Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
Every parent is under terrible pressure in today’s fast-paced culture. The demands of jobs, maintaining a house, keeping up with financial commitments, church responsibilities, and trying to raise a family keep us running at breakneck speed. As a result, too many kids are regularly left at home to care for themselves (41 percent of children ages twelve to fourteen, according to the U.S. Census Bureau). It’s no wonder that we are sometimes barely aware of what our kids are doing day to day. In an immoral culture, that can be disastrous.
Lonely and energetic adolescents in this situation are especially vulnerable to the worldly influence of peers. Their need for acceptance by friends at this time is overwhelming. To protect your children from these potential dangers, we urge you to stay close to them. Know who their friends are; have them over for dinner or a family activity. Talk to your kids about your spiritual beliefs and values. Explain the impact of peer pressure and how difficult it can be to go against the wishes of the group. Then remind them of God’s position in Romans 12:2: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”
Your encouragement at this critical time can help assure good character in your kids—no mater what company they keep.
How well do you know your children’s friends?
How can you initiate conversations to get to know them?
How much unsupervised time do your kids have each week?
O God, we want to encourage our children as they enter the difficult years of adolescence. Grant us the wisdom to guide and lead them with eternity’s values in mind, and to show that Your acceptance is all we ever need. Amen.
Statistic from “Census Bureau Says 7 Million Grade-School Children Home Alone,” U.S. Census Bureau, 31 October 2000. http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2000/cb00-181.html (accessed 16 July 2002).