September 07, 2006

What'll It be; Parent or Peer?

It’s September and that means the beginning of school as well other semi-year round routines for the typical family with school aged children. For many churches, it means the beginning of another year of youth groups with a new crop of kids who have come of age and are entering their junior high/senior high programs.

So moms and dads, what I want to know today is whether you are going to be a parent to your child this year, or a peer?

Parents tell their children what to do because they know what is best. Oh, sure there is an appropriate time and way to encourage your child’s autonomy and decision making processes but that doesn’t mean absenting yourself or your authority from their lives. It means helping them come to good decisions that will benefit them, but when they fail to see wisdom, it means exercising your parental authority—again, at an age appropriate level--and if need be, making them do what is good and right.

A peer does no such thing. A peer doesn’t want to jeopardize the relationship so the peer usually goes along with what the other one wants lest he or she becomes angry and storms off.

So, moms and dads, what’ll it be this year; parent or peer? You can start by laying a foundation of routine that includes regular attendance of your child at their youth group. And when they pitch a fit about how boring it is, or how the kids are snobs, or how the snacks are crummy, remember, you’re the parent; you don’t need their approval and you can MAKE them do what is good for them, even if they don’t particularly like it!

Let’s face it, if you were given the choice of vinegar or Moxie…Okay, bad example, the choice between cauliflower or a fudge tort, which would you choose? I don’t mean to imply that youth groups are painful for a child but children by nature tend to be negative and if given the choice between a Friday night with their “friends” hanging out or going to “church,” they will choose their friends. So get tough! These are the last couple years of influence you and the church will have on your child, for heaven’s sake, and theirs--take advantage of it!


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