For Modern Day Moms

Is Rebellion Inevitable? A Perfectly Timed Book!

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My daughter was five years old when Disney’s Brave came out, starring a fiery-tempered Scottish princess. I was excited to take her to see it in the theater, but then I had one of those mom moments. You know, when a thought hits you over the head with the fact that you’re an adult, that somehow that happened and you just look at things differently.

I was watching a trailer for the film, and there was a scene where Merida and her mother literally go nose-to-nose in an argument. The problem was, I recognized my daughter’s fiercely independent streak in that scene. Oh no, I thought, am I looking into our future? Maybe we should skip this movie. The last thing I need is encouragement for her stubborn nature (even though I keep telling myself that it will serve her well in the future).

Well, we did go see the movie, and we had a great time. It actually served as a good starting point for a conversation about our relationship as mother and daughter. But I’m a little relieved that she can’t turn me into a bear when she gets frustrated with me.

Now my daughter is coming right up on double digits. Next month she’ll be ten years old. Which is why I’m thrilled with the timing of a book by Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach: Why I Didn’t Rebel.

I feel like I’ve watched Rebecca grow up, as I’ve been a fan of her mother’s writing since before my daughter was even born. (If you haven’t discovered Sheila Wray Gregoire yet, you need to go remedy that!).

As a parent of a pre-teen, I’m encouraged by Rebecca’s personal story of going through the teenage years without rebelling. But what I find really useful from the book is the research and the interviews she did to look for common factors between teenagers who rebelled and teenagers who didn’t. Yes, she says, there are things I can do as a parent to help prevent rebellion in my children as they grow up.

My daughter’s choices will be her own. However, I can encourage relationships and foster an environment that helps us make it through the challenges of middle and high school without losing her heart to rebellion.

If I can offer one takeaway from the book that really resonated with me, and that you and I can implement today, it is to use “reason” more than “rules.” This makes so much sense to me. It is much more tempting to rebel against rules than to make a dumb decision when you know why it’s dumb. And keeping in mind that the teenage years are preparation for adulthood and (hopefully) independent living, I don’t want my daughter’s framework for living to fall apart as soon as she steps out of the covering of our household rules. “Reason” will travel better.

If you have a child approaching the pre-teen or teen years, you really must pick up a copy of this book. Rebecca’s insight is relevant to the world our teens live in (which is vastly different from the world we were teenagers in), and Why I Didn’t Rebel is bound to be a perennial tool on the shelves of Christian parents who are looking for ways to stay connected in a real way with their children through the hazards of teenage living.

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