I was given a copy of this book for free in exchange for a review. This post also contains affiliate links. All opinions are 100% mine.
Rebellion. That is a scary word for a parent. Is it just a normal part of the teenage years? Can it be avoided?
Maybe what we view as rebellion is just normal behavior for that age group and as parents we need to look at ourselves before we react, or maybe we need to be more proactive. Parenting is so confusing, isn’t it?
When my teens didn’t understand why their father and I set certain boundaries, I would also reply with the statement, “It’s not that I can’t relate to you, it’s because I have been you.” Granted times have changed, and our teens are faced with a ton of social things that we never experienced.
In Rebecca Lindenbauch’s book, Why I Didn’t Rebel, she uses her personal teenage experiences as well as other’s, to share why rebellion does not have to be a normal occurrence with every teen. I can honestly say that this twenty-two year old has a ton of great information to offer parents on the topic of rebellion.
I think most parents develop their parenting style based on the way they were raised as well as the things they personally did as teens. Many parents made mistakes growing up that they don’t want their children to make, which in turn leads to rules that many teens are given without understanding the reason. I am not saying that “Because I said so.” should not ever been a good enough reason to give your children. During some situations it may not be appropriate to immediately give an explanation as to why you have said “No” to something. I do feel that having conversations with our young adults can stop many issues before they start.
I love how Rebecca uses so many various personal stories from people of all backgrounds, not just Christians. The theme that I saw throughout her book was one of empowering our teens to make the right decisions because we know that they are smart enough to do so. How empowering is that? I never really thought about it much, but my husband and I have always told our teens that we know they are smart enough to make the right decision. Does this mean that they will always make the best decision? Of course not. No one is perfect. When our teens have made bad decisions, they have had to live with the consequences. My daughter, who is now nineteen, told us that she never wanted to do anything to disappoint her father and me because we had confidence in her decision making. We set definite boundaries (rules if you want to call them that) that we never wavered on. These boundaries were set out of love, and our teens have always known that.
I have always told my children that God created them for a unique purpose. In order to fulfill that purpose they need to make wise decisions. We have always helped our children pursue their various interests. Sometimes this has meant letting them go on extended trips to camps without us. Some of my friends have told me that they could never let their children go away that far or for that long. Their reasons were that they were afraid they would get into trouble by not only someone else’s poor choices but also by their child’s own poor decisions. If my husband and I ever felt that one of our children weren’t ready for a particular adventure due to lack of maturity, we would tell our child exactly why we felt this way and would not let them go. Our daughter went to SCAD in Savannah, Georgia for a week during the summer between her Junior and Senior year of high school to study photography. She worked and saved up a portion of the cost. She loved it, and never got into one bit of trouble. Our oldest son, at the age of sixteen, took the trip of a lifetime as a boy scout out to Philmont, New Mexico. He and his patrol hiked over 100 miles over their fourteen day trip. He too worked and saved up to pay a portion of his trip. Like his sister he never once got into trouble. They both knew that if they had, then they would not have been trusted to go on any other trips without us. If we had just assumed that because they were teenagers that they were going to do something stupid and not had let them go, they would have missed out on so much and we would have ruined their spirit to go after the things that God has put into their hearts.
Parenting during the teenage years has been very challenging but also very rewarding. The challenge comes from them acting like normal teenagers. You know, moody, hormonal, and sometimes thinking that know best in every situation. What I have found that thy really want is to be heard, have their opinions respected enough to have meaningful conversations even if we as parents disagree with their opinion, and to know that what they choose to do with their life means something. Rebecca’s book is a great resource and guide for raising teens to be all that they were created to be.