What do you think is the biggest threat your child faces?
You could say bullying, social stuff, peer pressure, poor school systems, economic conditions, or family. There are a million responses you could give me and I know many of them because of the research I’ve done.
In preparing for what we’re giving you in these eBooks and articles, we took a research survey that reached over 13,000 parents. We analyzed the responses, incorporated my years of teaching experience with 20 years of youth work, and drew from the coaching and parenting.
The results were overwhelmingly clear.
The Single BIGGEST Threat
After analyzing this material and studying the results, it was clear that the biggest threat your child faces is INFLUENCE. By definition, influence means the capacity or power or persons or things that can be a compelling force on or produce the effects of actions, behaviors, and opinions of others. Think for just a moment about all the things that influence your children from the moment they’re born, the music they hear, the food they eat, the place they live, the friends they have, the movies they see, the TV they watch, the things they read and a million other things that you could think of. Sometimes even things that we don’t perceive as affecting them are influencing them.
We received many great answers about what parents thought the biggest influence on their children were, but all of them could be summarized by as influence. By the way, it’s peer pressure or bullying or all those things, influence all the stuff in the bad world we live in that leads our children astray. Even as parents sometimes we can be a bad influence because I know I said to my boys don’t do what I do, do what I say. I want to tell you as a teacher that your children are going to do what you do, not what you say, so you have to take it upon yourself to make sure that their influences are as appropriate and correct as possible.
I’m not sure if you’re familiar with Kelly Clarkson. She’s a well-known pop singer and she wrote a song when she was 16 because of a divorce situation in her family. The chorus of that song goes like this,
“Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk. Because of you, I learned to play on the safe side, so I don’t get hurt. Because of you, I find it hard to trust not only me but everyone around me. Because of you, I am afraid.”
Now that can paint a very bleak picture of families. You see, sometimes we want to protect our children from the influences of the big bad world and we keep our kids at home, but we don’t realize that what’s going on at home can also influences our children.
Take some time to examine who and what are currently influencing your child.
What You Can Do About It
Not every child is going to be affected by family events like Ms. Clarkson, but they can be. If many of the influences outside our family can sidetrack our children from becoming what they were created to be and they’re not safe at home, how do we make sure that your child has the best possible influences they can while keeping distracting influences to a minimum? I’m just going to say pray, a lot. And I mean it. Here are some other things you can do as well:
- Have constant, healthy communication with your child. Talk to them. Work hard at doing fun family activities that remind your child you love them regardless of their performance in school, at church, wherever. Keep your home family-oriented and show your children that you love them.
- Find coaches, mentors, and teachers that have values similar to the ones that you want to instill in your child. Do your best to ensure that the people you surround your child with will care about your child and want to help you. In psychology, we have something that’s called a significant other and when your child gets somewhere around the age of four to sixth grade, they need to begin to have significant others in their lives. That’s also when they start tuning you out and withdrawing a little. They need to know that there are people outside of your family who believe the same thing your family does. Not because it’s mom and dad, but because they really believe it. That will impact them in a huge way. That’s what we’re talking about.
My oldest son went through some struggles. As he was going through that stage where he was rejecting our values, he had teachers around him. He also had youth workers around him and he even had some friends who reinforced our belief system without us knowing it. While he was out doing some of those things that we weren’t comfortable with he had people who were calling him back into account even though we didn’t know it. He got angry with them, but it kept reminding him where he came from and what values were important. The one thing we did well was to make sure that he was in places where people could reinforce the idea.
You see, as a parent you are basically a lot like a farmer. You prepare the soil, you choose the crops, you plant the seeds, you weed constantly, and then you wait. You do everything you can to help your children, but then you have to let them choose. Homeschool, private school,or public school may not be the biggest decision for your family, but the biggest decision may be what will be the best influence on your child.
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