Parents, wake up. Yes, I am talking to you.
What do I know? Who cares that I have a large piece of paper hanging in a frame on my wall. That was years and years of books and other children that are nothing like your child, right? Yes, my children are still enamored with the Mickey Mouse character on my youngest child’s diapers. I get it. I am young and have never been in your proverbial shoes as a parent of a preteen or teenager. However, I have been a teenager in today’s culture, not that long ago; I am not naive or immune to the issues.
Are you sitting there reading this and saying “nope, not my kid.” Well, I am sorry to overstep any boundaries between us, but you are wrong. Hey, maybe you are not as naive as some of your fellow parents. If this is the case, help me out here.
Your child knows more than you think they do. Guess what? Most of that so-called “knowledge” is made up of half-truths and downright lies.
I am talking drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, mental illnesses, suicide, self harm, etc. You think you are protecting them from things in life by shielding them from the ugly reality of our world, but I can promise you that they have already been introduced to these things in some form or another.
Who is giving them all of this information? Television, music, video games, movies, social media, and their peers in the lunch room, playground, and even home-school group comes to mind. High school, middle school, and sadly elementary school has become something that none of us experienced “back in the day.” Children are learning about these things earlier and earlier than ever before. We can pretend all we want that this is not happening, but the fact of the matter is, it is happening without your consent and there is nothing you can do to stop it from being promoted by our culture. Believe me when I say that I understand that you want to keep your child young and innocent for as long as you possibly can, but the truth is, they have already been exposed, often without your knowledge. Burying your head in the sand and blocking out everything will only make it worse as time goes by. Believe me, I have the tshirt courtesy of experience.
So, what do you do about it?
Wake up and join the conversation! First be honest with yourself and then your child about these things. I am not writing this to scare anybody, but we have to start somewhere.
Speak up. Speak out. Invite honesty and vulnerability to the table of conversation. Trust me, it is worth it. It is necessary. It begins at home.
The church, in general, avoids many controversial topics, but please be aware that not many other avenues do. Children, of all ages, are like sponges and they will soak up whatever information is available to them.
I am not saying that I have all the answers. I am in no way saying that. I am merely begging, beseechingly so, all parents to have conversations with your children about the controversial topics, about the hard and difficult things in life, before someone else gets to them first.