Read that title repeatedly till it sinks in. We live in a fast-paced world, and if you, being a Christian parent, have the goal to model teens sold out to God, you cannot afford to leave things to chance.
I’ll tell you a story. Rhema (not real name) is one of the teens under my tutelage. We were discussing on a cool morning, and she made a statement that made my heart so heavy. She said she couldn’t tell her mother certain things because she will misconstrue everything and turn it against her. According to her, her mother sometimes turns a counselling session into bouts of shouts and accusations. Her mother’s reaction made her confide in her spiritual father instead.
You can imagine a parent calling her daughter ‘queen of lesbians’ just because of her assumptions. This is a girl trying everything she can to be in her mother’s good book. As confused as she is about many things: choice of career, relationships and others, she cannot confidently talk to either of her parents for fear of them blowing things out of proportion.
My concern is the spiritual father, not with the news of child molestation making rounds in the world. We cannot always be with them all the time, but the little time we get to spend with them should be highly utilized to instil strong morals in them.
Well, I wouldn’t know the mother’s pattern of raising her children, and I am not in any place of authority to question it. But, what I want to bring out of her statement is the need, the high need for parents, caregivers and guardians to leave an open door for their kids to relate with them.
Shutting them out will only do one thing, expose them to outside influence, which might be detrimental to their development. I discuss a lot of things with my teens. Sometimes, I deliberately start conversations on issues they can’t comfortably discuss.
Except you want the world to help you do what you ought to do, then you do know better than to silence them away when they come with their barrel of questions. You don’t act paranoid when they bring stories of boys and girls engaging in boyfriend/girlfriend relationships. Instead, use such discussion to educate them on what they should prioritize at this stage of their lives.
I serve in a teenage church and periodically bring up seminars around topical issues like relationships. We listen to all their rants and misconceptions about relationships. There is no better way to know what belief system they hold dear if they don’t let it off their chest. And so, when they say their mind, we guide them with the word of God. Sometimes, they make faces like they swallowed some bitter pill, but the message has been passed.
This is a clarion call, be your child’s best friend. Let them bring all the dirty and not so dirty stories. Sieve them and enlighten them through those stories. We are trying to guide against them getting non-valid information from the wrong sources: something you could have done yourself and that better.
There is a great danger if your child gets counsel from their peers. Those peers are trying to figure out life the same way that child is trying to. What counsel can they possibly give? This is the reason you must be very deliberate on your child’s upbringing. You don’t leave it to chance.
Be very deliberate about it. Be a trustworthy source of information. Don’t shy away from any topic. Would you please do your research and get ready for them because they sure will bombard you with questions?
You’ve got a lot of experience while growing up. However good or bad it is, use those experiences to guide them right!
Do all of these, but do not make them regret coming to confide in you in the first place. Do not!
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