I read an interesting quotation today. A well-known author penned this…
Our youth today love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority, disrespect for older people. Children nowadays are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers.
So who was this inciteful observer of today’s dilemma?
His name was Socrates and he wrote this in 425 B.C.
It seems like there really IS nothing new under the sun, is there? Today, I read of a variety of broken young people, dysfunctional homes and an array of consequences which spring from families who’ve lost control of their kids. There was the story of the 10-year-old boy in Florida who raped his 8-year-old classmate. The story of the South Carolina boy (now 15, he was 12 at the time of the crime) who is on trial for the shot-gun murder of his grandparents who had graciously taken him in after he’d had trouble at home. There’s the sad story out of Colorado how two very charming and thoughtful young teenage girls were successfully sued by a hateful neighbor who claimed to be traumatized by their well-intentioned act of making her a plate of cookies and delivering them to her home at 10:30 in the evening (even though she was still awake and the lights were on.) How about the Florida couple who kept their seven kids in bondage, pulling out their toenails with pliers and who had reduced a pair of 14-year old twins down to less than 40 pounds? No wonder our kids are growing up confused, angry, hurting and sometimes violent.
Sadly, some parents are setting their kids up for lives of rebellion, unhappiness and self-centered living which will rob them of joy, peace and success. These parents may be well-intentioned, but all the good intentions in the world aren’t going to counter-act what they are creating.
We live in a generation of incredible indulgence. In our affluence and prosperity, many parents today seem bent on raising children whom have rarely been told no, who have never had to wait, who have had few boundaries and fewer responsibilities. As a result, we are training many of our young people into young rebels. Younger children are no committing increasingly adult crimes. From sex offenses to murder, we continue to be shocked by each new wave of youthful crime. Few people have stopped to truly explore why we are rearing a generation of young, hardened rebels.
So, I propose to you a formula that can be used to raise a young rebel. Apply these principles and you can be assured of tears on your pillow, late night visits from police officers and perhaps a lonesome old age as your children take a long walk down the wrong path.
First, teach him or her that life is fair. By giving them this unrealistic expectation of the world and its inhabitants, you will set them up for disillusionment, disappointment and depression. Appropriately taught, you child will suspect that the world is conspiring to pick on them and they will frequently turn to you and whine, Thats not fair!.
Next, always side with them against authority. Acknowledge that your childs teacher really is picking on them, that Johnny is incapable of ever lying to an adult, that the pastor is being legalistic and that the policeman should be out picking up real criminals instead of picking on your kid.
Another way to raise a rebel is to divorce your spouse. By doing this, you can set an example that commitments arent forever and that running or splitting is preferred to working things out. Once you are divorced, make sure that you undermine the authority of your ex-spouse at every opportunity lest your kids begin to favor them over you.
Dont insist that they go to church. Why if you force them to attend worship, they just might reject God. What good is it going to do them anyway if they are required to be somewhere against there will? Let them find God at their own pace and in their own time.
To raise a rebel, you might also want to allow them to date early and date often. Encourage your pre-pubescent young one to think of themselves as incomplete without a little gal-pal or boy-toy gracing their arm. Relive your own teen years by encouraging them to get into cars alone, go to the movies unchaperoned and to even have their dates over to the house when you arent home. Generally, this principal correctly applied might even allow you to become a grandparent years before you expected to become one!
Another idea is to pay them liberally to be part of your family. What child should be expected to tidy their room, clean off the dinner table or even mow the yard without having substantial compensation for their labor? Teach your children that if theres nothing in it for you, then it probably isnt worth doing. There are no real responsibilities that come with simply being a part of a family.
To rear a rebel, you should always avoid practicing what you preach. It is very important that you teach your children to do what you say, not what you do. They will be inspired by your hypocrisy and quickly learn to ignore the rest of your directives as well. This business that your walk talks louder than your talk talks is for the birds. Just tell them to shut up and listen and dont give you any backtalk.
I could go on, but you are probably ready for me to stop. Though Ive given you these suggestions with tongue firmly in cheek, Im afraid that many of us set our kids up for rebellion with thoughtless actions and attitudes that teach far more than we ever considered. We dont need more rebels without a cause in America. We just need charactered citizens who understand submission to Godly principles.