Parenting in a digital world – part 4

I wanted to conclude my thoughts on parenting in a digital world today.  I’ve written more than I thought I was, but I feel such a burden for parents to be vigilant leaders in their homes.

As I mentioned last time, one of the greatest challenges we have as parents is the balance of preparing our kids for the world (wise as serpents) while protecting them from the dangers of the world (innocent as doves).  I believe that the responsibility to prepare while protecting is impossible without constant and open communication between a child and his or her parents.  There needs to be an openness that exists in the parent/child relationship that unfortunately is missing too often today.  Communication is lacking because either the parent is willfully or unknowingly ignorant of what their child is doing, so they don’t ask questions, or mom and dad over-react to what their son or daughter shares with them.  We talked about the principle of asking tough questions last time, so the final principle is this:

4. Don’t over-react to the truth.  Chances are,you will find a conversation from your daughter on Facebook that horrifies you.  You also may come across some explicit web sites that your son has visited.  In both circumstances, how you respond and how you communicate with your child will either pull them out of that sin or push them deeper into it.  A parent who over-reacts through harsh words, overly dramatic emotions, and painful consequences with no love will communicate one thing to your child: don’t ever let mom or dad find out again.  If this happens, changes are, the pattern for burying sin will become a part of their lives.

Just recently a video on YouTube went viral concerning a dad who shot up his daughters laptop with his .45 because she posted a disrespectful rant about her dad and step mom on Facebook.  It’s kind of humorous to watch, but in the end, my heart ached for this family.  The dad did show justice, but there was absolutely no grace and kindness.  We need to be very mindful that as parents, we need to model our Father God in how He deals with us in our own rebellion.  Yes, God disciplines us when we sin, but His wrath and justice for our sin was taken by Jesus from us on the cross.  He now disciplines with a heart that also is filled with love, grace and kindness (Hebrews 12:5-11).  God isn’t just concerned with proper behavior on the outside, but a heart that is transformed through our love for Him.  I don’t know the dad who shot up his daughter’s laptop, and I’m not familiar with the tone in their home, but I believe that the daughter’s heart has not changed because of her dad’s very public response to a very personal family problem.

Now, I am not saying that parents should simply give a little slap on the wrist if they do something wrong.  There my have to be severe consequences for behavior that shows a love for sin and disdain for the things of Christ.  Privileges may have to be revoked for a time, but confrontation of sin must be done with the intension of leading your child to repent.  Repentance is the main goal, not modified behavior.  True repentance will lead your son or daughter to make the right decisions whether or not you find out or not.  In Romans 2:4 it talks about how it’s the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.  A heart and mind change will come when we are confronted with the horrible reality of our own sin and the magnificent love and grace of our Lord and Savior Jesus.

My hope and prayer throughout these four posts concerning parenting in the digital world has been to raise the awareness and expand the conversation that parents are having with each other and with their children.  The current statistics regarding young people leaving the church are staggering.  The reason for this epidemic is that church kids are more in love with the world than they are with Jesus, and one of the main reason this is happening is because the world is getting its hooks into the hearts of our children at an early age, right in our own homes, through the various means of technology.

May God arouse moms and dads to wake up!  Fight for the souls of your children!  Pray fervently for God to grip their hearts!  And may God be glorified in our homes once again.

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