Dear Christian parents of teenagers,
If you don’t know me, let me introduce myself.
I’m Rachelle. I am a mom to 3 boys (well, currently 5 boys and a girl because I am a foster mom as well.)
My two oldest are my biological boys and are 18 and almost 17. My adopted son just turned 10.
I am a pastor’s daughter and a pastor’s wife. I have worked in ministry myself since I was first married, and have spent tons of time with Christian teenagers as well as non-Christian teenagers.
I have spoken to countless moms who have had questions and concerns about many aspects of parenting.
Biblical parenting is my passion.
If you do not parent Biblically, feel free to skip right on past this post. No offense taken.
If you do parent Biblically, please keep reading and hear my heart.
I do not love where I see things going when it comes to Christian parenting as a whole. Certainly not all, but definitely many, are kind of shifting into manual mode. Whether it’s based on fear, on others opinions, or a variety of other things, I see parents backing off, keeping quiet and hoping for the best. I see Christian teenagers living lives that look painfully similar to any other run of the mill teenager.
I, for one, want better for my kids.
I am going to start with a passage from the Bible that has been really close to my heart since my boys were little.
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 is a command that says this – “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.”
A couple main things that stand out to me are:
1. These commands from God’s Word have to be in MY heart. They have to start with me. Raising godly kids in the world we live in, is not accomplished by dishing out rules and beliefs to your kids with no other thought.
They start with me. They start with you.
Your kids will know if your walk with God is real, or if it’s a show.
This means in literally every. single. aspect of life.
Every single one. There is nothing in my life that can not be held up to a Biblical grid and planned accordingly.
2. I have to teach these things diligently. That means with thought. With purpose. With a plan.
It means that I need to be thinking of ways I can build up my children, in every single aspect of life.
When we are sitting at home, when we are out, when they go to bed at night and as soon as they get up in the morning.
There is no holding back, there is no letting up.
With that being the premise of which I am writing, here’s what I have seen and why I just cant be silent about it anymore.
Christian teens are worldly.
There it is. I said it.
Christian teens today are worldly, and sometimes you parents have no idea that they are.
A couple years ago, I was with a group of women who were talking about and praying for their children.
It seemed so nice. So…like, the right, intentional thing to do.
And as I spoke with one particular mom, she told me how her daughter in college was doing.
She spoke so highly of her. How she was doing so well, serving Jesus, living a godly life.
What she apparently didn’t know was that I happened to follow her daughter on instagram.
I had seen (just that week) her daughter’s weekend partying.
Let’s just say…godly was not the word that came to my mind.
I am sure you’ve seen the statistics on a variety of topics concerning Christian teens and:
*Use of drugs
and on and on.
I don’t need to go crazy listing them out. You can look them up for yourself.
But as you look at the statistics, you will see that they are alarmingly high.
And when I say alarmingy, I mean…we should be alarmed.
In light of the fact that our beloved children are our living in a world where the enemy has gone from subtly trying to attack them, to blatantly attacking them, I think it is so vital that we take the time to realize that and make a decision on what we are going to do about it.
I have written about the enemy and the way he is fighting for our kids before, (you can read it here) but it is worth repeating.
The enemy is blatantly pulling our children away from the safety of a close, real relationship with Jesus.
I want to take a little time and get you thinking about how the enemy might be working, and what we are doing to make sure we don’t just sit back and allow it to happen right in front of our eyes.
Let me ask you a some questions, and be honest with yourself about the answers.
*Who does your teen follow on instagram?
*Who are your teen’s closest friends?
*What does your teen listen to for music?
*What does your teen’s personal devotional/prayer life look like?
*Where does your teen stand on the issues of abortion, same-sex relationships, sex outside of marriage, drug use?
*Would you feel comfortable asking your teen about all of these issues?
Here is why I am asking you to ask yourself these questions…
I don’t think parents are even thinking about this!
And I say that I don’t think they are, it’s because I am seeing that they are NOT!
I follow a lot of teenagers on insta, and it always intrigues me who they follow.
It interests me to see who they are posting about listening to for music, or what concert they are going to.
It is telling when they are posting pictures of themselves hanging out with certain people who I know don’t have a good reputation.
And just some of the profile NAMES of the people they follow, or the photos they are liking show an incredible amount about a person.
