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Why Christian Kids Rebel: Trading Heartache for Hope [Paperback]

Tim Kimmel

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Book Description

Oct. 20 2004

Author of Grace-Based Parenting and the best-selling Little House on the Freeway, Dr. Tim Kimmel helps Christian parents avoid the potential problems their well-meaning parenting styles could create.  This book offers a new way to look at the ideal Christian home and shows why cocoon-style Christian homes dont always work.

Many parents have done it all when it comes to the checklist of good Christian parenting, only to see their son or daughter step away from their belief system and embrace other lifestyle choices.

Dr. Kimmel helps to increase the chances that your children will develop a vibrant faith early in life and stick with it on into adulthood. It will also provide help and hope for those already dealing with a rebellious teen and teach them how to lead the child back into a walk of faith.


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About the Author

Dr. Tim Kimmel and his wife, Darcy, founded Family Matters™. They equip families to appropriate the power of God's grace for every age and stage of life. Tim has sold more than 750,000 books and videos including the 2005 Gold Medallion winner Grace Based Parenting, and his bestseller Little House on the Freeway. Tim has a nationally syndicated radio program, speaks to families across the country, and enjoys  his family and grandchildren.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
130 of 132 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rebellion prevention 101 Aug. 3 2005
By FaithfulReader.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Every once in a while, a book comes along that draws you in, keeps you turning its pages, hits you in the heart and kicks you in the butt with so many good points that deeply convict you that you want to put it down because you can't take it anymore. But because its message is so compelling you keep reading, realizing it is virtually impossible to absorb it all. Which means that once you turn the last page, you're forced to start reading it again. Immediately.

Dr. Tim Kimmel's latest work, WHY CHRISTIAN KIDS REBEL: Trading Heartache for Hope, is such a book. Its title is a bit misleading. A better title, I think, would have been REBELLION PREVENTION 101. Quite simply, Kimmel's book is not about kids' rebellion --- though he addresses it --- but rather about the condition of a parent's heart. And if you're a parent --- a Christian parent --- I have to warn you, his words make for some very uncomfortable reading at times. Very uncomfortable.

Before you stop reading the rest of this review, give me one more moment of your time. It's important. If you're a parent trying to raise a child in a Christian home and you would like to see them carry on in the faith as they grow and start their own families, then YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK.

Statistics bear out that nearly 90 percent of evangelical children leave the church after high school --- and many never return. Why is that? What happens? Where do we go wrong?

Kimmel holds the church and the adults sitting in its pews accountable for not meeting the needs of the children God has entrusted to their care. But what makes his style so remarkable is that he is not harsh or accusatory. I read this book with several "filters" working at once. As a journalist, I read it critically to make sure it flowed and was logically sound. It did. I also read it as a Christian, making sure it was theologically sound. It was. And I also read it as a Christian mother of four boys, trying to raise them not to rebel against me, my husband, or God, the way that I rebelled against my parents and God.

I was brought up in a fundamentalist home and was made to attend a fundamentalist college. Being "Christian" was who we were and what we did. I walked away from both as soon as I could and didn't look back until my first son was born. His sweet face and my newly repentant heart required me to start looking critically at my upbringing --- taking the good, and leaving the arbitrary legalism behind, making many mistakes in the process.

Kimmel lays out the mistakes that we Christian parents make, such as treating our faith as a hobby. And, like other hobbies of ours that do not interest our children, they choose not to pursue it. Kimmel writes: "That's how kids in Christian homes sometimes respond to their parents' faith. Since to them it's like a spiritual hobby for their parents, their interest in it might be more temporary than permanent. The good news is that although Christianity can be treated like a hobby, an authentic relationship with Christ can't."

And just when you think you can't be anymore convicted, he turns it up a notch. In chapter eight, Kimmel addresses "Cocoon Christianity" as follows: "They construct a handy and holy haven designed to accommodate their children's vulnerabilities indefinitely. It's a strategy that formats their childhood so deeply that it often becomes the defining attitude of their adulthood... (Parents) are convinced that if the world system can get to their children, it would certainly get a hold of their hearts. It would either conscript them into its army of sin, force them to work in its factories of shame, or simply destroy them. So parents hide their children in safe evangelical enclaves."

Only thing is, Kimmel says, is that when our children come out of our cocoon, they are "not prepared to handle what's waiting for them."

Kimmel also describes the four styles of parenting: "Clueless," "EMT," "Special Forces" and "Grace-Based," as well as the various forms of "Christianity," taking time to describe the effects each has on the family unit in general and the child in particular. I guarantee that you will recognize yourself in one of them. Kimmel also makes it clear that even though there are things parents can do to minimize the possibility that their children will be inclined toward rebellion, it is still likely that there will be kids who are raised "well" who will choose to go their own way, no matter what.

