A couple of weeks ago, I got a message from a friend. Read this and see if you relate:
“Hey Becky, What about super strong willed kids? My little girl (3-years-old) is so strong willed. We are going through a stage where she talks back almost every time and hardly ever obeys 1st time. She is spunky and passionate – just gotta figure out how to channel in the right place! I feel like I’m hitting a wall with her. I don’t want to just make her be quiet or obey – I long to see real change in her heart! Anyway , there’s a post idea for you.”
First of all, I know this mommy. She is as Jesus-Lovin’ as they come. And as I’ve been praying about her question, I keep coming to, I’m sure everything she is saying or doing in those disciplining moments is similar to how I would handle it.
So I don’t feel like “parenting advice” is appropriate. I have a strong-willed three-year-old, myself.
But friend, here is what the Lord has impressed upon me. Calling a spade and spade, this strong-willed attitude is a spirit of rebellion.
I don’t know about you, but when Luke throws a fit it is as if something comes over the child. Throwin’ himself on the ground…. Squealing at the top of his lungs…. Swinging his arms… Throwing things…. It is quite a display of border-line insanity.
One thing is for certain – I can not rationally talk him out of it.
So what do we do? What do I do with my strong-willed, rebellious little boy?
Yes, pray for him. I know sometimes that is not the revolutionary answer we all seek, but it is the answer.
Sometimes rebellion gets so thick in this house that it takes some “miss a few meals” prayin’. It might mean calling all of my praying friends. My mentor said once that “more happens through the ministry of prayer than words or actions can ever produce.”
In her book, Power of a Praying Parent, Stormie Omartian says, “Rebellion is actually pride put into action. Rebellion says, ‘I’m gonna do what I want, no matter what God or anyone else says about it.’ Identifying and destroying the idols of pride and selfishness through prayer can often be the key to breaking a child’s rebellion. This rebellion will surface on your child at one time or another. Be ready to meet the challenge with prayer and the Word of God, along with correction, discipline and teaching.”
Rebellion is pride. I love that. So very true. And rebellion is a challenge. Our kids will challenge us until the day they leave the house. In big ways and small, rebellion will rear its head. I want to respond in prayer. Taking hold of that rebellious spirit with God’s word. It can not stand.
I win every time.
Instead of reinventing the wheel today, I want to provide the prayer that Omartian gives at the end of the “Honoring Parent’s and Resisting Rebellion” chapter. If your children are struggling with a spirit of rebellion, will you commit to pray for them? Call in your prayer troops if need be. This might take some knees getting dirty.
But this I know. God’s Word will change your circumstance. A spirit of rebellion doesn’t stand a chance.
I hope this helps.
I pray that you would give (child’s name) a heart that desires to obey you. Put into him (her) a longing to spend time with you, in your Word and in prayer listening for your voice. Shine Your light upon any secret or unseen rebellion that is taking root in his (her) heart, so that it can be identified and destroyed. Lord, I pray that he (she) will not give himself (herself) over to pride, selfishness, and rebellion, but that he (she) will be delivered from it. By the authority you’ve given me in Jesus name, I “stand against the wiles of the devil” and resist idolatry, rebellion, stubbornness, and disrespect; they have no part in my son’s (daughter’s) life, nor will my child walk a path of destruction and death because of them.
Your Word instructs, “Children obey your parents in all things for this is well pleasing to the Lord.” (Col 3:20) I pray that you would turn the heart of this child toward his (her) parents and enable him (her) to honor and obey father and mother so that his (her) life will be long and good. Turn his (her) heart toward you so that all he (she) does is pleasing in Your sight. May he (she) learn to identify and confront pride and rebellion in himself (herself) and be willing to confess and repent of it. Make him (her) uncomfortable with sin. Help him (her) to know the beauty and simplicity of waling with a sweet and humble spirit in obedience and submission to You.
In Jesus Name, Amen.
Thank you Becky! Even today we had some major battles resulting in her throwing herself on the kitchen floor. I'm going to start praying against this rebellion in her heart. Thanks for your encouragement and exhortation!
My mother tells me that I would lay on the floor and hold my breath until I turned blue. She asked the pediatrician what to do, and he told her to walk away the next time I did that. My mother took his advice, as hard as it was, and it worked. A tantrum is a method of control that children use to get their own way. If we don't respond in any way, no emotion, no anger, and go into another room and then, yes, PRAY! Lord "HELP" me! My son threw a tantrum once in a toy store; he was not too heavy for me to pick up, so I very calmly and matter of factly picked him up and carried him to the car (while kicking and screaming), buckled him in and drove home. His action resulted in an opposite response from what he was trying to get! My children were not strong willed, so I sympathize if these tactics don't work. I think a lot of it is to resist reacting emotionally. God bless you mothers! (My kids are almost grown :D)