Compliant kids give the illusion of being good. But what is going on in their heart and head as to the reason for their good behavior is actually more important. Do they comply only due to fear, fear of getting caught? We want to raise kids committed to doing their best, being their best, people who honor God in their thoughts, words, and deeds. We hope our children will do the right thing because it is the right thing. Most parents desire to raise kids to be people with a strong moral character. If kids are towing the line because parents are uber-controlling, life may appear seamless, but it will soon unravel into rebellion.

Here are 9 surefire ways to create a rebellious heart in your kid:

  1. Expect perfection: Performance based parenting focuses on the outside notables rather than internal observables. Notice outcomes but focus on developing your child’s character. Rather than only commentating on appearance or performance, “You look so beautiful” say, “Thanks for helping your sister today. You have such a kind heart.”
  2. Punish for every infraction:“You are grounded for life”Instead start saying what you want, when the child messes up, retrain. Then move to a natural consequence, let the punishment fit the crime. Then if things continue down the wrong path and become habitual move to punishment. Start small, you can always go bigger. Don’t forget to include grace and forgiveness when correcting.
  3. Unreasonable exceptions:You know your child. Parent to your child’s unique personality. Take your child’s weaknesses, strengths, age, and stage into consideration.
  4. Conditional love:Love no matter the behavior. Don’t withhold love and affection. Avoid saying things like, ”You don’t deserve….”
  5. Micro-manage:Back off. Avoid hovering and giving all kinds of “helpful” advice. We want our kids to learn not just follow instructions.
  6. Redo:Don’t redo what your child did. Feel free to retrain but avoid redoing. He will think, ”What’s the point loading the dishwasher she will only redo it.”
  7. Threaten:Unless you mean it, don’t say it.
  8. Lecture:The lecture approach creates a brain freeze in the child. He will learn to tune you out. Short and sweet sound-bytes are much more effective.
  9. Guilt:Say what you mean. Avoid the statements dripping with guilt induced language.“Oh I work so hard and now the sink is full of dishes…” rather say, “Okay gang, time to clean up the kitchen. Garrett, put the dishes in the dishwasher. Charlotte, pick up the toys and in put them in the box.”

Truth..we all fall into over-the-top controller category at times— especially when we feel stressed, life is out of control, and we are crazy busy. If we continue to be overbearing, demanding, and focus solely on rules while neglecting to build relationship, BIG time rebellion is right around the corner.

The Lord is slow to anger, abounding in love and forgiving sin and rebellion.
Numbers 14:18a

© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.

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