I have been learning a hard lesson over the last several years. It is this: There is no magic formula for raising your children. I, like many others, somehow bought into the idea that if I raised my children a certain way, if we home educated, if we were careful of their OUTSIDE influences, etc...we would get the expected outcome, which is of course a perfect, christian child. Of course, they would speak foreign languages, play multiple musical instruments, test 8 levels above their grade... I know you KNOW what I mean.
This is a fallicy.
Of course we are careful parents. We love our children and want them to thrive in a warm and loving atmosphere. We want them to be able to learn to their hearts content. We want them to pick friends that are on the same path that they (or we their parents) are on.
But what to do when they determine to go their own way? What to do when they really aren't interested in learning? Anything. Seriously.
We have a child like this who by the grace of God did graduate from our homeschool last year. He really isn't a child anymore, and in many ways is mature. He however has chosen a path that we didn't raise him to want. He was influence in two ways by other "Christian home educated kids."
1. This influence is painful, as it involves other kids from Christian families, picking on others. These are kids who on the outside look like perfect angels, but have the need to tear other kids down. You see it at churches, youth groups etc...
2. Is almost worst. It is the Christian kid who seems to be walking with the Lord, says all the right things, and yet they are on a path that doesn't glorify God. This kind of kid, seems to your child to be more "spiritual" than themselves or the others who have influence in their life. It is a subtle influence because the child sees this one as someone who cares and they want to emulate this kind of person. They feel like the compromises must be ok, because this kid is "Better" than they are.
These influences really hurt a sensitive child. They cause anger. Now, they don't have to choose anger and bitterness. It is their choice. I am just saying that these are influences in the child's life and what it can lead to.
The Key to parenting your children is to walk closely to the Lord yourself. Talk to Him constantly about your children and what areas He wants you to work on in their lives. What does He want to teach you through it, etc... I have learned that God is Sovereign. He will take your child down necessary paths for your child. He loves them and has all their days planned for them. Your struggles are no surprise to him. Trust Him and hold on to Him tightly.
God Bless you all.