Working Out Your Own Faith

Our family recently had the opportunity to visit with friends at their daughter’s birthday party. The kids had a blast, we ate some good food, and we were able to catch up on recent happenings. When we left, instead of walking away feeling refreshed and encouraged, I found myself thoughtful and frustrated.

During our short visit, the father expressed to my husband that we ought to enjoy these young years while they last. His reasoning? Once our kids hit the teen years, we would lose our children to the world and they would rebel.

He explained that all children need to work out their own faith and go through their own gospel experience. (Translation in my mind: they will through hard/bad things and THEN they will truly understand their faith.)

While I believe his heart was in the right place, he truly was meaning to impart wisdom, I believe him to be wrong. Do all children need to accept God on their own? YES! While it might sound like a cliche; God does not have any grandchildren. We don’t piggyback on our parent’s faith; we need to have our own. What I do not believe is that all children need to go through a hard, rebellious stage before accepting Christ as Savior.

I believe his children went, and are, going through a difficult stage. They used to be homeschooled and are now being exposed to the public school system. (This is not to say the public school system alone is responsible for their recent decline, but it sure does contribute.) The new friends and circumstances are having a greater influence in their lives than the parents would like. Their children are behaving in a manner that displeases the parents and, therefore, the parents surmise that all children will go through this stage, no matter what the parents say and do.

While there are no foolproof ways to keep our children from rebelling, there are steps we can take which help them make the right choices. Not all children go through this stage.

So, how do we go about preventing rebellion? I honestly think it all boils down to relationships. When our children know we love them more than anything and all our choices surround this fact, they are less likely to rebel. When our children love us in return, they will do everything in their power to please us and bring us joy.

The key to squashing rebellion is love. We ought to be loving on our kids constantly and allowing them to love on us. We ought to have open communication, with lots of talks about why things get done. When we love on our kids to this extent, we know who their friends are and their friends’ families. We know who is offering influence and we curb those choices; explaining them to our kids and why.

Incidentally, love is not casual permissiveness. (Meaning, we don’t just give them what they want.) Love sometimes means correction, discipline, and consequences.

I believe that when our children see the love that is evident in our relationships with God, in our marriages, and for them, they will naturally want to please us. This love also opens doors for how they view God.

Through our conversations, our actions, and our affection, our children see faith in action. They will see the blessings that come with a life lived for Him. They will see the distinction between those who rebel and those who obey. Our children will naturally come to their faith and without ever having to experience a tragic testimony.

Does this mean our children are perfect? Heavens, no. Truthfully, we aren’t perfected yet so why would be expect this of them? What this does mean, is that they will not willfully go out and hurt themselves, us, or God. While they might make mistakes, they are not doing so out of mutinous emotion.

I can always tell when I am failing to love on my children as much as I ought. Our children question my authority, they act out, and they have a hard time controlling their own emotions. This is a wake up call for me. I have somehow dropped the ball and need to bring things back into perspective. Once I get things back into focus, our children naturally resume their loving nature. The problem is usually me!

If I learned one thing from that afternoon with our friends, it was this… unless I want my child to contribute to this statistic, I need to be active about preventing it. I have a choice. I can allow this to happen or I can strive to prevent it. The only way I can see that happening is through strong doses of love.

When our children see our love for them and there is a mutual love for us, we can overcome most any obstacle.

Do you know a family whose children have yet to rebel? What do you think was the key to their success?


18 thoughts on “Working Out Your Own Faith

  1. Rebellion comes in a lot of different forms and I believe children need to pull away from their parents at some point and determine what they believe for themselves. Even the Amish recoginize this and allow them time to do so before making their decision. Does rebellion have to look the same in each case and be something we as parents fear? Not hardly! Coming from the mother of a 27,22, almost 18 and 13 year old. I know of wihIch I speak and my children did got to public school.


    • I think there is a difference between making their own decisions and being rebellious. I expect my children to start having differing viewpoints on certain topics, I expect them to discover certain truths for themselves; I just don’t think all children go through a disrespectful, hurtful stage where they completely disregard their parents.


      • Some children need more separation and room than others, so you are very right there! Being disrepectful and unkind is an entirely diffrerent issue. Autonomy does not mean being mean even though they do go through a stage where they think they know everything and we know nothing…


  2. “We ought to have open communication, with lots of talks about why things get done. When we love on our kids to this extent, we know who their friends are and their friends’ families. We know who is offering influence and we curb those choices; explaining them to our kids and why.”

    I like this part of your post. This is so very important. Our two children know this is always what we will do as long as they are in our home. It’s interesting also that they have a couple of friends who supposedly come from a Christian home, and have always been homeschooled, yet these two kids rebel inwardly and hide things from their parents all the time. They talk about their parents disrespectfully to their friends. So perhaps these parents aren’t doing something they could be doing better; but I still think that these kids are responsible for their own choices always, as we all are, especially in the teen years. But I do agree that not ALL teens will automatically go through an outward stage of rebellion against their parents. I know lots of Christian families who have been successful with their children avoiding this. Communication and prayer go hand in hand.


