This week in USA Today a shocking story hit the press that will influence our teens. Many Americans are well aware that sleeping together early in the dating relationship is almost a given for a lot of teens. TV and movies portray this as normal behavior and it has influenced more than a generation. As parents we might caution our kids and tell them sex is for marriage, but when pressure from the culture is hitting them from all directions at a time when they are taking steps toward independence, who will they listen to?
According to the latest survey of single Millennials (remember that this includes our 18 year olds) over 1/3 of this demographic had sex before they decided if they want to spend time with that person! It is as if the act of sex is an interview for compatibility. Sex is no longer considered the intimate part of the relationship.
Like it or not our kids are not only being influenced by their peers, but if they have teachers and coaches they look up to, they are being influenced by them as well. If the teacher or coach is in the under 34 age range and is single, they fall in that Millennial generation of values.
A mom recently shared a story about what was happening in their high school. A contracted school nurse, a Millennial, had an open door policy especially for the athletes. She would openly coach these boys on “how to get the girl” and would even go as far as arrange dates for these kids. She was seen hooking kids up at the mall and sometimes hanging out with them.
Think of the influence.
Like it or not the values of these adult figures will greatly impact how our kids see the world.
We need to remember that the world our kids live in is not the world we grew up in.
So what can you do to counter the culture in a way that will better align your tweens and teens values with your family values?
- Stay on your knees – daily. And be sure to tell your kids that you are praying for them.
- Share articles like the one linked above. Kids need to know what they will face in the world and what your values are. Talk about the world they live in.
- Talk to them early. Too many times as parents we fail to have these conversations early enough. If your kid knows what sex is, then stories like this as well as sex or dating on TV and in movies is a great place to start. What I hear most often from parents is that they waited too late because they wanted to protect their child’s innocence. It is more important to talk to them young when they are willing to listen and learn from you.
- Share what Scripture has to say. If kids have a good relationship with you and a solid foundation for their values, they are more likely to stand up to the influences around them.
- Be honest with your kids. Tell them your concerns about their future. Share your regrets or some of the regrets of your friends or family members.
- Role play. If your kids are willing, role play situations they might find themselves in or maybe some they have already been in. Teach them the skills and build their confidence to counter the peer pressure.
- Build relationship. Even though our kids are reaching for independence, if we choose to interact with them in a respectful manner, the relationship will still be maintained and our kids will want to emulate us.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Last night my husband and I were watching a Netflix episode of a police drama. One of the single dad cops was trying to figure our who was targeting a swim suit fashion model. Of course, the cop kills the guilty party and becomes the hero, but as the show comes to the finale, all the models start parading their bikini’s in a runway fashion show. And to my surprise, the cop’s 11 year old daughter is welcomed to the event with open arms and gets paraded backstage to hang out with the models in their dressing room.
And my thought became–“What parent in their right mind would do that?”
It is easy to get caught up in the world’s value system and the excitement of opportunity. As parents it is easy to get sucked into what other parents allow their kids to do without thinking of future impact. Letting go is not easy when the culture is encouraging a different mindset, but respectful communication can strengthen the odds that they’ll embrace your values.
Dare you to pay attention to who is influencing your kids and counter their culture with your influence by having discussions before the world does.
“Let go…and let God”,