Focus on the Family

Loving Your Prodigal

What to do when your teen rebels

by Jeanette Gardner Littleton

"I don't have to put up with this. I'm outa here!" Amber stomped to her room.

I don't remember what the issue was, but a couple of hours later Amber was gone. Several frantic days later, we discovered that our high school senior was living with two older guys.

Amber isn't the first child, and certainly won't be the last, to abandon the values he or she was raised with. Sometimes children question their faith in a way that can be nerve-wracking for parents but is a natural part of growing up and making faith their own. At other times, kids make a series of bad choices but don't walk away from God. Some kids, however, rebel against parents, God and anyone else who gets in their way.

No matter the scenario, it can be a time of stress, anxiety and heartbreak.

What should a parent do when a child goes astray?

Meanwhile, keep the big picture in mind.

As you continue to love and pray for your child, have faith that your child is God's work in progress.