We started on Monday about how to raise kids who won’t date too young, and then on Tuesday my 16-year-old chimed in telling us why she’s not dating in high school. My name is Rebecca Gregoire, and I was the perfect teenager.
I’m not saying all this to try and make myself look great–I’m saying it to make a point.
I’m saying it to destroy a myth that has been hovering over Christian circles for way too long. And so are the three girls I live with, and my best friends at our university IVCF group. Before I continue, let me tell you something else about myself. I don’t like listening to authority, and I often get frustrated when I’m told what to do, or how to do it. I’m naturally extremely proud, a challenger of authority, and extremely stubborn. To prove that I’m not “naturally predispositioned to submit”. My family had two children who were complete opposites, and neither of us had a rebellion stage. I’ve tried to pinpoint what kinds of things my parents did that helped my sister and me not rebel (though, of course, there are never guarantees that a teen won’t rebel), and here’s what I’ve come up with: Often teenagers feel distant from their families, like they’re part of it by blood, but that’s it. My mom and dad would make decisions on their own, of course, but they always talked everything over with my sister and me.
So it has to be something about the family, not our natural dispositions. Even things that we weren’t directly impacted by–we’d discuss everything over the dinner table.
My family is the kind of family where everyone is involved–it’s a team experience.
A result of this is that I received a huge sense of family pride, dignity, and honour. We are so focused on ourselves, and have become extremely selfish.
And I think a lot of that is that parents put their children’s wants over the family’s needs. But we didn’t get everything we wanted–I wanted an X-Box when all my friends were getting one, but because that would cut out of major family time my parents said no.A small example, I know, but it shows the worldview my family had. When your mindset shifts from “me” to “we”, your behaviours and your actions aren’t just going to affect you–you begin to see how what you do affects other people.“All kids will rebel, and my job as a parent is to be there to help catch them when they fall.” I’ve heard Christian parents say that to me time and time again–strong Christian parents, too. The Holy Spirit is with ALL Christians, young or old.And so if we can expect ourselves to act appropriately, we can certainly expect our teenagers to as well.I’m a big believer in this philosophy, and I’ve written about these two different approaches to parenting before.This week, I thought I’d let other people speak about how to raise kids to make good decisions.