This past week at Southern Hills, Shannon finished the “Adulting” series talking about parenting. I would encourage you to listen if you missed it. It is solid teaching when it comes to parenting biblically.
My takeaway: It is never too late to lead and disciple your child. With that in mind, I’d like to share four fundamental practices to parents.
1. Know who your child is hanging out with and being influenced by. It’s not just ok, it’s your job to look into the social media platforms of your own child and their friends. See what they are posting on Snapchat and Instagram.
Get to know their friends on a personal level as well, and let them get to know you. Build a relationship with them. You never know what your relationship with your teenager’s friends may lead them not to do.
I would encourage you to take it a step further and get to know the parents of your child’s friends as well. You don’t have to become best friends, but simply being in the presence of parents can teach you a lot about your child’s friends.
2. It’s ok to not know what you don’t know, but it’s not ok to stay there. Become a student of your child’s culture. It definitely takes work to stay ahead of the game, but it is one of your jobs as a parent. There are awesome sites like Growing Leaders and Center for Parent and Youth Understanding to help educate you. Our SoHills Student Ministry team is constantly reading books that would also be of help to you in teaching your children. If you’d like to know what we’re reading, email me!
3. If you don’t teach your kids, someone else will. I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had with teenagers where the dominate teacher in their life is either a coach, teacher, a friend, or even media. If you are not the primary teacher in your child’s life, someone or something will be.
If you are learning and understanding your child’s culture, and if you are keenly attuned to who your child is befriending, this significantly helps you to be the primary teacher in your kid’s life. Recently I heard a parent say, “I will not allow that coach to speak to my child like that anymore, and so we removed him from the situation.” This is awesome! The parent was taking responsibility for who was going to have influence in their child’s life. You must guard your kids against influences that may undo in a season what you have been teaching for years, while also equipping those who disciple your child.
4. Let your child know why you do what you do. When a student pushes back and tests the boundaries you create, it may not be because they are being rebellious, but just because they want to know why. Teach your child why you want to know their friends, why you want to understand their culture, and why God has placed you in their life as their primary teacher. Explaining the why may save you a lot of trouble.