The world is changing rapidly and our children are growing up in a very different world than when we were growing up. The “experts”, parents, social media and the proliferation of the internet are in part responsible for the departure of more conservative biblical approaches to raising this generation of children. Millennials have been convinced that they can do a better job than their parents did at raising them and are opting for the opinions of so-called expert YOUTUBER’s and psychologists.
Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt argue in their book, The Coddling of the American Mind (Penguin, 2018), that iGeners have been influenced by their overprotective “helicoptering” parents and by a broader culture that prioritizes emotional safety above all else.
In an Article by BEHAVIOR & SOCIETY titled “Kids Today Are Being Socialized to Think They’re Fragile Snowflakes”, the author says that there are 3 untruths that teens are being taught.
1 – Believing that conflicts will make you weaker.
2 – That emotions are a reliable guide for responding to environmental stressors instead of reason.
3 – That when things go wrong, it’s the evil people’s fault, not yours.
Today’s “helicopter” parents are now teaching these things to their children who are now taking those insalubrious attitudes to school and everywhere they go.
All of this plus parents that are absent from home who model to their children that work and self-actualization are more important than spending time with them are factors that play into why teens today are dealing with high levels of self-doubt and low self-value which hinders their self-confidence and ability to say NO to PEER PRESSURE.
Peer Pressure – The strong influence felt by individuals to conform to the values of others.
Fear of man – A feeling of anxiety regarding what others think about us.
The bible talks about peer pressure but calls it, The Fear of Man. It is the idea that what others think or say of me is more important than what God thinks and says of me. The Bible states in Proverbs 29:25.
Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe. (NIV)
This fear is not new; it is something humanity has been struggling with since the fall of man. It is our sin, believing what others (experts) have to say instead of what God says. As parents, we want to be seen as successful by society and we forget what is truly important. We transmit our own insecurity and need for acceptance to our children when material possession and personal self-actualization become more important than time spent with them. Our children then feel insecure and fear that their classmates will expose or humiliate them, reject, ridicule, despise as well as bully or threaten them. They do not feel secure and confident in what God says about them. Their insecurity, lack of confidence and need of affirmation then are addressed by being accepted by their peers which is the reason why they are willing to say YES to things that they know they should say NO to. “When we fear rejection, ridicule and being different so much that we are willing to do whatever it takes to avoid these things, we will most likely blend in and live the way others think we should rather than pleasing God (John 12:43).” – Word of Life Ministries
First parents need to turn to God, repent and decide to Obey Gods word in the training up of their children.
Second parents need to be controlled by the truth of God more than their own feelings or “expert” opinions based on human traditions and philosophies. (Col. 2:8)
Third, parents need to stop being “helicopter” parents and allow their teens to suffer the consequences of their choices (use them as teachable moments), instead of rescuing them or blaming everyone else.
Fourth, parents need to spend time with their children and intentionally speak words of affirmation into their hearts and minds. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 says,
These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates. (NIV)
May God give you the wisdom and discernment to seek Him and obey him as you seek to train up your children so they can feel secure and confident to say NO when their peers ask them to do something that goes against God.
Lic. Jonathan Sierra – Lower High School Counselor