I don’t think I have the spiritual gift of discernment, but I do feel that we are all able to have discernment because of the working of the Holy Spirit.
And I can tell a lot about a person based on their instagram account alone.
Here is where I want to call on you Christian parents to step up, and be serious about the job you have as a parent.
Romans 12 talks about the importance of not conforming to the world but being transformed by the renewing of our mind.
Our mind has to be renewed so that we can discern what is right and what is wrong before a Holy God.
Let me tell you that everything starts with our thoughts.
The reason I even brought up instagram as an example is because the idea of instagram is to “mindlessly” scroll through images.
But what I would like to suggest, is that there is nothing mindless about it.
And the reason I asked if you knew who your teen followed on instragram, is because I believe strongly that the people they are allowing to be in front of their face (“mindlessly”) are desensitizing your teens.
Let me just say that again in case you missed it.
The accounts your teens are following are allowing the enemy to come into your home and desensitize your children to the point that every decision they now make on what they believe, what they think is right or wrong, is impacted greatly.
You may think I’m crazy.
I used to care, but now I don’t.
Call me crazy. Judge me if you want to.
I refuse to think that things are not that big of a deal if they could have the potential to become the biggest deal right under my nose.
What my kids watch, who they listen to, who they follow…we think it’s not that big of a deal. In fact, we may not even know much about it or think about it at all.
We think it’s not that big of a deal.
It is, parents. It is.
Stop believing that the concert you let them go to is just, well..you know teenagers!
Stop believing that the movies they are going to watch with their friends is just, well…you know teenagers!
Stop believing that that whole instachat, snapface, tictac thing (haha!) is just, well…you know teenagers!
No. We have a huge responsibility to raise our children to be God-fearing.
And sadly, as the mom of teenagers (who go to Christian school, I might add) I see FEW (and that is probably being generous)
other teenagers I would consider godly. VERY few. And honestly? I’m so tired from it. I’m tired from there being so few friends for my kids to pick from.
I go through phases of it breaking my heart, of me being frustrated, of being angry…but right now?
I am just asking you parents to step it up.
To stop acting like we have to just accept that well…”you know teenagers” as if there is nothing we can do about it!
No! That is an excuse for LAZY PARENTING!
Here is what I am calling you to do as a parent if you have not already.
1. Start with prayer and fill yourself with Scripture before you start this. Be sure that you are doing what God wants you to do in your own life and be open to changing what you need to change.
2. Check out who your kids are following on social media, what they are reading, what they are watching on netflix, on youtube, who they are listening to for music. (and check out all of the details of it. Look through the feed of the person they are following, look at the lyrics of the words to the music they are listening) Scroll through their texts. See what they’re talking about. Check the history on their phones. Be involved in what they are putting into their minds! Make sure you know what their reputation is.
3. Ask your teens what their beliefs are on those topics that I mentioned earlier, and ask where they are getting their standards from. Are they basing their beliefs from God’s Word? From their friends? From celebrities? From what they are reading/watching? Ask them to defend their belief to you and see how they do? Be ready to defend your own beliefs using God’s Word if they ask you to!
4. Expect your kids to be different from the world. Set the standard and stick to it!
They should look different, act different, talk different, dress different, BE different! We are called to be set apart.
That doesn’t mean we have to look crazy, but our teens should stand out as different from every other teen who doesn’t have Jesus.
If they don’t, be willing to look within yourself to see what you can do to change that. I’m not talking about perfection. Clearly, our kids are going to sin, they are going to make some bad choices every once in a while, but they should still be different. The way they respond to that sin should be different.
I am begging you parents of teenagers to stand with me in refusing to let the enemy win the battle of complacency with our kids.
I will not stand by and let him have his way, with me in the background crossing my fingers, hoping that my kids will turn out ok!
We need to understand the power we have in Jesus.
The resources we have through His Word!
I am asking that you not only start praying, but start taking action to make sure that your teens are godly, strong teens who will stand up for truth.
Who will fight for what’s right.
And who will change the world for Jesus.
Don’t let fear hold you back.
Don’t let other people (even other Christians) hold you back.
You. Do what is right.
Take God’s commands seriously and be diligent about teaching our children how to live a life that is sold out to Jesus.
Obeying Jesus is always the right choice.
Live it, teach it, believe it.
I’ll be right there with you, cheering you on and fighting for my own kids,