Do kids raised in a Christian home rebel less or about the same as kids raised in a non-Christian environment?
Children and rebellion go together. That’s part of childhood. Children are born with a disposition that is antagonistic to the standards of God and the standards of their parents. So rebellion is rebellion.
I don’t think kids in a Christian home rebel any more or less than kids in an unbelieving home. But there are some things that we can do in our Christians homes that set our kids up to rebel, and do some things that are really quite frightening.
You see, our homes should be bathed in grace. If we are a Christian home we should emulate the love of God day to day. They should breathe the air of grace.
But if they don’t, it’s really easy to have some things seep into the climate of our homes that bring the worst out of our kids, like fear. Fear-based parenting is a great way to set a kid up to rebel.
Anger. A lot of anger in the home misrepresents the love of God, and you’ll get rebellion out of that.
Shame. Shame-based parenting, once again, sets kids up to really react to everything we say we believe.
And then we can find ourselves tipping on these two sides of the spectrum when it comes to raising kids. We can either go on the legalistic side, where we just distill our parenting plan down to a bunch of rules: “This is what a nice Christian kid does, this is what they look like, this is how they fix their hair, this is how they dress, this is how they talk, and this is the music they listen to.” That lends a great way to set the kids up to rebel.
Or the other side, what I call “toxic grace.” You go to the other side which is license, where you really don’t have clear standards. And this can build a lot of resentment in a child, because they need direction.
Jesus nailed it for us in His life. In John chapter 1 it says that Jesus was filled with grace and truth. You see, grace and truth are not “a little bit of grace and some truth.” He put them together and they are two parts of the same thing.
So if you’re a grace-based home but you don’t hold for the truth, you’re not a grace-based home and it’s not grace.
If you hold for truth but it’s not bathed in grace, it’s not really truth. It’s deformed truth. It’s undermined truth. You want to put them together.
And when you put those together and you live a life without anger and shame and fear, you’re not in that legalistic or license side. You watch what happens.
You’re going to get your kids through this, and so much of what a lot of people contend with and rebellion just dissipates. Your kids will love being in your home, they’ll find it easy to obey you, and they’ll respect you. They’ll go a lot better.
God bless you as you raise those kids for God’s glory.