It’s hard for me to witness the slide into corruption and immorality that I witness in American culture.
I wonder about my grandkids growing up in this ambience.
Eventually I return to my belief in a Sovereign God and know that He has equipped each generation of parents with the resources they need for spiritual warfare in their times.
One way to push back the darkness is to surround our kids with what is lovely and good.
Leaving our kids open to what others want to teach them is not a good idea.
Guarding their hearts and minds is a sacred trust.
The truth is, each child must choose their own path. But, we can guide, instruct, train and impact during the formative years.
Believe that you know what’s best for them
When kids put up a fuss, it’s hard to stand your ground and follow through with what you know is best for them. Don’t forget that their beliefs come from a limited world view.
Going to bed on time is good for them, even if they fight it.
Stick to your guns. Kids feel more secure when they know there are firm boundaries.
Drinking water or milk is good for them, even though sugary drinks are so enticing.
They don’t understand the fundamental differences between sugar and vegetables. You do.
You understand that limiting their pleasure in the right circumstances results in their gain.
You have the vantage point of wisdom and experience that they don’t have.
The same thing applies to other areas of your kids’ lives. What they put into their minds is even more important than what they are ingesting into their bodies.
The music they listen to, the movies they watch, and the books they read feed their minds. It’s important that they are feeding their minds truth, not lies.
Do research about entertainment
Surrounding our kids with the good and the lovely means doing some extra research about the books, movies and music that’s available. As kids get older and start making their own choices, it means discussions and instructions about how to discern what is wrong and right.
Redeemed Reader and Read Aloud Revival have good book lists. CommonSense Media has a lot of reviews to help parents know about content of books and movies.
Set a good example
Many things are better caught than taught and setting a good example for our kids about what we surround ourselves with helps them to choose the good and the lovely for themselves.
Teach them to be discerning
Mama Bear Apologetics calls this “chew and spit”. Although it’s an admittedly gross analogy, it gets across the point that kids need evaluate ideas that people are feeding them and reject the bad ones.
Read more about Mama Bear Apologetics here.
Get on the same team with your spouse
Marriage is a tricky business. So many factors are in play with decision making and co-parenting.
Get on the same page with your spouse ahead of time so you can be united in drawing the lines and outlining the expectations.
If you are a single parent, building a support network is important. Pick people to help who have the same values you do.
As they get older your kids need input from other adults with your values
Get them involved in groups and activities that support your values, but give them enough space to be themselves.
Choose churches, schools and activities that reinforce what you are teaching.
A child’s interests and activities are important for developing a sense of identity. Read my post on developing a sense of identity.
It’s a chance for them to find out who they are, what they’re good at and what they enjoy. Different activities gives them a chance to try on a new personna and see if it fits.
They also get to know the people in this space—the experts, gurus and coaches. How do they fit into this world? Are they drawn to it magnetically? Or is it an uncomfortable fit— time to move on and find something else?
It also gives them a chance to spread their wings of independence, especially in an area of expertise outside of their parents’ realm.
Pray for them
Praying for your kids is not a magical way to make everything turn out all right, but it is a critical weapon of spiritual warfare.
If you’re not sure where to start, I wrote about How to Start Praying for Your Kids.