With A Little Help from…Us
This is where we, as adults, learn to whisper very loudly. In our book, Raising Girls, we say that there are three primary reasons kids don’t begin to drink or use drugs.
1)They have developed their own relationship with Christ that helps them say no.
2)They have a group of friends who say no together.
3)They are afraid of what you will say if they say yes. Our rule of thumb is that all three are important in the life of your child.
Help your son get connected in his junior high youth group. Sign your daughter up for a small group where she can really learn about who Jesus is and how much he loves her. Buy her devotionals and a translation of the Bible that she can understand at her age. Give her every opportunity to develop a strong faith in these formative and preventative years.
The small group that helps your son grow in his faith will help him grow in community. Your daughter will have the positive voices of other kids helping hold her accountable in her relationship with Christ. Kids do impact kids. And, as we introduce our children to communities of kids we trust, we use this impact in a way that helps rather than hinders them.
Study after study on drug and alcohol use in tween and teenagers points to the importance of communication between kids and their parents. In fact, healthy conversations are one of the most preventative factors in children using alcohol or drugs. Talk to your kids. Help them learn healthy coping strategies when they feel the inevitable disappointment of these tweenage years. Explain to them the dangers of these substances physically, emotionally and spiritually. And then explain the dangers of these substances and their budding social lives, as well. Again, we can use the power of peers to our advantage as parents. Kids who are highly social in these years are also highly motivated by the fear of losing their privileges to spend the night, talk on the phone or on the internet (if they have those privileges).
As your son or daughter moves into his or her tweenage years, your voice will get quieter. But it can still be a voice that offers truth and grace to these kids that we love and want so desperately to protect. And, in the midst of all of the scary statistics and signs, don’t forget that God loves and wants to protect them, too.