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.
- Is your student's browser history "empty" (meaning erased) or are there private browsing tabs?
- Is your teen spending lots of unsupervised time online, especially at night? Do you have a "unplug/offline" curfew?
- 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.
- Does your student escalate to angry extremely quick at the mention of church, reading the bible, prayer, etc.?
- Does your student quickly put down his device, close the laptop or change the channel when you enter the room?
- Has your teen started to exhibit sudden changes in behavior? Nervous? Avoiding eye contact? Over-sleeping?
- Has there been a change in hygiene? Showers more? Showers less. Appearance is messy/random or the opposite, obsessed & complained about?
- Is your teen more withdrawn from regular social activities and family gatherings?
- Do you notice your kid being constantly sad, moody, angry or depressed?
- 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,