Reading his words will break your heart and humble you because Kimmel refuses to call sin by any other name. This is how he concludes: "If you are not interested in utilizing God's grace when it comes to dealing with your errant child, not to mention dealing with yourself, there is little help I (or anybody else) can offer you."

Yet throughout this book, Kimmel's writing is filled with hope and flawless logic; you can't help but be inspired to change course and readjust. If you're a Christian parent, then YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK. The future of your child's faith depends on it.

--- Reviewed by Diana Keough
48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raising spiritually strong kids, not spiritually safe kids Sept. 21 2006
By Jennifer Schrank - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Having read this book (unlike another reviewer), I found it to be convicting to me as a Christian parent as well as inspiring. He gives the 8 reasons that kids rebel and does talk about rebellion but a large part of his focus is on the Christian parent. His 5 chapters on flawed Christianity (Compulsory Christianity, Cliche Christianity, Comfortable Christianity, Cocoon Christianity, and Compromised Christianity) will help each parent evaluate their own Christian life and hopefully spur them to want to live as God would want us to which will in turn inspire our children to do the same. He also gives great helps for reaching out to a rebellious child.

I like a quote by Mini Louise Haskin that he ends his chapter on Cocoon Christianity with: "I said to the man at the gate of the year, "Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown." And he replied, "Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than the known way."

This book is great for all Christian parents, those whose kids are in active rebellion and those who are not. For those parents whose children are not in rebellion currently, this book really gives you insight in how to handle rebellion when children do (which as he states in this book may need to be part of their spiritual pilgrimage) His focus is on raising spiritually strong kids, not spiritually safe kids.

I highly recommed this book to all Christian parents.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Biblical Parenting Feb. 18 2007
By David D. Flowers - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Dr. Kimmel's book helped me understand a great deal of my own teenage rebellion years ago. I know that I am ultimately responsible. However, it comforted me to know why I was frustrated as a teenager and why I rebelled against my Christian faith for several years.

This book covers the different styles of parenting that breeds rebellion. It is a great read for students, adults, parents, and parents who no longer have children living at home.

I taught through this book in a parenting class. It proved to be very helpful to them. Some parents shied away from it because of the title. They didn't believe their kids were rebellious or ever would be. As Dr. Kimmel will state in his book, not every child rebels the same way. Their rebellion may come later when they are out of your house.

This book is for everyone. Even for those parents who believe themselves to be the model parents who do not need a lesson on biblical parenting.

If you are a Christian... I believe the real issue is not clothes, hairstyle, piercings, etc. The real issue is Christ-likeness, holiness, being aliens and strangers in our modern day Babylon. Every Christians should understand this.

Of course, if the parents are dressing like the world, acting like the world, and are not modeling Christ in every way... the rebellion lurking in the child's heart may be a learned thing. Most of the time... this is the case. Although, you will occasionally have children who rebel despite their parents loving guidance.

All mankind is born rebellious. Man ultimately wants to do his own thing. This is not just a problem for teenagers, but for adults too. Every child should be given the opportunity to choose their own way when they reach a certain age. If the parent is confident in the way they have raised their child, they will have no problem releasing them to make their own decisions when they reach the time to leave the nest.

I have seen two extremes among parents: 1. Some let their children do whatever they want. 2. Some do not allow them to make any decisions at all. These children do not have the true love of God modeled to them. They have parents who parent by worldly wisdom. If you're not willing to let your child choose his own way at the end of high school (and possibly sooner) then you haven't done a very good job of parenting.

I highly recommend Dr. Kimmel's book. Honestly, if you are a worldly person... this book will not be of much help to you. However, if you are a Christian and are concerned about biblical parenting or you were a rebellious teenager years ago... this book is for you!
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Analyzing your Parenting Sept. 30 2007
By Nadae - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is not about tattoos and rock and roll and controlling your child (like others have assumed), but about what you can do as a parent to help your child not turn away from the Christian faith they have been raised in (rebel). It might surprise you that Dr. Kimmel actually encourages you to allow your child to experience the world and not be sheltered by a "Christian everything" community. He talks about the importance of your child's faith being their own, and not a "hobby" they are a part of because the parent has a strong faith. He points out decisions that many Christian parents make, which actually backfire. Being a child who rebelled, he is right on the mark. It has helped me (now as a parent) as I can identify mistakes from my youth that I do not want to repeat with my children. I strongly recommend this for every parent who wants to encourage their child's spiritual growth and not hinder it.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book for every Christian parent March 15 2007
By Rachael - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
As a Christian parent I often feel intimidated by the task of passing my faith on to my children. I picked up this book from our church book table and am so glad that I did.

It was not so much about rebellion, as about how to raise your children to NOT see rebellion as an attractive option. What a weight was lifted off my shoulders as for the first time i really caught a vision of what path to follow to help my children grow up knowing and loving Christ.

The book has a message of truth and hope - not condemnation - though the author has strong things to say about what environments tend to breed rebellion. I highly recommend this book along with Grace Based Parenting by Tim Kimmel.

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