is in ebook format and it is only $8.99!

Being a parent has helped me to grow tremendously in my walk with Christ.  Even though it can be exhausting to raise strong-willed children, I have to say that having these boys has been a true gift. They have helped me to better recognize my own behavior when I’m rebellious toward God – or am constantly questioning the things He’s asking me to walk through.  And that is priceless!


Parenting a Rebellious Child

Like these parenting tips? Please pin it for later!