Parenting has always been tough. Great Biblical heroes struggled to be good parents. David was a great king and psalmist but failed in numerous ways as a parent. Samuel and Eli both had rebellious sons who brought shame to their legacy. Jesus even pictures God the Father as having a rebellious son in the parable of the prodigal son.
But parents today face new challenges that previous generations did not face. Here are a few issues that parents today must intentionally determine to manage in order to raise faithful Christians and responsible adults.
- Phones – The cell-phone revolution has had dramatic effects for our culture. Research says the average age of kids getting their first smartphone is 10.3 in 2016. Texting is the primary form of communication used by adolescents and teens. Smartphones allow access to the internet, social media, and games. The same study reported 24% of kids are allowed unrestricted private access to the internet.¹ Parents must set guidelines to protect their children from exposure and too much phone usage. They must teach the child self-discipline and train them how to use the phone for when they will leave their home.
- Media Exposure – Kids growing up today are exposed to far more media than any generation before. There are more TV channels and ways to view shows than ever before. The onslaught of streaming services like YouTube and Netflix make media access unlimited. But it isn’t just the amount of media parents must battle, but it is the filthy quality of so much of the media that parents must combat.
- Sports Participation – The current generation of kids are being raised with more opportunities and expectations of participation than ever before. Most parents feel like they are not being a “good parent” if they don’t have their child involved in sports and extracurricular activities. Youth sports has moved from local recreation or backyard fun to travel teams that involve higher levels of skill, cost more money, and go year-a-round. Sports can fill up the family calendar and often become a direct competition for involvement in the local church.
- Homosexual Agenda – Over the last 20 years the homosexual movement has gone mainstream. Gay characters fill the movies and TV shows. Gay celebrities and sports stars are lauded as heroes. The Supreme Court has allowed gay marriage to stand in this nation. More frightening than this is the agenda’s emphasis upon adolescents to consider their sexuality. Kids are encouraged, while they are going through the difficult years of puberty, to consider they may be gay. Kids, who are searching for an identity, often find one though the homosexual sub-culture. Add this to the cultural emphasis on tolerance and acceptance and you have a real challenge for parents raising kids today.
- Gender Issues – The issues our culture is experiencing in regard to gender identity conversations is shocking. Past generations never considered the need to intentionally teach a child they were a boy or a girl. But now with transgender issues on the rise nationally and people being able to choose the bathroom of their gender identity rather than biological sex parents must deal with this topic. Parents must emphasis what it means to be a man or a woman.
While it may seem I haven’t offered much help to Christian parents in this article, but simply listed the new issues those raising children today are facing, I hope this realization is helpful. Parents today must WAKE UP! We are facing key issues that past parents didn’t face. Key issue that we didn’t face growing up. Parents today must step up to the plate! We must determine to intentionally wade into these issue with our children and guide them through these challenges with the aid of God’s word and His church. We cannot set back and let the culture take the lead with our children.