I am honored to have had the opportunity to receive an advanced copy of Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach’s Why I Didn’t Rebel to review. You may have already seen my short video review, but if not, you can find it here.
This review will contain spoilers, you’ve been warned!
For those of you who don’t know, this book is based on a post that was published on Rebecca’s mother’s site, To Love, Honor and Vacuum (which I had the opportunity to guest post on awhile back). The premise is that teenage rebellion is not inevitable, and Rebecca herself is a testament to that.
For the book, Rebecca conducted interviews with other individuals who had various different home and church lives in order to find out what does and does not influence a teenager to rebel.
In the beginning of the book, Rebecca answers the question of what rebellion is and is not, which I greatly appreciated. Growing up in a homeschooling community where every little thing was considered rebellion, it was healing for me to be presented with a logical definition of what is and is not rebellion behavior. Suffice it to say, wanting to wear makeup or shave your legs, contrary to homeschool group standards, is not teenage rebellion.
One thing I especially loved was Rebecca’s approach to logical consequences within parenting. Training children up in her articulation is more about learning and growth rather than punishment or a power struggle. While her take on some subjects may be controversial, in particular in the Southern states, she uses empirical data and personal accounts to back up her thesis.
Something she noted that really stuck with me because it was something that I noted in my own book and that is the importance of balance. In many of the cases that Rebecca looked at where children rebelled, there was either a lack of rules or too many rules. Neither of these approaches are healthy or conducive to well-rounded children. Too few rules don’t give any boundaries for which a child can thrive in. Too many rules are often accompanied by the rules often being ill-explained. In addition to that, the parents of these households often voice that they feel they should not have to explain themselves to their children. I am fond of this quote, while it isn’t directly relevant to parenting, I believe the sentiment can be applied,
“..If you give orders and explain nothing, you might get obedience, but you’ll get no creativity. If you tell them your purpose, then when your original plan is shown to be faulty, they’ll find another way to achieve your goal. Explaining to your men doesn’t weaken their respect for you, it proves your respect for them…”
–Orson Scott Card, Shadow of the Giant
There is also the matter of self-fulfilling prophecies in parenting that I was happy to see was included in the content of Rebecca’s book. I have seen this sort of thing happen with purity culture where a parent did not trust their child to be sexually pure, so after so long of being put on and nagged by a parent, a child would intentionally lose their virginity to fit with the narrative their parents had for them.
Why I Didn’t Rebel touches on some things to do right as well, like showing authenticity as a parent and being real with your children. You don’t have to keep up an air of perfection for your children, in fact, it benefits them when you don’t.
Rebecca’s book presents a holistic approach to parenting based on authenticity, logic, balance, and our identity in Jesus.
Why I Didn’t Rebel is a must-read message of hope and healing that I would recommend for both Christian parents and adolescents. Rebecca has a website that details all the goodies you get if you pre-order the book as well as some blurbs and content by yours truly. I highly recommend checking it out!