One of the issues that can hurt the unity of a home more than anything else is a child whom is a real challenge to bring under the Lord’s control.  Our Tuesday night series entitled, \”Eight Essentials in Child-Training\” covers in detail biblical child-training procedures and principles like the following and inspire you to put them into practice. (You can take this in a distance learning format or on site.  For more information, click here.)

Many children are often like dry gun-powder waiting to explode when they are given a command from a parent or authority. In my ministry of counseling parents, it is parents with children like these that come most often for counseling. Unfortunately, many of the biblical books on parenting do not take into account these extreme cases of child rebellion or give a specific detailed approach to handling these children. Whether the extreme rebellion is contributed by the child’s health, genetics, personality weakness/strengths is beyond the scope of this article. But, even so, faithfully following a specific biblical approach to dealing with the child’s rebellion is foundational to discerning any other diagnosis when dealing with heart issues like rebellion in a child. This must come first. 

Some children seem to pose a greater challenge to submission. Some counselors have called these “strong willed”, the DSM IV may label these ODD (Oppositional Defiance Disorder). From a biblical view point we might say these children are “easily provoked” (1 Cor 13:5). Knowing this, we, as parents, must work very hard to not provoke the child by keeping ourselves under the Lord’s control. This is best done by following a clear, biblical training procedure. This training procedure should attempt to take into account the various ways our child typically attempts to manipulate us during the various stages of trying to bring him or her under our control. For each tactical maneuvering of the child, we must have a biblical counter planned ahead of time, or we may fall prey to hopelessness and anger.

To begin, sit your child down outside of an upset and share the following things with them.  (If things are so bad that the child is unwilling to talk through this, seek out a godly parent to sit down and help. This would be someone who can biblically counsel you and your child to understand and applying the following principles and procedures.):

  • Instruct Them Biblically in what obedience is and why it is of upmost importance to learn to respond obediently to your directions. (Eph 6: 2-3; Heb 12: 6 – For more read Tedd Tripp’s book, Shepherding a Child’s Heart on the “Circle of Blessing” Concept.)
  • Identity and Discuss with the child their “High Risk Situations”. Ask them, “Do you agree that there are times you do well at obeying my instructions and at other times you really struggle?” Identify any patterns of when they have the hardest time obeying; help the child recognize their pattern of disobedience (i.e. What are the common factors that influence the disobedience and what are they loving more than Christ.) Give a list of 3 or more specific ways that the disobedience is being expressed (i.e. sulking – head drops and pouting lip; fit of rage – drops on floor and squirms around, storms out of the room and slams door; speaks unwholesomely – “no one cares about me”, “I hate you”, “It’s not fair” etc.)
  • Share with them your goal. You desire to train them to respond obedient in those situations because currently they have trained themselves to respond disobedient in those situations. Explain the “Gumnazo” principle (pg. 61-64 – Lou Priolo, Heart of Anger). That is your goal! Help them acknowledge the benefits of such a goal and that God is good for desiring this.
  • Share your heart for them. You could say, “If I win the battle for control, you win because I know best and love most; But if I give up and you win the battle for control, then you lose because you need training to obey God. The devil wants me to lose and you to win so in the end you are hurt.”
  • Explain a biblical training procedure that you are going to train yourself, as a parent, to follow, especially in those “High Risk” Situations. Write it down to help you and them be clear of what will be repeated by you during their resistance to obey you.  
(The training procedure will be covered in Part 2.  If interested, make sure to sign up to follow this blog using the sign up on top right.  Forward this to friends to help them in their parenting challenges using the email or social network buttons below.)