With the barrage of bad news in the country right now, it’s easy for parents to feel increasingly frightened. Many have told me over the past months that they feel like giving up.
With the barrage of bad news in the country right now, it’s easy for parents to feel increasingly frightened. Many have told me over the past months that they feel like giving up. Raising kids—especially teens—in a world filled with violence, sexual imagery everywhere, and stories about kids taking meth can just about put a parent over the edge. We seem to do pretty well until our kids hit age 8. Then, the fear begins to settle in, and we start to feel the loss of control over their lives. Our daughters refuse to wear cute dresses. Our sons don’t want trucks; they want video games. Their friends invite them for the afternoon and a parent pops in a PG-13 movie for them to watch. Bad stuff streams at our kids all the time.
When our kids hit the teen years, we hear about sex, drugs, and alcohol. Deep down, we think that there’s really nothing we can do about these things. We believe that our kids are going to do what they want, and we should simply pray for them to get through those tough years relatively unscathed. Fear takes over and causes us to think like crazy people.
So let me give you a hefty dose of reality so that, hopefully, you can bat some of that paralyzing fear from your mind:
» First, you win. All of the great research shows that it is parents—not television, movies, actors, professional athletes, musicians, or even friends—who hold the most profound influence over their children. That means that yes, your son or daughter will be exposed to a whole lot of bad stuff, and yes, that will have an influence. But, none will compare with the influence you have. The reason is simple. Your kids are connected to you by a need-based love, which has been there from the beginning of their lives. They need you to love them. Therefore, they will do whatever it takes to get that love. This need drives their behavior. Since they don’t need the approval or love from other adults (even if they’re on a movie screen), these folks hold very little long-term power.