Raising Christian Kids in this culture is hard. There’s so much coming at them from every direction that it’s hard to block every arrow targeted at them. Yet, as parents, we have to do our best to protect them and guide them well.
So, I wanted to share 5 unpopular decisions we’ve made for our kids. I call them unpopular because at times they’ve required tough conversations with our kids. Other times, it has required us to repeatedly stand our ground, and also required that my husband and I were on the same page.
Pressure to relax our rules, doesn’t just come from what we see other families doing, it comes mostly from our own kids. Knowing that we have their best interest at heart and believing that our rules are setting them up for greater success in the future where their faith can flourish and their hearts and minds can be protected, helps us to carry on and persist even when the pressure to give in weighs heavy.
- No cell phone until 9th grade. Pretty sure our kids will be the last ones without cell phones and even when they get one, it will be pretty locked down. This was a decision to protect them, but the unexpected upside is that I’ve seen kids who do not have cell phones are much more engaged in other areas of life particularly related to faith. Likely because they are not consumed with text messages and social media notifications that distract them (and all of us) from what’s most important.
- No sleepovers. We made this decision again as a means of protection. A relative of mine used to be a school counselor and shared that the vast majority of abuse cases that came in happened at sleepovers – older sibling, uncle, dad, other kids (I’ve even heard stories of same-sex abuse by kids). So instead of saying “yes” to some homes where we may know the families well and trust them, we just decided to say “no” so we never had to be in the position of picking and choosing and impacting relationships. Late-overs have been a great option in lieu of sleepovers.
- No girlfriends until 9th grade (we have two boys). Even then, they will not be going on dates until they are older. The good news about this one is that once our oldest started seeing all the drama in 7th grade from breakups, he no longer gave us grief on this rule. LOL!
- No social media. Not sure what age we will introduce this, but there’s so much on social that is served up to these kids – right on the Explore page on Instagram, for example. They don’t even have to be looking for it to find it. But, trust me, when I say, they are looking for it, too. Not just boys, either. Porn use by teen girls is rapidly growing. Not to mention the dangers of comparison, etc that social media plays into.
- No popular shows like Stranger Things. We tried watching this ourselves in advance, and found the content too mature. It’s so difficult to find pure entertainment these days. We are not a family that bans everything. We may need to fast forward at times, we may need to talk about worldviews and educate our kids, and also counsel on what things our kids need to disregard, and, yet, there are also times when there are just too many f* bombs that we need to say “see you later” and turn it off, but overall, we are trying to teach our children how to discern good from evil in this world and also how to live in it.
While these aren’t popular decisions in our home, we believe they are the best decisions for our family. There are areas we are more laxed where other families are more strict, and we each have to follow the Holy Spirit on how to lead our families well.