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Why Christian Kids Rebel: Trading Heartache for Hope Paperback – Oct 18 2004
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About the Author
Dr. Tim Kimmel is one of America’s top advocates speaking for the family. He is the Executive Director of the non-profit ministry Family Matters, whose goal is to build great family relationships by educating, equipping and encouraging parents for every age and stage of life. Tim conducts conferences across the country on the unique pressures that confront today’s families. He has authored many books including: Little House on the Freeway (selling over 700,000 copies; Multnomah) and the Gold Medallion winning bestseller Grace Based Parenting (100,000 copies; Thomas Nelson). He lives with his family in Scottsdale, Arizona.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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
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.
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!
This book has very, very, very few words about how to "raise" our children.
It will, however, cause the parent reader some uncomfortable moments as Dr. Kimmel shatters the standard American Christian ideas of "requirements" for raising Spiritual Children.
Dr. Kimmel will focus you on your own spiritual walk. What are you showing your children about what you believe real faith is by the way you live. He will allow you to see that how you live out your faith in your daily lives impacts how your children grow in their faith.
As a child raised in a strict religious environment, this book provided me a good framework for really understanding why I turned as far away as possible from "religion."
This book is a keeper - something to be reviewed at least annually as a spot-check on how am I walking in my faith - and to remind me that there are 4 little eyes watching how I live and what they see will impact them much more than what they hear at church or school.
One warning for those Christians who believe that by shielding your children from worldly influences you are benefitting them more than those who send their kids to public school, or allow their kids to read Harry Potter or go to movies, etc - this book might offend you. Give it a chance - get all the way through it and evaluate it with an open, prayerful heart. Ask the Lord if there is any truth He would like you to think about? Perhaps for your family, your choices are the right ones, but Dr. Kimmel definitely presents another way of looking at things.