Do you ever feel as though you’re all alone in your parenting decisions or as you try to uphold your family principles?
Sometimes, setting family standards can surely make us seem like the bad guys. When “everyone else” is allowed to watch the movie, read the book, go to the party, date in middle school, dress immodestly, or _____________________(you fill in the blank) our well thought out convictions and family decisions can suddenly be thrown into confusion and disarray.
As strange as it sounds, parents often face just as much peer pressure as their children.
No one wants to be the oddball.
It’s hard to say No, when everyone else is saying Yes.
We all want our kids to be happy.
Swimming upstream against the prevailing current of parenting choices is never easy.
Sometimes, however, making our children happy at the expense of our family standards is just too high a price to pay. Trying to fit in, in spite of the destruction that fitting in will cause to our carefully thought out convictions, is just too dangerous to the heart-health of our precious children.
Moms and dads, it takes courage to parent with conviction when it seems as though you are all alone. It takes strength to stand firm when everyone else is walking a different path. Without courage and strength, our family standards will become nothing more than optional “good ideas” that will be easily discarded when the circumstance of the moment beckons us to lower our standards. When we allow the opinions of others to dictate our family’s standards, we run the risk of losing the hearts of our children and tarnishing our family’s testimony for Christ.
But how can we stand firm when it seems as though we’re standing alone?
First, we must remember for whom we are actually parenting our children. As believers, we aren’t just “caretakers” for our children. Our job isn’t simply to enjoy their childhood and ensure their safety. No, we are stewards of God’s most precious gift to us… little children who because of our investment in their lives will have the opportunity to come to know, worship, and obey Him.
Remembering that our children are not truly ours, they belong to the One True God, will cause us to take our role as parents very seriously. Taking our role seriously means determining what and who will influence our children, and then putting biblical safeguards into place for their spiritual safety. Those safeguards are our family standards and the convictions by which we live out our daily Christian lives.
Those safeguards provide a supernatural shield of protection!
When our family standards and convictions are firmly rooted in the Word of God and biblical principles, we will be able to train our children with confidence and God-given authority. As we share the scriptures and live faithfully obedient to the Lord, our children will understand the “Why” behind our family decisions. When they understand where our decision are coming from and on what they are based, they will be much more likely to honor and embrace those decisions.
As our whole family strives together to uphold our unique family standards, we will build a strong family identity. Family obedience builds a solid foundation of security for our children. If they choose to wander away from our family standards, the memory of what they have seen portrayed in the lives of their parents and siblings will be like a magnet, drawing them back to the safety of home and sanctuary of a Christ-honoring family.
The hardest times we face in upholding our family standards come when other believers have far different convictions. Kids totally understand when unsaved families have different values. It just makes sense… Why would they live up to biblical standards when they don’t know the God of the Bible? However, when other Christian families have far different standards and convictions our children can easily become confused. When those same families mock our standards, or try to dissuade our children from living up to those standards, confusion can easily become bitterness or rebellion.
A wise parent takes the time to discuss those family differences. We don’t discuss them to disparage or belittle another family’s choices, however we do discuss the differences in order to remind our children that like us, they must live obediently to what God has shown our family to be true.
We often told our children, “Others may; you may not.”
God’s desires for each individual family are so very different! He knows your family. He knows your gifts and talents. He knows your strengths and weaknesses. He knows your sin appetites. Because our God knows so much about each of our families, He knows exactly what is profitable for each family. That’s why something that may be permissible for another family, quite often may not be acceptable for your family.
A strong family identity will help our children to not become bitter as they watch others enjoy activities that are off-limits for them. Reminding them of your family’s mission and testimony will give them incentive for standard-driven living and choices. If we’re busy laughing together, serving together, and simply enjoying our family relationships, our kids won’t miss those “off-limits” activities because they’ll be so busy enjoying their own family.
God truly does know what’s best for your family. There’s a reason for the standards and convictions He has laid upon your heart; they aren’t just random rules that are meant to steal everyone’s happiness. Instead, they are His choices, made for His people, so that we will be able to live lives of abundant joy and fruitful obedience.
Parental peer pressure can be exhausting. Pray and ask the Lord to bring likeminded friends who can lift you up when you are tired and strengthen your courage when you are weak.
Don’t be afraid when it seems that you must go it alone, because the eternal truth is this… With God on your side you’re never alone!