My son was sitting beside me on the couch as I settled in with my laptop to write this submission. I have so many topics I could share about regarding parenting my two children who are now in their 20s. We’ve survived domestic violence at the hands of their biological father, my first husband. They’ve grown up with a chronically ill mother. We’ve faced some serious challenges. I could share about how we navigated any one of them.
But when my son asked what I was writing about, I replied that I wanted to encourage other Christian mothers and choose a topic that would be relatable and helpful. He immediately suggested I share about coming through for your children from a Christian perspective and I instantly knew that he was right.
We know as Christians that this world is not supportive of our kids. One thing after another is coming at our children: social media, bullying, a multitude of options, body issues, and the like. The time they can simply be children is shorter than perhaps ever before because they’re facing adult issues early on in a world that is in a great hurry for them to grow up.
As parents we need to be diligent to combat these forces coming at our children seeking to steal their innocence, confuse them, and battle against them at every turn. As parents it is vital we instill the Word into our children. For awhile they’re learning from our faith, but eventually they find their own faith in Jesus. Along the way, it is our responsibility to keep them in a church where they will be fed, one where there is a robust youth program that will draw them in and where they can share whatever they may be struggling with and experience the safety and support of this type of community. And of course, they should be learning scripture right at home as well.
When my kids were in their teens, we changed churches. The church we’d been attending for a few years had lost its youth leaders and with no new program in sight, my husband and I followed God’s lead to our current church. We knew that if our kids started to become bored of church or stopped wanting to attend, it would be a problem. The tween and teen years are pivotal for kids to be involved in church. Statistically, if corporate worship isn’t made a priority in their family during those important years, they won’t make it a priority once they’re out on their own.
We made a conscious choice that nothing would take the place of Sunday morning worship. Not friends, not sports, not sleeping in. Thankfully, our children were on board with that, especially in our new church where they felt welcomed and included right away.
Another way to come through for your children is to be involved in their lives. When ages become appropriate, we allow our kids more and more freedom. But not too much. They’re not adults yet and not equipped to make adult decisions. As I mentioned, the world is coming for your kids and we are their first line of defense. The Full Armor and scripture are our biggest weapons and greatest modes of protection for them.
Get involved with your kids. Volunteer to help at their schools and activities. Be available and let them know you are. Talk to them. Often. One thing I learned was you as a parent can tell when something is wrong with your child. Even if they say “nothing’s wrong”, you know. Don’t let it go at that. Give them space, of course, but persist gently. More often than not, they really do want to talk about it, and they want you to ask. They’re just figuring out how to express themselves. Be involved and set parameters about what they can watch, listen to, and what apps they can utilize. Educate yourself about the apps because what sounds innocent isn’t necessarily.
We had a staunch rule that there were no computers behind closed doors and we stuck to that until our kids were in college and adults. No child needs privacy with a computer or tablet. It opens too many doors for them to see things they can’t unsee. The temptation and curiosity are just too great so create that boundary that protects them from the opportunity.
We are our children’s greatest protectors. Parent how you feel led from God to parent. Only you know your children and can gauge what level of strictness is appropriate and it may change from one of your children to the next. Be involved. Be available. Be open. Talk to them a lot. Show up to their activities and school conferences and make it your business to know what’s going on in their lives and who their friends are. I can’t express enough how important it is. They’re not little adults. They’re children and our prayers and guidance will make all the difference. Put the full armor on and keep your babies prayed up.