Without a doubt, one of the most heart wrenching things a parent can suffer is that of a child who is rebellious.
You may ask, “How do I know if my kid is rebellious or just spirited?” The answer to that is simple. Rebellion is open disregard for authority. A kid can be absentminded and not be rebellious. A kid can do wrong and not be rebellious. But a kid who openly defies a parent’s authority is rebellious.
Rebellion in the heart of a child is like a disease. It’ll skew their entire moral center. Rebellion can’t be allowed to grow, or it’ll completely dominate the attitude of a child. It is usually fairly easy to spot a rebellious child. They take everything in the wrong way. They become ultra stubborn and resistant. They cause scenes, and will look for fault in others.
This last sign is particularly nasty. A child or adult who is rebellious seeks a sort of twisted type of freedom, and they know it can be gained through exposing the loopholes in the authority over them. They’ll use it to justify their own actions, condemn yours, free themselves from the validity of your authority…or whatever.
If you are a parent with a child at home, you can’t afford to allow this to settle into their hearts. Rebellion has a nasty side effect that is hardly discernible. Because of the nature of the methods used to gain this type of ‘freedom’ from authority it robs them of joy and happiness.
I’ve never met a rebellious child or adult who was truly happy.
THE SINGLE GREATEST SOURCE OF REBELLION: Conflicting Authority
There are many things that can contribute towards rebellion in a person. But the greatest contributor is conflicting authority.
Conflicting authority for a child is devastating. When one parent says one thing, but the other parent says something else, that puts the child in a very awkward position.
When parents can’t agree on the discipline, when they argue with each other in front of the kids, when they contradict each other, when they step in and yank control of a situation from each other, they are laying the ground work for a rebellious child.
DANGERS OF CONFLICTING AUTHORITY
1. You force the child to choose between the authorities.
People can’t serve two masters. They will naturally tend to choose one over the other. If you make your kids choose one parent over the other, you will find the child will always choose the one that seems in their best interest.
It robs you of the support and unity of your spouse. You also rip down the foundation of your own authority as well. You’ve just taught your child that it’s okay to contradict authority.
That will include you too.
2. Your child will play one parent against the other.
And if you don’t think your kids are capable of this, you are deceived. When kids see that they can get their way by playing one parent off against another, they will.
If your child believes that there is a parent who will side with them, they will utilize that resource. They’ll lie, exaggerate, not tell the whole story, or whatever to get you to side with them.
There used to be a day that when a child got in trouble at school, he would get in trouble at home too. Now, parents automatically, like a knee-jerk reaction, side with their kid as if their kid can do no wrong. This undermines the authority of the school, and you in effect give your kids license to refute the authority at school.
3. It creates doubt in a child.
There is tremendous security in a home where both parents are unified. A child finds more confidence and security in a home where both mom and dad are on the same side.
When parents contradict each other, a child picks up on the frustration, guilt, anger, resentment, and so on. And when the child is the subject of this conflict, they will have tremendous doubts.
You’re not going to like this next statement, but this isn’t a politically correct platform. Most of the children who have been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder come from a home with serious authority conflicts. In my dealings with children like this, even one week in a stable, loving, unified home causes very positive changes in their behavior.
You must present a unified front before your children. The security that comes from this can not be underestimated.
To learn more, or to get the Author’s book, Fitly Spoken, a book on developing communication and social skills for relationships, visit: www.fitlyspoken.org