What is the appropriate response for Christian parents when our teenagers or adult children rebel? Do we intervene? Let them go? Do we shun?
ADMIN NOTE: I have scrubbed the original article of links to the original article, removed names, except for first initials. H = mother/blogger E = 17-yr old daughter There is an update on this post here: Blogger/Mother Who Posted Public Article about Her Daughter’s “Disobedience” Has Changed Her Mind and Removed Post
Parenting has got to be one of the most challenging and sometimes very painful jobs e.v.e.r. It is especially difficult when our children make bad choices, go against what basic guidelines meant to protect them. How should we as Christian parents respond when our children go astray?
I read an article from a blogger today that I found tough to read. It hit home for me a little bit because it reminded me of when my daughter, Hannah, abruptly left our home. The circumstances are slightly different in this story. (You can read some of my heartache with that experience and my very bad actions/responses in this article: In Honor of Hannah.)
The blogger publicly shared about the heartache of her daughter’s “disobedience.”
She identifies herself as a Christian and has “spent the last several years managing and writing for [name removed by JA: a very popular blogger on her homeschool area of the blog].
H shares that her article is
“the hardest one I may ever write because, for me, blogging is personal and personally, decisions made by my oldest child, “E’, have left a mixed bag of emotions ranging from disbelief to anger, on to fear and grief; none of which are conducive to writing.”
Here is a portion of the article:
A week ago, E left home to live with her 21-year-old boyfriend who she met in February. Yes, she’s 17. Yes, there were many red flags when this boy came on the scene. Yes, Jeff and I warned her repeatedly, but we had guidelines in place that we felt could protect her from herself; we were wrong.
It wasn’t that our guidelines couldn’t provide the protection E needed (they could) but that she has been unwilling to align with them, not just when it comes to this current boy, who is nothing short of a false prophet, but as is clear now, in several other relationships and critical life decisions.
E chose to leave home rather than obey, and more and more indiscretions, as well as outright acts of deception surface daily. Honestly, it’s as though our daughter has lived a dual life for a couple of years now; one for us, and one for herself.
In the rest of the article, we read expressions from a mom whose heart is broken, who asks for prayers, shares meaningful verses, describes the emotions of family members at home with her daughter’s absence.
This verse was quoted . . .
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10
. . . . along with the following sentence:
Naturally, I am praying safety over her, but at the same time, asking that she find no happiness or peace in her current path, which can only lead to despair.
Below is a comment from a reader and H’s response:
June 9, 2014 – 14:10:18
You cannot separate condemnation of her actions and condemnation of her as a person. Your job is to be there. Your job is to try to figure out what caused her to rebel. Publishing what you did, if she reads it will come across as condemnation of HER.
Ok…you don’t agree with what she’s done…but realize, as the parent, YOU are the reason she is in rebellion. There is something in YOUR home, YOUR rules that goes against who God made her to be. You can’t force the square peg into the round hole. Your job is to accept that square peg and love her for who she was created to be. This is why I am SO against the whole homeschool/isolationist/uber-religious movement in this country. It leads to tragedy. Didn’t Jesus say “love one another”…he didn’t put conditions on it and neither should you.
June 9, 2014 – 14:29:04
We do not share the same world view or interpretation of God’s Word, which means we will not likely agree, in general, on parenting/life choices. I do want to clarify that we do not put any conditions on our love for E or our other children. She knows, and they know–and all three would tell you–that we love them unconditionally.
We cannot condone certain behaviors, and believe there are consequences for them, but we absolutely love our children unconditionally.
June 9, 2014 – 16:05:14
If you love her as you say you do and I do not for a minute think you don’t, you would remove that whole blog entry, I am a parent, and if I wrote something about my child in a public blog like you did, along with showing her picture, I doubt she would ever come home as the rift is just getting wider, hate the act but don’t publicly ridicule her.
Update: I felt the need to remove the daughter’s first name which had a searchable unique spelling and have replaced it with her first initial “E.” 6/10/14 ~ja
UPDATE: New developments on this story. Blogger/Mother Who Responded about Her Daughter’s Disbedience Publicly Has Changed Her Mind and Removed Post
photo credit: jenny downing via photopin cc