Most people are thrilled to learn they are going to be parents. When we finally meet our precious gifts (Psalm 127:3), we are often overwhelmed by the experience. We have dreams and aspirations for them, for their life. We want them to be smart and kind. We want them to be likeable, respectful of others, successful. For those of us who are “religious,” we desire for them to share our faith and walk with our God, to grow in spiritual stature.
Are you the parent of a rebellious child? There is hope. Find out how you can stand for a rebellious or prodigal child and finally see the miracle you’ve been praying for.
No one ever said parenting was easy. When you first bring your babies home from the hospital, there is so much hope and possibility for who they will become and what kind of lives they’ll lead. It doesn’t take long to realize that raising great kids is not automatic—it’s a lot of work! And you’ll have to contend for them every step of the way.
Whether their children are young or grown, many parents face the unexpected situation of dealing with a rebellious child or even a prodigal. The disappointment is stinging and the road often lonely. It can be difficult to even know where to start. First, we’ll begin with the basics.
What is rebellion?
A stubborn or rebellious spirit is one that rejects truth, challenges authority, and refuses to take personal responsibility for attitudes or actions. Further, a rebellious spirit is one that often, but not always, begins to turn away from God. Rick Renner explains that the word witchcraft comes from the Greek word pharmakeia, which refers to “the flesh’s attempts to avoid being confronted and changed.”
It’s important to understand that not all rebellious children are necessarily prodigals. Nonetheless, even the smallest hint of rebellion in the home must be dealt with immediately. Rolling the eyes, becoming angry when asked to take out the trash, or balking at the household rules will all open the door to a greater severity of rebellion down the line.
Perhaps your situation is much worse—stealing, lying, violence, drugs or alcohol abuse. Maybe your child is so far away from God, you can’t even see the possibility of his or her return. Know this: There is hope for your child. You are not powerless. You can see the miracle you’ve been praying for with these seven ways to stand for rebellious children.
1. Work diligently to win the heart of that child.
Having their heart means having influence with them. As parents, WE want to be the ones who are influencing them, and pouring valuable truths into that God has shown us.
2. Put Feelings Aside
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” –Romans 8:14 (KJV)
You’re hurt. You’re disappointed, shocked—even angry. You blame them. You blame yourself. You don’t know where to turn or what to do. When a child is rebellious, it is frustrating. When they’re extremely rebellious, it can feel downright devastating.
Here’s where you have to be careful. The devil preys on feelings—any feelings. You don’t even have to swing the door wide open—all he needs you to do is crack it open just a tiny bit—and he’s in. He’ll have you doubting your ability to parent, questioning the moment-by-moment well-being of your child, and plummeting into deep despair. The game plan? Don’t even give him the chance.
Put all feelings aside and focus on the TRUTH. Don’t be led by thoughts or emotions—be led by the Spirit in everything you say and do regarding your child.
3. Give Them Room
“‘Your children will come back to you from the distant land of the enemy. There is hope for your future,’ says the Lord. ‘Your children will come again to their own land.’” –Jeremiah 31:16-17
Mothers and fathers, take God’s Word for it. Receive Jeremiah 31:16-17 for yourself. Stop weeping for your children and start believing the Word. That’s the only thing that will bring them around. If necessary, go to your kids and ask their forgiveness for neglecting them.
Many times, rebellious children feel lost, insecure and angry, and are trying to discover their true identity. Give them room. The closer you push in, the more they will tend to back away from you. That doesn’t mean you stop being involved in their lives; it means you focus on encouraging and blessing them, rather than criticizing, condemning or pushing them to have a relationship with God.
Continue to set proper boundaries in your home or with their behavior toward you, depending on their ages. And don’t stop there. Take every opportunity to minister love to your children. Whenever they come around you, express your love in some way.
But overall, be led by the Spirit and give them the room they need to “come back to you from the distant land of the enemy.”
4. Learn to Intercede
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” –James 5:16 (NKJV)
One of the most powerful and effective things you can do for a rebellious child is to pray for them. But you can’t just pray the sad, pleading prayers of a parent who wants reconciliation. No. You must learn to intercede. That’s where you put your own feelings aside and focus on God’s will for your child. Because God is the only One who truly knows what is going on in your son or daughter’s heart, praying in the spirit will be very effective as well.
There are many testimonies of rebellious or prodigal children making supernatural turnarounds solely due to the power of a praying parent. Just because you don’t see immediate results, don’t discount the power and influence you have in your prayer closet. Press in, keep on seeking, keep on knocking, keep on asking. The effective (based on the Word), fervent (continual, never-ceasing), prayer of a righteous mother or father will bring great results.
When you pray, declare the Word over them, prophesy over their lives, and praise God for the victory. You may not see it yet, but His Word says you have it!
5. Take Authority
“Behold, I give you the authority…over all the power of the enemy.” –Luke 10:19 (NKJV)
If your children are still living at home, the key is to address any sign of rebellion quickly. If you let simple backtalk slide one day, a rolling of the eyes the next, and then a refusal to complete chores or requests, it becomes a slippery slope toward greater and greater rebellion in your home. If you have young children, it begins now. Don’t wait and assume they’ll grow out of it—they won’t!
Even if your children are older, or grown and gone—it’s never too late to take your spiritual authority as their parent. We overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, so now is the time to bind and restrict the enemy in your family.
According to Galatians 3:13, Jesus already broke the power of the curse; then in Luke 10:19, He gave us all power and authority. That means we have the right to order Satan out of our children’s lives and to take authority over the spirit of rebellion. Begin by walking your home and declaring, “Thank God, my children are not going to hell. Thank God, they are taught of the Lord and great is their peace!” Instead of walking the floor worrying, walk the floor praising God for the solution!
You can even anoint their possessions with oil in the Name of the Lord Jesus and speak life over your children. Anoint their pillowcases, their doorframes, their cars. Whatever you do, stand and believe for your children, and kick Satan out of your family!