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Passing values on to our children, Part 3

January 30th, 2009

In answer to a reader’s question, How do I pass our values on our children? I posted Part 1 and Part 2.

I conclude this series with some thoughts of what we can do when we feel we’ve failed.

Millie at Christian Values Legacy has an insightful article on “Seven Ways to Tell if Your Child is Rejecting Your Values.”

If you begin to sense that your child is rebelling against the values you’ve been trying to teach them, don’t panic. All is not lost.

We won’t try to analyze why your child is rebelling. Maybe you’ve been too strict; maybe your child is living under the shadow of an older sibling; maybe there’s been havoc in your family; maybe there’s been problems at school. And maybe your child is a strong will child who just has to learn the hard way.

There are many factors and children are complicated.

The important thing is, do not allow business to go on as usual. You need to change things up so your child does not continue down the path of rebellion.

Here are some suggestions of what you can do:

1. Spend more time with your child.

A rebellious child is not the most pleasant person to be with. But I encourage you to purposely spend time with your child to do fun activities. No lecture, no arguments. Go bowling, go to a baseball game, go watch a movie. Be prepared for initial rejection. But be the mature adult and do it anyway. Let your child see that no matter what he does, you still love him.

2. Apologize for your own shortcomings.

As Millie noted in the comments of my previous post, hypocrisy of the parents is one reason why children rebel. But to be honest, all of us are guilty of not living up to our own ideals. Parents are human too. But from our children’s point of view, we are arrogant and we are hypocrites when we tell them to do one thing while we do another.

Our children need to hear us admit our own faults. Apologize without making excuses. Let our children see how we handle failure. Let them see that we go through the same struggles in life.

3. Be consistent with house rules.

If you establish curfews and restrictions that are fair, stick to them. If you give in to your child’s rebelliousness and let him loose, you are not doing him a favor. He will end up making choices that will hurt him.  Children may not like the limits we set on them, but they know there is security in having boundaries. Continue to be the parent you were called to be.

An encouraging story for us as parents is the life of Franklin Graham, the fourth child of well-know evangelist Rev. Billy Graham. Franklin described himself as a bad boy who rebelled against what his parents stood for. “I just wanted to have fun,” Graham said, describing wild times of “drinking the beer, and going out to the parties, and running around with different girlfriends.” He dropped out of college and later was expelled from another college.

Yet today, Franklin Graham is the successor of his father’s ministry and heads Samaritan Purse, a world relief organization. He is a prime example of the prodigal son who came back to the fold.

So don’t be discouraged. There is always hope for our children. Don’t give up.

Photo by bejealousofme

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