By Trace Embry
Is it possible that many teenagers become “at-risk” largely because parents have bought into certain cultural parenting myths that actually have no rational or biblical basis for which to exist?
Over the next two weeks I’m going to unpack several cultural myths that many parents tend to give in to.
Myth #1: Parents Have no Right to Snoop
Unless your teen is paying the mortgage and/or his name is on the deed, he should have no private space!
As a parent in today’s culture you have the responsibility to occasionally make sure your home is not a haven for harboring sinful and destructive items; even if that means snooping through your kids stuff.
Because Junior isn’t paying the mortgage, nothing should be off limits. Even if he has a job and is earning an income, it is only because you have given him that privilege.
Even if he did pay for it, it is still attached to your walls, hanging in your closets, lying on your floor, sitting in your refrigerator, stored in your shed, or parked in your driveway.
Because of this you have a right to search it, seize it, remove it, destroy it, eat it, throw it away, or tow it away!
Basically, this is called accountability. It’s a great way to find out, objectively and empirically, how Junior is really doing.
Myth #2: Dating is Just a Part of Growing Up
In general, dating wasn’t a good idea 40 years ago!
If you feel dating is an appropriate option for your responsible teenager, then I would at least demand a responsible third party to oversee the date. You, would be my first choice. I speak extensively on dating here.
Yes, you will look like a stone-cold right-winged Bible thumping fundamentalist nutcase right out of the stone age in the eyes of virtually all humanity—but, just like Noah, sometimes truth and/or wisdom are on the side of the minority. Check your history.
Myth #3: Junior Can Come and Go as He Pleases
You know what your teen is? He’s a dependent! Even the government recognizes that. And Junior is not just a dependant in terms of sustenance, he depends on his parents to help steer him in healthy directions.
Remember the frontal lobe? Sure, as your teen grows older and more responsible you need to give him a longer rope. My experience has been that a longer rope at too young an age has been the very thing that has too often contributed to juvenile delinquency.
When I say longer rope, I’m not speaking of giving a kid too much responsibility; I’m speaking of giving a kid too much liberty—liberty for which he is not ready.
All kids and teens are at risk today because of the toxic nature of this crazy sin saturated culture that we all live in today. One thing you can do is to give him more responsibility and less liberty. Then, because of the responsibility trained into him early on, he will be much more likely to do better with the liberty he is given later on.
Myth #4: Allowance is a Right
It should be a privilege at best—and only for the most responsible kids. You must create an environment that sets high standards.
However, certain simple chores should be required regardless of extracurricular activities. Taking out the garbage or washing the dishes or making their beds, just to name a few. These are just routine maintenance details that are naturally expected to be done without compensation.
We want to nurture responsible teens–not self-entitled and self-absorbed teens. Teens need to be needed. Teens who don’t feel needed begin to struggle with issues of self-worth. This is the genesis of a troubled teen.
Next week I’ll have some more familiar parenting myths.
What are some common myths that you have experienced as a parent in today’s culture?