12 year olds are getting pregnant. 5 year olds are cursing like sailors. Kids are killing each other with assorted weapons. 13 year olds are leaving suicide notes on Facebook and their peers think it’s no big deal, leaving jokes in the comments. I’ve even heard of a scenario where a crowd watched a man jump from a building to his death right in front of them and after hearing him hit the pavement, some teenagers laughed out loud.
Kids these days, right? Little knuckleheads, they are. They are just finding their way, figuring out who they are. They will figure out who they are and grow out of it soon.
Unfortunately, that’s what we are facing in our society today. It’s the natural shoulder shrug towards children and teens’ actions. Now, you might be thinking, “Oh great, you’ve already become one of those old people who are always complaining about the youth.” You are very wrong.
On the contrary, I have a heart for youth and love their sense of abandonment and willingness to learn and grow without worrying like adults do. But I’m talking about something different. This isn’t fuddy-duddy talk.
Please understand there are some AMAZING parents out there instilling values, morals, Godly principles and raising up leaders of the next generation. To you, thank you, and don’t ever give up doing what you are doing. But this blog isn’t intended for you, but maybe some of it could be.
But I am addressing you, parents, adults, and leaders. Sure, there are always bad parents or kids put into bad situations and they are going to learn bad habits or repeat horrible cycles, but that still isn’t what I’m talking about.
Here’s my takeaway if you get nothing else:
We have done a horrible injustice to our youth by assuming they can handle adult situations, circumstances, and problem solving because we grew too lax in our parenting, too afraid they will hate us, and afraid to become like the generations before, afraid to punish, deter, or even protect them from themselves.
How did we get to the mess we have gotten to with the state of our youth? One little justification at a time. It’s like an affair in a marriage. Nobody sets out to have an affair, but in one justification of flirting, which leads to lunch to secrecy to entitlement to false rationalization, it manifests itself.
When we let our kids dictate the boundaries, we empower them to take more power, and before you know it, we don’t care anymore, we don’t want to fight it, we assume they’ll be fine, and then we are scrambling when things have gone wrong and they’ve lost respect for us and everyone else. And it all happened one justification at a time and it has manifested itself.
When we think kids can handle the massive emotional processing and understanding of sex, whether you’re a Christian or not, we’ve done an injustice to these kids in assuming their minds are mature enough to balance and process it’s consequences and long term effects.
When we let our children and students watch slasher/horror movies, play video games where murder and killing are the objectives, they become desensitized to death and to what’s right and wrong, and the decay begins and the need for suicide, murder, and death is like a video game to them. We have not instilled in them the finite realization of life and death. But, it’s just a movie or a video game. They can always hit life’s reset button, right?
We have assumed kids would understand you’re not supposed to kill people, right? Their teachers or friends teach them that, right? Our kids know about relationships and respect and self-control, right? I mean, they’ll figure out the difference between love, lust, and purity, won’t they?
No, they won’t. Even adults haven’t figured out the difference and it’s showing. Our lack of discipline, teaching, and love enough to protect them from situations their minds are not anywhere near mature enough to process, has decayed the generations before us.
And they will follow our lead. Your kids will be just as lax in their moral compass as you were, and when our elementary students are getting pregnant because nobody told them the true meaning of sex, relationships, and respecting themselves, they will pass that down to their kids. Recognize the corrosion that may exist.
Children are dependent upon their parents, loved ones, and guardians. They will always tell you they can handle certain situations, feelings, or expectations, but if you don’t know your kids you won’t know when they are ready and when they are not. And you will cave in, give up, or throw your hands up, wondering how you got to this point. But the truth is, it was decaying the moment you started assuming your children were adults. It started when you stopped molding them.
And if you don’t have God as your center, it gets even messier. When there’s no foundation or standard to follow beyond yourself, because we as adults don’t always get it right, your black and white areas become gray areas, and you’re wondering where the line will ever stop.
Your kids are depending on you to protect them from themselves. They won’t tell you that, but their actions scream it. They are going to push boundaries, test those boundaries, complain when they don’t get what they want, but you know what? They love every minute of that discipline and they don’t realize it. When you put your foot down and correct them, if they know they are still loved, they come right back and love you more for it.
Wake up and realize, your 5 year old is not a 30 year old. Your 16 year old is not able to rationalize, process, and recognize boundaries or red flags like you can. Don’t keep them in a room locked up forever, that’s called kidnapping. But step it up, take an interest in what their best interest is.
But hear me out. I’m not saying become a dictator and determine and plan every move for your children. That will teach them nothing. I AM saying to know when to let them fail, when to let them figure things out on their own. But if you don’t know where those boundaries are, they will determine them at an age they are not ready to.
Your kids need a way to fail so they can succeed later. If you aren’t invested in their lives, then you won’t know where to pick your spots. Parenting is not a one size fits all. Each child is created uniquely.
Give them the morals the bible teaches so they can point themselves to it when you, at some point, will let them down. We aren’t perfect, so it’s going to happen, get used to it. When the world’s ever-shifting morals are changing and the black and whites have become grays we never said would, God’s plan for us has all the answers we’ll ever need and it will never change.
Stop shrugging your shoulders towards your kids’ actions and start caring, start molding again. Step it up now before your laziness is your own demise. Our kids think it’s funny when people kill themselves, or that sex is something to be taken, not cherished in a marriage bed. They’ve lost respect and the sound of our voice because it’s waned in the distance along with our moral foundation and interest in their lives.
Your children need you now. They need you to not give up when they are giving it all they have to fight back. They need you to stand for something for them, so later, they can have something of their own to stand on.