The following is taken from a newsletter to the parents of youth at a local church with my additions. If your child is in full-blown rebellion, no matter how old they are, there are certain things you can do to still have an impact on them and it will help improve your relationship with them.
1) Be an aggressive observer by paying careful attention to them in their comfort zones.
Become a student of your child. Study them and notice what they like, what they are good at, what is important to them, where are there strengths, etc. If they are no longer living with you it will take more effort on your part to do this. God will give you ideas.
2) Be available to listen as they talk about their struggles.
No lectures. No preaching at them. No judgements or disapproval. Just asking good questions and listening, listening, and listening some more. Take them out for a snack, coffee, a smoothie, ice cream or a meal and practice your listening skills. You can do some research online for good questions you can ask. Sometimes we really don’t know what to talk about, especially if your relationship has been strained.
3) Pray for them, that God will touch their hearts and help them own their faith.
What more powerful way is there to impact someone than with our prayers? Use books on prayer as a resource and let the scriptures be the substance behind them. Do word searches in the scriptures on prayer, faith, belief and other related topics. Find others to pray with you. Put together a prayer team for your child, at least 6 to 12 people you know, who will commit to pray faithfully for your child. Give them specific requests and updates regularly.
4) Be patient as God works in the lives of your children.
Patience, patience, patience. Be willing to wait for what you want to have happen. Ugh! Wait on the Lord. Trust in Him. When you see no signs of change, keep being patient. Change doesn’t come quickly. It usually comes little by little. It takes time! Give them the grace you want for yourself. We are all a work in process, aren’t we? It’s taken a long time for you to get where you are today!
If you consistently do these things you will have an impact on your child’s life! They will notice it and it will make a difference.
A great book if your child is still a teen:
Help! My Teen Thinks I’m the Enemy (Tyndale House), Dr. Bill Maier – on building healthy bonds with teenagers.
For any age: The Hope of a Homecoming (Navpress) by O’Rourke and Sauer