Helping parents understand teenagers and their world
A resource from CPYU
“Don’t ever forget, there’s no nook or cranny of our lives that lies outside God’s rule and reign.”
I learned many years ago that my calling as a parent includes a calling to be a “prophet.” Of course, the word “prophet” might conjure up a certain negative image in your mind. I would venture to say that for many in today’s world, the image isn’t one that’s very positive. Some immediately think of crazed and socially awkward religious zealots that stand on busy street corners holding homemade signs and muttering about the impending end of the world. What I’m pointing you to here is something markedly different.
Those who have read and understood the Bible know that throughout the course of biblical history, God called certain people to speak his truth in his name. The Bible includes both a written record of the utterances of these prophets, along with several books of prophecy. When these divinely called and inspired prophets spoke, their words were the commands and revelations of God. Their words were meant to keep God’s people on course in their lives, mapping out the right road to travel while offering life-giving correctives when they would wander onto dangerous paths.
When I suggest that our approach to parenting our children be “prophetic,” I’m saying that our relationships with the kids we know and love should be marked by an intentional effort on our part to know and communicate the truths of God’s Word, along with how those truths speak to every area of their lives. In effect, it is the intentional process of looking for opportunities to speak biblical truth into their lives, showing how God’s Word and the Christian faith speaks and relates to all of life. It is the process of imparting Godly wisdom to our children and teens. It is all about making the conscious and deliberate effort to lay out God’s will and way for their lives, and issuing clear guidance and correctives when they. . . just like us! . . . stray from that path.
How do we do this? It begins with asking God to guide us in what, how, and when we communicate his truth. Unlike prophets of biblical times, this does not mean that we wait for God’s Spirit to move in our lives in a way that provokes an utterance or new revelation. Instead, we should ask God to guide us to the truths he’s already spoken in Scripture, along with how and when to communicate those truths to our kids. Of course, this means that we make it a priority to carve out time for daily Bible study, prayer, and meditation. We will read books in an effort to learn God’s will and way for our lives. And, we will sit under good preaching and teaching in a church that is committed to knowing God and His Word.
In addition, our prophetic parenting role requires that we keep abreast of changes in the youth culture soup our kids are swimming in every day. Once we discover a trend that’s shaping or mis-shaping our kids, we need to put that trend under the illuminating light of the Bible. We need to listen in order to know what the world is teaching our kids, how God’s Word speaks to that trend, and how to converse with our kids in ways that guide them to obediently walk through life to the glory of God.
Don’t ever forget, there’s no nook or cranny of our lives that lies outside God’s rule and reign. The Scriptures speak to every teenage pressure, choice, problem, or situation we face in life. Part of our God-given responsibility is to communicate what God has said regarding these matters. In this way, we become prophetic in our parenting as we help our kids hear and understand God’s revelation and commands. You are God’s mouthpiece to your kids.
It’s to this end that here at CPYU we have launched a brand-new weekly resource that we call our CPYU Parent Prompt. Each week we will post a new CPYU Parent Prompt designed to help you know what’s happening in the world of children and teens, along with how to lead, guide, and converse with your kids in ways that will nurture them into a life of faithfully following Jesus in this rapidly changing culture. Simply go to cpyu.org and click on “Parent Prompt” under the “CPYU Resources” drop-down tab. We are committed to working with you as you prophetically speak truth into the lives of your children and teens.
Suzanne Garfinkle-Crowell, a psychiatrist writing about how so many of her patients, particularly adolescent girls and young women, lean on Taylor Swift as a kind of big sister through the daily agonies of being a teenage girl.
The New York Times
June 17, 2023
Likening social media use to getting behind the wheel of a car, APA President Thema Bryant says that “just as we require young people to be trained in order to get a driver’s license, our youth need instruction in the safe and healthy use of social media.” The APA recommends that this training should not be a once and done thing, but rather something that is revisited from time to time to reinforce best practices in an effort to protect kids from potential harm. Parents should also be setting borders and boundaries, along with monitoring their child’s social media use. Parents, this is a wise step to take as you fulfill your God-given responsibility to nurture and parent your children. Taking these steps might limit their exposure to content promoting self-harm, disordered eating, bigotry, sexual license, and gender fluidity. Be diligent with your kids.
