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Back to School: Prepping Kids for Gender-Confusing Messages, Internet Temptations, and More

08-16-2019
Back to school.

COMMENTARY

The start of another school year is upon us. The fun and relaxed schedule of the summer will quickly fade as structure and routine settle back into households all around the world. Parents are already dealing with the hustle and bustle of the upcoming school year as they work tirelessly to adjust schedules in advance of the school year's many activities.

This can make it easy to miss out on the cues and subtle hints dropped by kids who are attempting to draw attention to something that matters to them.

Today's children are facing tough challenges, and the world is quick to tell parents how to handle them. Here are some tips to help parents weather the storm as their kids head back to school.
 
Worldly Influence          
 
Focus on the Family reports in their booklet, Equipping Parents to Respond to Gender-Confusing Messages in Schools, that students as young as pre-kindergarten are being exposed to gender diversity content.  Some of the activities invite students to draw pictures of their favorite character but instead dress them in different clothes such as drawing Spiderman donning a tiara.

Some states are also mandating that homosexuality and gender identity have to be taught in health classes.

In May 2019, CBS News reported that California agreed to change their sex education courses.  Teachers are now encouraged to discuss gender identity with kindergarteners and provide advice to homosexual teens in regards to navigating relationships and practicing safe sex.

All of these issues can become worrisome and troubling, especially if a child has never encountered anything of this nature in the past. 
 
Remaining Proactive About Internet Usage
 
The internet is not only a social hub, but it's also a go-to when wanting to know information.  Despite a parent's best efforts, children may begin to investigate these terms on their own.  This will likely open Pandora's Box, so parents need to stay on guard.

Covenant Eyes reports that 71% of teens hide their online behavior from their parents. 

The Parents Television Council found that 90% of 8 to 16 year-olds report viewing pornography online, most while doing homework.

Here are some quick tips that can help:

  • Require the internet to only be accessed in common areas of the home
  • Families should utilize parental control on all of their devices.
  • Parents can contact their internet provider to see if they offer to filter at the source. 
  • Accountability or filtering/blocking programs should also be considered, which helps to monitor activity while protecting young eyes.  

Tim Lordan, staff director of the Internet Education Foundation, stated, "Parents have to get involved.  Just as they know every detail of the playground around the corner - the jungle gym, the swings - they need to know their kids' online playground as well."

Discovering Questionable Activity

If a child is found to be seeking out questionable content, parents should take a deep breath before starting a conversation.  It's important to seek the Lord for wisdom while keeping anger in check.  A child is most likely to respond in an environment where they feel safe instead of an atmosphere that is attacking, intense, and makes them feel shameful and dirty.

Every parent wants to raise and lead their children well.  Realizing that today's kids are being exposed to issues that were not even talked about a decade ago can seem scary and overwhelming.
 
The Importance of Communication
 
Parents have to keep communication lines open with their children.  Kids need to know that they can approach both mom and dad with their confusion, complaints about a bad day, or anything else that is important to them.

Kayla Sullivan, Customer Service Specialist for KingdomWorks Studios shares, "Last year, my 7th grader came home visibly upset.  My teen shared that some friends had announced that they were homosexual and were choosing to identify with the opposite gender.  Chaos and confusion were circling in the mind of my child, who was now unsure of how to respond to friends and suddenly felt uncomfortable in the gym locker room."

When a child faces things that they do not understand, questions will most definitely arise.  Take this opportunity to talk to your child about their God-given identity, which they may suddenly find themselves questioning amidst the confusing influences of adolescence. 

Make time to regularly dive deep into the Bible with them.  Remind them that God created man and woman, and was pleased with His creation.  Share Scripture with them that speaks of God knowing us before we were born, knitting us together in our mother's womb.  

Remind your kids that people, even those who do not follow God, are worthy of respect.  This does not mean that your child has to agree with the choices of their peers.  Instead, it means that they should not ridicule, ostracize, or otherwise bully an individual whose beliefs are different than theirs.

Don't downplay their concerns. Be attentive, listen carefully, and prayerfully respond to all that they are disclosing to you at this moment.  And remember, while our mission fields often become our workplaces, the mission field for our children is the hallways of their schools.
 
A Resource to Help Parents and Churches

Fortunately, thanks to great resources like a video course called the Conquer Series, parents can begin to understand the assault of the enemy in regards to sexuality. 

Jeff Bush is a father from Alabama who knows how significant impact pornography can have on teens.

"I was convinced that every young man growing up today will battle with pornography except for two: my two. I was wrong."

Though he did his best at providing his sons with accountability, they still got caught up in pornography. Jeff decided he would make time to watch the Conquer Series with his sons.

"Once a week I would sit with my boys and watch a DVD… I could tell my boys were both impacted by them. They both expressed gratefulness that I not only purchased the series but took the time to watch the DVDs with them too. That's significant, coming from teenage boys!"

Topics such as how the brain begins to change through the viewing of pornography, why it's difficult to break free, the importance of renewing the mind, and the weapons provided by God to fight back are all covered in this 10 lesson Conquer Series course.

Don't let the children of your community become another statistic.  

Learn more about the Conquer Series at ConquerSeries.com

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