  3. Relationship truly is key. I went to public school but my Dad sheltered me (in a good way) during my teen years when he became a minister. Sometimes this upset me but we were super close. I was the only teen girl that held her Dad’s hand while walking to the parking lot. We went everywhere together. We read books together. We didn’t have t.v. but we listened to the radio together and went to movies together.

    My friends liked to sleep over at my place and hear my Dad’s stories. He went on church trips with us and went to youth group meetings. He was super involved those last years (before he got right with God it was a different story). My mom let me get away with more (they were divorced) but we also had a close relationship. I knew they loved me and I knew I could be honest with them. I was not the perfect child. I had moments of rebellion you could say but they were small and nipped in the bud quick. I graduated a virgin and with no drug use. So with God’s help I think my parents did good :).

    I knew a few homeschool families back then. One family’s kids were in community drama and sports so public schoolers knew them. They went to public school the last years of Highschool and they did well. Another family put their son in public Highschool his senior year and he got in a bad group. Some of his friends from church were that bad influence too. They were in public school. I think in his case he was a big people pleaser with little confidence. I think his parents should’ve built his confidence before sending him to the wolves. He was just too vulnerable and immature as a teen. Every teen matures different and some kids are people pleasers and others aren’t.

    There was a homeschool couple that completely went to the dark side after they had premarital sex. The girl miscarried their baby. They were virgins before. That one experience messed them up for years and the boy is still against God today. They both got into deeper sexual sins after. It was sad to see their downfall. Simple boundaries and courtship rules would’ve prevented the whole thing.

    So I think a mixture of strong love and togetherness plus boundaries works well. A teen will except strict rules easier if it’s obvious you love them. Also less electronics…..there should be a limit. The internet is a dangerous place and parents should monitor their kids. I think most teens aren’t mature enough for Facebook. It depends on the kid. A parent that’s close to their kids will know their kids strengths and weaknesses. I think the Duggar family is a good example of this.

    God bless sister!


  4. This sounds more like parental laziness, and your post displays the difference between your friend’s and you. Our example alone does not do it. We need to work on all edges of raising children.
    I know my children will rebel, but they know I am aware of this and will continue to love them. It is my duty as an exhausted parent to maintain the course with my children for their benefit. I could easily accept they will have to face the challenges on their own or I can accept they will face the challenges on their own but be there as a pillar of support.


  5. I think your post is spot on. Love and communication is key. My husband comes from a family of a lot of rebellious/bully boys and I heard lots of assumptions about our boys when they were young (of course they are gonna screw up.. they’re boys after all; but I knew it wasn’t true). We let our kids walk out their own faith and relationship w/ God, but it also makes an impact on how we are walking out our own faith. Is it authentic? Are we the same in public as at home? We have not had to deal with rebellion (cept from my 5 yr old who likes to melt down on occasion). Love this post!


  6. Thanks for sharing! I am finding it difficult to get through most days as a new homeschooling mom. This is a great reminder of my goal! To show them Christ’s love everyday and keep their hearts. I believe while they are small is critical time. We have to keep our eyes on God, keep loving them (this includes discipline), and pray for them consistently. I don’t think all children must go through a rebellious “stage” but if they do how we handle it as their parents is very important. Great post!


  7. I love this! Totally agree about the teenage years not needing to be rebellious. I also feel this way about the ‘terrible’ two’s. I love that we can speak life over our children at each stage and crisis they might go through. Great post.


  8. I agree with your post. If a child is not shown love, they have a hard time loving in return. Many also can not allow others to love them.

    I have 7 kids. The first is actually my step-daughter. She came to live with us at the age of 7. Before then, she was not loved. She has struggled with allowing people to love her all of her life. When we first got custody of her we were not Christians. We tried and tried to love her but we also always told people “when she is a teenager, we are in for it”. Deep down, I can now see that we did not have hope that our love for her would really make a difference in her life. We saw the path she was on and we embraced it: much like your friend. We started homeschooling when she was in the 8th grade. By 16, she was pregnant and using drugs. She’s now 24. She has hit rock bottom (we hope), and is now talking about coming home and embracing the Lord. She needs to let God love her first, then she’ll learn to let others love her.

    Our other children have been raised quite differently and we do not expect ANY of them to rebel. Some of them might, but we no longer expect it. We expect the opposite. Thanks so much for your post!


  9. Thank you for this post. I totally agree. I’ve had a lot of people tell me similar things. I don’t believe children MUST go through rebellious years either. I do know of some great Christian kids that did not go through this and are serving the Lord today. Some were homeschooled, some public schooled. I think that love is the HUGE key there. I never know what to say to people who tell me that. I don’t have teens yet (my oldest is 11) so I don’t feel like I have the “right” to say much, but I totally agree with you. Thanks for the post.


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