Recently, there’s been a lot of conversation centered around the CDC’s latest edition of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. The conversations are focused on the findings related to teenagers and sexual behavior. The long-standing biannual survey continues to ask teens, “Have you ever had sexual intercourse?” The reality is that fewer teens are having sexual intercourse. But that does not mean that fewer teens are engaging in sexual activity. In fact, the kids themselves find the question to be out-dated, as there are many types of sexual activity and hook-ups that have become more and more common among our kids. For example, some kids talk about short-term hook-ups that are known as “situationships.” These are low commitment high-risk activities that might not be sexual intercourse. All this reminds us that our education regarding biblical sexuality is much-needed, perhaps now more than ever. Teach your kids God’s good design.
Several decades ago there was a growing movement in the church to steer kids away from popular music that referenced things like drugs, sex, and violence. Many parents and youth workers were criticized for monitoring what their kids were listening to, as some believed that music lyrics were benign in influence. But research began to show that their concerns were justified, as what we listen to does influence our beliefs and behaviors. A new study measuring the associations between listening to sexual music lyrics and the influence on adolescent behavior has found that boys are more likely to participate in sexting in the future when exposed to sexual music lyrics. Parents, we need to be gatekeepers for the minds and hearts of our kids. Psalm 101:3 says, “I will set no wicked thing before my eyes.” We need to teach our kids to have that same resolve. Our entertainment time should be, like all other times, about pursuing that which is good, true, right, and honorable.
Through June 26, 2023
1. Taylor Swift ‘Eras Tour’
2. Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band ‘2023 Tour’
3. Harry Styles ‘Love On Tour’
4. Elton John ‘Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Tour’
5. Ed Sheeran ‘(+-=÷x ) Tour’
6. Red Hot Chili Peppers ‘2023 Global Stadium Tour’
7. Coldplay ‘Music of the Spheres Tour’
8. Daddy Yankee ‘La Última Vuelta World Tour’
9. Kevin Hart ‘The Reality Check Tour’
10. Bad Bunny ‘World’s Hottest Tour’
by WALT MUELLER
Recently, I’ve been taking some time to read through, study, and consider the ten commandments. One of the commandments that I believe it is important for us to revisit ourselves and with our families is the fourth commandment:
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
In today’s world, we are so frantically busy that we don’t take the time to rest. God made us for a rhythm of work and rest. Even the animals need to rest, a reality I see on our local Amish farms as the large work horses do nothing but graze on Sundays. When France experimented with a ten day work week, extreme fatigue and high death rate was seen among their draft animals. Parents, teach your kids to shut down for a sabbath rest.
“Not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
When Jesus was bringing what’s known as “The Sermon on the Mount” to a conclusion, he presented those present with a choice. It’s a choice that he lays before all people in all times and places who listen to his teaching. The choice is between obedience and disobedience. The obedience that Jesus calls for is not an obedience that results in our being saved, but an obedience that flows out of our gratitude for having been saved.
We sometimes erroneously come to believe that what a person says about themselves lines up with the reality of who that person really is. In Matthew 7:21, Jesus warns us that saying is not the same as being. To call him “Lord” is not necessarily a sign of living under His Lordship. Intellectual knowledge is not enough. We must endeavor to be truly transformed by Christ, a reality which is evidenced not only by the words we utter, but by the minute-by-minute choices that we make each and every day.
The reality is that every time we make a choice, we are choosing sides. We either choose for Christ and His Kingdom, or we choose to go against Christ and His Kingdom. Take stock of you life by looking at your lifestyle and choices. Does your life indicate that you are a sayer? Or, are you a sayer and a doer?
The Word in Youth Ministry is a podcast from CPYU for youth workers by youth workers.
BE SURE TO CHECK OUT EPISODE 52:
“A Road Trip Through Scripture” with Jonathan Pennington
CPYU Parent Prompts are a regularly released resource to spark biblically-centered conversations with your kids about the issues they face in today’s youth culture. Each Parent Prompt tackles a cultural or theological issue and works through what the World is saying about the topic, what God’s Word says about the topic, and includes discussion prompts parents can use with their families to help them navigate what it all means for their Christian Walk.
These resources are available to download for free from CPYU’s website. Simply visit cpyu.org, click on the “CPYU Resources” tab, and then click on “Parent Prompt” or scan the QR code below.
Written by CPYU Staff and CPYU Research Fellows, a growing number of these resources are available with a new addition being added each week. Topics already released include, gambling, ChatGPT, modesty, grief, social media and more.
Keep visiting regularly to access and download new Parent Prompts as they are released.
© 2023 All rights reserved. The CPYU Parent Page is published monthly by the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding, a nonprofit organization committed to building strong families by serving to bridge the cultural-generational gap between parents and teenagers.