What Every Parent Should Know
Our sixteen-year-old son is rebellious and we are afraid he will become a problem to us. My husband and I both work. Can you recommend some place where we can send him so he will be properly managed?
There is no substitute for a home for a sixteen-year-old boy. Many of our finest young people are presently rebelling against neglect more than anything else. They need the sense of security that comes from a home where they are loved and wanted. They need the discipline of a well-ordered home to prepare them for social obligations as adults. It would be far better for you to adjust your scale of living to a smaller budget, and have the necessary time to give to your young son. In a short time he will be leaving home. Then you will forever regret that you did not give him the home training for which there is no good substitute. Teach him the basic principles of good character. Teach him eternal values. Help him to find his way to God as he observes your life and your walk with God. You have the solution to your problem within reach. Do not neglect it while you have opportunity. And remember there is no substitute for love.
My thirteen-year-old daughter has started lying to the extent where I cannot believe anything she says. She has now started smoking and is losing all her friends. However, her grades are very good and she attends Sunday school and church. Could you please help me?
I can well understand you being disturbed by your daughter's behavior. She is entering those difficult years where she is neither child nor adult. In her desire to appear grown-up she is taking on some of the less admirable adult characteristics. This is caused by a lack of security, and it is at this stage where she needs love and understanding more than at any other period of her life.
She also needs guidance and example. Make sure that you set a stable example before her. I think it would be a good thing if you could sit down and discuss these things with her. And if you have failed her at any point, you be honest and confess your shortcomings too. You never mentioned whether or not she has made a commitment to Christ. She is at the age where she needs the strength that comes from a living, vital faith. Many children become lost to the home and to society at this age. But it is also the ideal age to make a Christian commitment. Urge your daughter to do this, and if you have been remiss in your Christian life, it would be wonderful for mother and daughter to begin a new spiritual adventure with Christ.
I am the mother of two young boys who find their greatest joy in watching television. Unhappily, they see more than their share of violence. Is there any device we can use to counteract this growing menace to our youth?
You can be sure that the producers of television programs do not care to force any kind of program on the viewing and listening public. They want to attract the largest number so that the advertising is more effective. In other words, they give what the public demands. As long as the majority will accept violence in pictures, you can expect more of it. Such portrayals are the easiest to produce and call for the least effort and dramatic ability.
You can protest directly to the station and get as many others as you can to do the same. You can also commend those who send the finer programs into your home. It is time that the Christian voice were heard on this matter. Jesus said, "Ye are the salt of the earth," and as such He intended that we should lend our influence to the greatest possible extent. He also said, "Ye are the light of the world," and as such have a God-given responsibility for disseminating true light on every question as well as giving witness to our personal faith.
Also you must teach your children "choice" in their TV watching. There are many programs we just don't allow our children to see. In fact, we limit their watching to one or two a day, and those only under our supervision.
My daughter is about to marry a man who is not a Christian. I feel that I must stop their marriage, but don't know what I can do about it. Should I just show her where the Bible forbids such marriages?
Isn't it a little late for you to begin to instruct your daughter about such things? I'm afraid that there is very little you can do now, for no matter what you do, it will be construed as interference. You should have taught her the Christian view of marriage before she had any prospects of marriage, for then she would have been able to make a wise decision.
The Bible teaches that "The aged women be reverent in demeanor not slanderers nor enslaved to much wine, teachers of that which is good; that they may train the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be chaste, workers at home, kind, being in subjection to their own husbands that the word of God be not blasphemed" (Titus 2:3-5).
Had you fulfilled your responsibility when your daughter was growing, you would not have that problem now. There are some things in life that cannot be undone, and although the Lord will forgive every sin, we must often live with the problems we created before we came to the Saviour.
Yet, I would suggest that you have a heart to heart talk with her— then have prayer with her. Commit it to God. He can change the situation even at this late date.
We have been keeping our children out of release-time religious instruction in the schools because we don't agree with the teaching they receive. Are we doing the right thing to compel them to be so different?
To the children, it is a serious thing to be compelled to be different. Do you know how many others do not attend the religious training program? Perhaps they are not so different. I would suggest a principle by which to judge your decisions. First, avoid making it a matter of discipline if possible. Do not put the children in a position where they become rebellious. I do not believe the teaching will harm them, for there are very few people who will freely give their time unless they have some interest in the children. Second, you should be well informed as to the teaching they receive. Make sure that it is according to the Scriptures and the historic Christian faith. It will take some effort on your part, but this is your responsibility. Third, take an active part in school affairs so that you can exert Christian influence to offset erroneous teaching. Finally, use this study to teach your children how to distinguish truth from error and how to make their own decisions and not always follow any teaching.
I am a widower with two teen-age daughters. They are not bad but I am active in church and believe in complete separation from the world and my daughters are a bit unruly. What can I do?
Are you separated from the world or separated to some pious opinions which may not stand the test of our Lord's scrutiny? I do not mean to sound harsh for I know you have a difficult problem. But, be very sure that the separation about which you talk is that which is truly Christian. Some of the most unattractive Christians in the world are those who have built a fence of prohibitions around themselves and keep most people outside the fence. Remember that teenage girls are full of life and need to have a happy time. Be sure that the Christianity you profess does not repel them because it is long-faced and full of "don'ts." I would not imply for one minute that there are not many things Christians should not do.
Of the Ten Commandments, most of them are commandments against specific sins. But, it is very easy for older people to expand these prohibitions to things which are in themselves perfectly all right. I have on my desk a letter from a boy who enjoys wrestling at the YMCA. His mother thinks it is dangerous and unbecoming of a Christian. She is making the mistake of confusing wholesale exercise and recreation with sinful pleasures. Try to avoid this, enter into the happiness of these young lives in your home. Make Christianity a joyful experience.
Above all, ask God for daily guidance in your task.