Parents NOT Peers

Parents of Teens:

This online journal entry began, earlier today, as a short Facebook post but as I got more & more into it, I realized that God was trying to say something bigger & more urgently than I first realized. So, I've brought the FB post here so that it can be resourced to more people and remain relevant & useful after today's Facebook news drifts into the massive sea of random information.

First of all, let me say, I'm the parent of two middle schooler boys and a daughter who just graduated from high school. I've also raised two other daughters now married and in their 20's.  So yeah,  trust me when I say I KNOW that the enemy is after our kids & ultimately our family! He'll do anything to distract, disrupt, rip-off, disillusion, destroy and kill the generation that's meant to pound him!

So many of our teens are engaging in devious & deceptive social groups and/or involved, at some level, in porn. Video games, social media and unlimited video content is at their finger tips constantly. It's NOT harmless.

Things done secretly inside ultimately have a sneaky way of getting out and becoming even worse.

Like anything addictive, a little always becomes a little more until all at once there's crisis because it's become all consuming! Please don't wait for this to happen.

Be alert -- Be proactive -- Be like Jesus.

Here are 10 signs of concern:
-- note: I'm not saying that this confirms your worst fears but it may, at least, expedite your need to take some precautionary steps. Please read on.

  1. Is your student's browser history "empty" (meaning erased) or are there private browsing tabs?
  2. Is your teen spending lots of unsupervised time online, especially at night? Do you have a "unplug/offline" curfew?
  3. Is your kid taking mobile device into the bathroom for long amount of time? Note: you may need to leave yours outside the bathroom too.
  4. Does your student escalate to angry extremely quick at the mention of church, reading the bible, prayer, etc.?
  5. Does your student quickly put down his device, close the laptop or change the channel when you enter the room?
  6. Has your teen started to exhibit sudden changes in behavior? Nervous? Avoiding eye contact? Over-sleeping?
  7. Has there been a change in hygiene? Showers more? Showers less. Appearance is messy/random or the opposite, obsessed & complained about?
  8. Is your teen more withdrawn from regular social activities and family gatherings?
  9. Do you notice your kid being constantly sad, moody, angry or depressed?
  10. In your parent heart, are there alarms going off??

So, what do you do? IF you've neglected getting involved, stop the pity party and self-blame and do something TODAY.

  • Prayer is key. It's the starting point. Listen more here. IF it's weird for you kids to have you put your hands on them when you pray -- sneak in and pray while they sleep (I've done this for over 25 years).
  • God's Word is next. It's the wisdom & voice of God. Don't just read it, NEED IT! Our family is going through a one-year reading plan via bible.com (which is available on all devices) - no we don't sit down, all cheesy, and do it at one time but we each do it and post our highlights & comments so the others can see it.
  • And, then, the really tough part: be the parent not the peer. Truth spoke in love. And action motivated by standards not suspicions. Have a place where mobile devices are stored/charged. Be able to unlock any mobile device (finger print, passcode, etc).
    -- teen may say, "why don't you trust me?" but that is a two-way street, and you can simply respond, "do you trust me? Let's look, discuss and come up with more accountability together."
    -- you pay the bill on these devices, be sure you also don't pay a much higher price for ignoring how they're being used.
  • Lastly, get connected with other parents - especially those that share your values!  Talk, pray, encourage, educate, socialize and love together! Model a healthy social group to your teens.

There are lots of programs & software that you can purchase and put on devices that will monitor certain things -- there's also certain settings and passcodes you can put on your teens mobile devices. The ball's in your court...

Research. Be proactive. Don't wait any longer.

I'm realizing more & more that my call to Revolution Youth Communitymay have much more, than I first thought, to do with parenting support and discipleship. I'm seeking God on how to move forward with this!

PLEASE KNOW: you're not alone.

Because YOUth Matter,
Chilly