The Triple Threat: Positive Peer Pressure, Faith and Fear (with an alarm system kicked in)
This week’s Technology Tuesday is a shout out to good old ADT, or any other alarm system that comes equipped with chimes and loud noises.
For years, we’ve been saying there are really primary three reasons that teenagers stay away from bad choices:
- Positive Peer Pressure. They have a group of friends who are making better choices and encouraging them to do the same. This is why peer groups whose voices you trust become increasingly important as your child moves toward adolescence. Find a youth group—if your child is older, they can even have a choice in which youth group, but they need to have the voices of other kids speaking truth into their lives…not just yours.
- Faith. As your child is growing up, they need to be developing their own sense of faith, not just parroting yours. Help them develop this by asking them good questions. What did they think about Sunday’s sermon? What do they believe about this issue? We love Lysa Terkeurst’s blog about pre-deciding (http://lysaterkeurst.com/2014/08/before-they-go-to-school-have-this-conversation/) and helping your child come to some of those things—without you pre-deciding for them. One of the most important tasks of adolescence is finding their voice and faith is a crucial part of that voice.
- Fear. If your child doesn’t have the first two items in place, it is even more important that you provide the third. They need to believe that you will give and follow through with consequences if they make poor choices. Our book, Intentional Parenting, has a list of age-appropriate consequences. We’re big proponents of short-term, intensive ones for teens, as they often don’t remember why they were grounded in the first place at the end of a semester long sentence. But they need a healthy respect of you and your rules.
- And for a technology Tuesday bonus, we often recommend that families invest in alarm systems. If your child is close to the sneaking out stage (sorry middle school parents), an alarm can be a terrific deterrent. That chime will warn you if a window or door is opened after you go to sleep—every time. Or, you will hear the beeps of the chime turning off. And, if your child has a friend over who is pressuring them to sneak out, an alarm system is a great “bad guy” to have around. “Sorry, my parents have this stupid alarm system and it will alert the whole neighborhood.” Gives them a good excuse to pre-decide something better.
So, for this Technology Tuesday, if you’re a parent of an upper elementary school student and you haven’t done so already, invest in an alarm system. Even if you think your child would never…we’ve seen many of those kids in our offices who have already.