|Making the adolescent climb|
These days I rush to the mailbox, not to see if any of the above has occurred but, to beat my children there for fear of what may actually lurk in that box. Because magazines sent to a doctor’s office count as 10 subscriptions for advertising purposes we receive about 5 magazines a day that we did not order. Because I did not subscribe to them I have no control over what might show up in my box and this leaves a mother of a 14-year-old boy and 10-year-old girl, who read anything in front of them, very apprehensive.
At one point we were receiving magazines that were hardly fit to burn and I was shocked, which is hard to do, at the language and pictures and vulgarity that took up paper and ink. These magazines were sold as music magazines.
|Attacking the Tween Mountain|
I became ill at the thought of girls all over the country believing that this is how they must act and behave. The articles addressed, "how to dress to get your man", "better ways to kiss", "how to make sure he will notice and want you". The items and pictures, in this magazine, were the same as one would find in adult magazines.
As I begin to walk through this minefield of parenting adolescents and desire to raise my teenage son to be appropriate in behavior, to respect women, and to keep himself and his mind pure, I am assaulted on all fronts. What is his defense when girls of all ages out there are explicitly taught how to capture his attention and his emotions? When girls are being driven to seduce and are issued advice on behaving in a sexual way that would be considered inappropriate for most unmarried adults. What is my daughter’s defense when she has to be the one who dresses differently, who has to be the one who takes a stand and not throw herself at every guy just to prove that she is cool or popular?
I am confounded as I read comments made by Sarah age 16 and Jessica age 15 as they explain to me how to rub my partners arm as I kiss or fully engage him as I stroke his back ... REALLY! I know I should not be so shocked as this degradation of self and society has been occurring for quite some time. But I am shocked. I am shocked at the blatant assault on the innocence of a child. I am shocked at the belief that this is okay. When a friend's neighbor's 14-year-old daughter announces that she is dressed as a “hooker” for Halloween – how are those neighbor boys supposed to react – and yes – the question arises – “Where are her parents!?” My fear is that they have bought into the lie that it is all in fun. This is not fun; this is devastating behavior that will have lifelong effects.
As I began to look into this a little further I found that movies and television are training our girls from the age of three - to be princesses. Trained to be a princess that needs to be concerned with her looks and her ability to "capture" her prince. I have noticed for about the last 11 years that one can not even view what should be harmless animated films (with the main characters being animals) without being thrust into the middle of a romantic (read sexual) relationship. If our daughters are being trained to act this way - the boys will respond and we have created a vicious cycle that is driven by immorality and greed.
What as a Christian parent am I to do - I have set the parental controls on the television and continue to be shocked as to what is rated Y7 - I have taken to blocking networks geared specifically for the tween set as these seem to contain the most subliminal and overtly sexual messages. Plot lines are developed around brief relationships that end immediately after that first kiss and before the next commercial break and show no remorse for the giving of yourself on a casual basis. Some will say its all a part of growing up - its what we all go through. I may have gone through some of this - I know I went through things I wish I hadn't- and I am determined to help my children walk a road that may allow them the joy of relationship as God intended not as man perverted.
Many may see these views as old-fashioned and many times I debate with my 14 year old about being too protective. As a parent that is my right - that is what I get to do - he can complain to his therapist later. I am not living in a world of denial -I am very aware, sometimes more than I want to be, of his appreciation for the fairer sex. This is part of God's plan and who he was designed to be, my job is to help him understand the entire relationship. I can do this by helping him understand the purity of relationship that Christ has with the church how this relates to the marriage relationship and what this looks like as you go through stages of your life and develop those romantic feelings and relationships. To continue to challenge him to stand above the crowd, to not fall in lock step with what the world says is okay, and that its not good enough to say, "well, I don't act or do this" so its okay to read about it or watch it as long as I’m not doing it. NO we must set our standard to one that reflects an understanding of what was done on the cross - knowing that we cannot go there ourselves but that we can rejoice in what was done and daily, minute by minute choose to honor that sacrifice. We must protect our eyes, ears and minds and help our children protect theirs. We do not have room for the slow eroding of conscience.
For now, I will continue to rush to the mailbox, I will continue to have "conversations" with my children about why I am so protective, I will continue to train them to go against the flow of society and not end up in the boiling pot of sexual immorality and I will continue to praise the God that gave me life that I may share with my children the glory and joy we will have living to serve Christ.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day and having done all TO STAND." Eph 6:13-14
Books to read:
Home Invasion by Rebecca Hagelin
This Momentary Marriage by John Piper
Bringing Up Boys and Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson
Bonding and Rebonding by Donald Joy
Not Even a Hint by Joshua Harris