WOW!!! The infiltration of unGodliness in this world (even in our Christian schools) is worse than you can even imagine. I was recently out perusing my daughter’s MySpace and her friends Spaces as well… many of which I have known since ages as young as 3. I love them all – almost as if they were my own… and much of what I see breaks my heart and heightens my fear as we head into the infamous highschool years.
Luckily my daughter isn’t really into MySpace so there isn’t much action on her page, but on many of the kid’s pages there are comments from friends with occurrences of profanity over and over again. Many have so many comments you have to wonder if it is an addiction. On one friend’s page I was shocked to hear the most sexually explicit lyrics in a song that I have ever heard in my life – It was hard to listen to as one married for 15 years let alone from the innocent ears of 14-year-olds. On other pages I see pictures the kids have posted which are a bit more revealing than young girls (or anyone) should be. I read comments about boys in our Christian school who asked middle school girls if they would consider having sex. What an eye opener!!!
I’ve always strived to do what is right in raising my children – sending them to Christian school – carefully monitoring movies – attempting to censor tv – talking to my daughter about purity and waiting – even for the first kiss... Through all that hard work the sexual revolution is breaking through starting with some of the very children that I have come to know and love. I am not naive – I know it is going on and luckily I am engrained enough in her life that if something were going on that she didn’t share, her friends would let me in on the secret.
I am new with my own teenagers, but I have worked with youth since I was one myself! (nearly 15 years – how time flies). If I could give every parent tips for raising their teenagers, this is what I would say…
1) Get to know your teenager – (you need information to influence your children in making wise decisions)
- Talk to your child. What are their likes and dislikes? Who do they like or don’t like and why? What is their favorite music? What do they do on the net? What activities do they enjoy and when is the last time you participated in it with them?
- Play their Ipod on the stereo in the car – there is more trash in music that you realize… You should know what they are filling their head with. Music is the devil’s way to sneak into the lives and thoughts of our children.
- Ask about their friends, who do they eat with, personality traits, which boys and girls are discussing inappropriate things. Did you know even in Christian schools there is a table where the “perverted” kids sit for lunch?
- Go places with your teenager where their friends are present.
- If she goes online, find out where – Do not let them have a website or social networking site without having the password. Randomly go online and see what is said to them, what they are seeing and hearing on their friend’s sites, what they are posting on their page, what music they are choosing to market who they are and what they like.
- Randomly pick up their phone and read their text messages. They delete many messages or their space will fill up, but they should know that you are present and you care what is going on in their world.
2) Get to Know your Teenager’s Friends – (you will find out what your child is really like when you are not around)
- Hang out with them… If you do that they will get to know you and will share a lot of interesting facts about your child, about themselves, and about other kids in their circle.
- Listen to what they say to each other – this will give you insight into which friends you should encourage more contact with and which you should discourage contact with.
3) Be Accepting – (Make sure your child knows your position – but accept them and the choices they make – all decisions and consequences they make are ultimately theirs and if you want to be a part of their decisions you need to be accepting enough for them to share what is going on in their lives. As the Bible teaches make sure you train your teen in the way she should go and when they are grown they will not depart from it)
- I was asked many times when my daughter had her first boyfriend, “Do you let her have a boyfriend?” and my response was always “I am not sure it is a case of let or not let as much as it is a case of whether I want her to tell me about it or not…” Kids will do what they want and all you can do is be a good role model, lead, guide, and pray. The time will ultimately come when you are not present or when they can sneak away. That is the critical moment where they need to be equipped with knowing what is right and what is wrong. They need to know why they shouldn’t do things and be prepared and confident in making the decision to follow the straight and narrow path.
4) Lead, Guide, and Pray for your Teenager and for Wisdom