Ask anyone who has worked retail for very long. There are parents whose children totally destroy everything in a store and they never correct them. These parents allow their kids to roam around leaving everything in disarray without expecting them to put things back. Sometimes, these same parents will look at the poor retail person (who must now spend the next thirty minutes restoring her store) with eyes or even words that say “Isn’t he/she adorable? Such a free spirit!”
Now don’t get me wrong, I have a strong free spirit streak myself. A true free spirit is one who doesn’t allow what people think of her art or charity work or whatever to stop her from doing what she knows is right. Unfortunately, the term free spirit has been taken by a group of people and changed into someone who does not follow rules. The rules of anyone. Even God.
In God’s language, that type of free-spiritedness is rebellion. Rebellion against God is a sin. Period. God is full of grace, but He also expects complete obedience. To disobey God is rebellion. To defiantly rebel against God’s commands never ends well. There are quite a few people in the Bible who could have testified to that in their own lives.
If you have a child whom you consider free spirited, please examine what behaviors and more importantly heart attitudes you are allowing that child to have. If it is allowing her to wear clashing clothes when she goes shopping with you, allow your child the freedom to be her color-clashing self. If however, you told her to wear a specific outfit and she shows up wearing something else, that is rebellion and must be corrected.
Be careful though, that the rules you make are ones which need to exist. Don’t set up a situation where you dictate something which your child should be allowed to choose freely. Allow him or her to express individuality in areas that don’t disobey God’s commands or principles and are age appropriate.
Addressing your child’s rebellion instead of allowing it to continue under the excuse of your child being “free-spirited” will ultimately make your parenting job much easier. And when your child has to make decisions between obeying God or rebelling against God’s commands, he may be much more likely to make a good choice.