So, what is the most important thing we can equip our kids with?
If our children leave home without that confidence they will very likely fall victim to schemes and other people's manipulation. It will be easy to lose their way because they didn't know where they were going in the first place.
An article about depression in teens was posted today in Yahoo Parenting. You can access it here. A section of it got me on this tangent that you are now reading. Here it is:
“I don’t think parents are aware that social interactions are no longer confined to one-on-one interactions,” Krasner says. “Social media means that you’re in a perpetual state of contact with people. And when you’re young and vulnerable, that has major-league implications.”
Parents perceive exchanges on social media, Facebook, for example, as a diversion, a place to post photos and see what’s going on, he says. Teens’ exchanges on Snapchat and other sites in contrast are “immediate and ongoing social connections that are very consuming.” The number of likes a post will get, for instance, makes an impact on vulnerable teens’ self-esteem.
“There are worlds upon worlds in social media and the Internet,” says the doctor, “that parents are just not aware of.”
Letting our children engage in the virtual worlds without this confidence is feeding them to the wolves. I am blessed because these virtual worlds were just beginning when my two oldest were in the awkward years, but my two youngest could be very much into these worlds if they had access. And they would be for sure if they had access and if they were allowed to go where they wanted to in the virtual world because these worlds are addicting. But neither have a phone or an iPod. Neither have access at home and I am thankful for this. Part of this is deliberate decisions on my part. Part of it is finances, but the section I shared with you above makes it clear to me that until I am sure they are confident within and won't be craving the peer approval social media tempts people with, they won't be allowed to enter those worlds without me sitting next to them.
(There are two other children of mine unaccounted for in the last paragraph -- my middle daughter doesn't need to concern herself with any of that because she lives in heaven and my middle son stays home with me and is a total care teenager so he too won't be bothered with social media.)
If a child has already entered the virtual worlds without confidence, a parent should pray about how to help this child.
Some children should be cut off from these computer worlds for a while. Or some could be guided by the parents. Only you as a parent will know what is right for your child. Maybe you need to come alongside your child and talk about what matters. Maybe help him see who he is in Christ, how important she is just because of who she is, just because she is God's creation.
I am so thankful. I've watched my oldest son at college this year (from afar) and because he was confident in who God created him to be, he has thrived away from the home. It encourages me to make sure, as much as I can, that all my children leave my home this way.
Then again, if parents aren't confident in who they are in Christ and that they have value just because God created them, it will be difficult to pass this on to the children. Parents, we need to find our confidence in Christ and let Him shine through us so He can use us to equip our children in this same way.
Seek Him. Don't stop growing. Just this week God showed me a root of people-pleasing thought in me that I was unaware of. When I saw it I told Him to pull it out. He did and I am amazed! I've been a Believer for 27 years. Never has their been a year that God didn't work on me. He knows us better than we know ourselves. He will help you. He made you. Let Him work.