The challenges of raising a Christian teen

‘I want my son to grow up to be a good person,’ a Christian father recently said of his eldest son. ‘But in today’s world it’s difficult to raise a Christian child.’

The same father mentioned that he was aware that his children where growing up in a different environment from the one he grew up in a few decades ago. He noted that in his youth he did not have to deal with the “dark side of the internet”, violent video games and many other challenges that teens face today.

The challenges

The challenge for most Christian parents is to train their children to live according to biblical values and principles that may not be fashionable according to today’s modern world.

One of the most challenging aspects of raising Christian kids is on the issue of sexual morality. Many Christian parents would want their children to understand that sex is a special gift that should only be opened after marriage.

Over the past few decades, sexual morals have changed, becoming more liberal. Sexual behaviours which would have been frowned upon some decades ago have become normal. The movie industry may influence teens to think that there are no boundaries as when and how one should start being sexually active. This is a Christian parent’s nightmare.

Peer pressure?

Today’s teens are under so much pressure to experiment with sex from peers, the entertainment industry and of course the internet. Many Christians wish to instill in their children that sex is meant for married people only - a principle which is scoffed at by many people today.  It’s an ever increasing challenge for Christian parents to convince their children that virginity is a virtue when in the modern world losing it long before marriage is considered cool.

One effective way for parents to raise Christian children is to lead by example and make their expectations clear.

In trying to instill Christian values in their kids some parents may make the mistake of being too controlling. This 24-hour surveillance method back fires when the child goes underground and practices the very things that the parent is trying to make him or her to avoid.

Any religion cannot be forced down a child’s throat. The training has to start early. To get positive results a parent has to reach the child’s heart. 

One way to encourage a teens to live according to biblical principles would be to remind them of the benefits such as less chance of contracting a sexually transmitted disease and the reduced risk of having an unwanted pregnancy.

As one bible writer wrote: ‘Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’ (Proverbs 22:6)

Read more by Sipho Yanano

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

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