The Scriptures tell us the world is no friend of ours. It is especially not a friend to our children. Lately, I’ve been paying more attention to the culture our children are living in and it is downright frightening. I try my best to protect my five year old daughter from the media and other cultural so called norms that I don’t find normal. It isn’t easy! For example, when we’re in the car I’m very careful about what I expose her to on the radio. We listen to a Christian station, a jazz station and we are often popping one of her CDs in. However, to my dismay she still hears about other singers such as Lady Gaga and inquires about her. I simply tell her that she’s five and Lady Gaga isn’t appropriate for her to listen to. Amazingly enough she has said her other friends are allowed to listen to her, and I have to explain that parents have different rules for their kids and these are my rules. Sadly, I’ve realized that we can only shield our children so much from the pop culture that is taking over our world. We do have the power to teach our children to make good choices and expose them to a Christian lifestyle.
Here are a few of ways we can help them in a world that isn’t so friendly.
Keep Communication Lines Open
Everyone wants to shield their children, and sometimes there are conversations we all wish we could avoid. However, by avoiding those conversations we’re opening the door to trouble. Our children need to feel comfortable in coming to us to talk about anything. If you don’t have an open door 24 hour policy it is easier for kids to sneak around and become secretive. The key to any good relationship is communication. The quickest was for a family meltdown is to stop talking. Talk about what is going on at school, why a television program is inappropriate, or why your rules are possibly different from their friends’ parent’s rules. Schedule frequent family meetings and one on one time with your kids to discuss how they’re feeling about issues that affect them
Be a Parent
So many parents are worried about being the cool parent or best friends with their children they forget that parenting involves being a disciplinarian, saying no and establishing rules with consequences. So what if everyone is doing it? That doesn’t mean your family has to do it. Children need structure, rules, and discipline. When they know you’re wavering as a parent they’ll push the boundaries. Our job is to protect and equip them to make good choices. They have friends in school at home they need parents.
Keep them Involved in Church
Church and fellowship is a wonderful way for families to form bonds and establish unity. When children go to church they’re given a spiritual foundation and are surrounded by others who share the same values, principals, and belief system. They have a reference outside of school that tells them it’s okay not to drink, or be promiscuous, or be part of the in crowd. When they are involved in the church they have a support group to turn to when the world is urging them down a problematic path.
Allow Your House to Be the Hub
The last thing you may want to hear at the end of the workday is a bunch of kids in your house. However, be the home where kids want to gather. I’m not saying you have to spy on them, but it is a way for you to be involved in their life, to be acquainted with their peers and their parents. You can also control what is going on in your house and that never hurts the cause!
Teach Them About Consequences
It’s always a good time until someone gets hurt. The problem I have with many of television programs are they make everything look so fun, so adventuresome and glamorous, but they rarely show the real consequences. Have those hard talks about consequences. When your kids go outside the boundaries you’ve established don’t hesitate on handing down the consequences. Don’t just tell them no explain what can happen. Don’t just say you shouldn’t drink, explain the consequences. If need be find an example and expose your kids to the hard facts.
Encourage Them To Turn Toward God
No matter what we do God is protecting our children. Encourage them to turn to God. If they find themselves in a position where they need to make a difficult choice teach them to pray. You may not be there and they have to be equipped with that knowledge. God is their refuge and the scriptures are their blueprint. Express this to them as much as possible and be an example to them when you’re encountering a hard time. Let them see you pray and turn to the bible. You are their greatest example.
I feel for our children, they’re growing up in a tough world where there exposed to much more than we ever were. Remember that it’s okay to say no, to set standards, and to be different. Our kids need our guidance and our strength as parents. They’re going to face temptation and choices that make the hair on our neck stand up, but at the end of the day the most effective thing we can do for our children is pray and not waver in our stance as Christian parents.
Copyright © Chere Williams, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved