Are you a parent of teens or young adults? What are some of your twenty-first century parental concerns or fears? Some findings from the ninth annual survey of the top child health concerns conducted by the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital were published this week. Parents rate childhood obesity, bullying and drug abuse as their top child health concerns in the United States.
As we know, the subjects of internet safety and sexting have been in the news a lot recently. According to the survey results, adults ranked internet safety as child health concern number 4; sexting is number 6. The latter made the biggest change in rating between last year and this year. Last year, it ranked number 13.
How things have changed since I was a teen. Childhood obesity was certainly not in the news in the ‘70s. We didn’t have computers, smart phones, and remote TV controllers. (Oh, wait, that‘s why we didn’t have internet safety and sexting concerns. They did not exist back then.) Having no access to these, we played outside sports more. The result was less obesity.
A few bullies existed in my high school days. But now we even have cyber bullies! It should be abundantly clear that parenting today has become more complex. This complexity will become more pronounced with time. But it is not hopeless. Here are some things Christian parents can do to help their teens and young adults stay on track.
One, of course, is we need to pray for our children daily. We can’t always be with them. But God can. He can guide their thoughts and order their steps. He can give His angels charge to keep our children. Let us be bold in praying for God to do these things on our behalf. He has given us this authority in the matchless name of His Son Jesus.
Two, we need to teach our children the ways of the Lord. In his day, Moses said to the parents: “These words, which I command you this day, shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently unto your children….” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7). Nothing has changed in this regard. We now live in a world where there is a serious blurring of the line between right and wrong. Void of the knowledge of the Word of God, our children will have no basis for sound decision-making. They will lack the only standard by which all human conduct can be properly assessed.
Three, we need to be proactive in helping our children become responsible with the technologies they have access to. The conversations we need to have include proper privacy settings on social media sites, what kind of personal information to never give out, the dangers of predators on the internet, etc. Also, we need to limit the amount of time our children spend with the digital technology and social media they use.
Finally, as parents, the digital world of our children is not off limits to us. We have the right and responsibility to engage them about their secret world of cyberspace and social media. We must never abandon our parental authority in dealing with our children.
Sounds challenging? It is. But with God on our side, we can do this.
Copyright © 2015 by Frank King. All rights reserved.