A short while ago, I received a call from a panicked father. He had been in his daughter’s bedroom and found half a dozen CDs that were obviously immoral. “What can you tell me about them?” he pleaded.
Typically when my office gets a call like this, the parent is looking for a five-minute fix. Parents usually want the dirt about the groups or video games in question so they can beat their kids into spiritual submission.
This dad was different. He listened.
He didn’t get offended when I asked personal questions regarding his family, because a child’s poor entertainment choices are often a reflection of a deeper need. I was satisfied that he had a healthy relationship with his daughter. But he couldn’t understand why his daughter had such awful albums. What should he do about them? Let me share my answer.
Have you set guidelines for what is acceptable in your home? Is it fair game to listen to secular music? Do you allow only certain kinds of secular music? How about concerts? Posters on the wall? What television programs, videos, games, and movies are acceptable? In other words, have you developed—or even discussed—entertainment guidelines with your children?
Without question, your children will always go to the limit of any rule you set. If your limits are confusing, it’s no wonder your children may have gone “too far.” You never told them what too far is!
Children behave irresponsibly because they are children. Most children are irresponsible unless they have been taught how to be responsible. You teach someone to be responsible when you give them guidelines and then give them the freedom to exercise their judgment within your guidelines.
If you are setting guidelines for teens who have never lived with guidelines, proceed with caution. There is something worse than your children listening to the wrong kind of music and playing the wrong games—and that is your inability to communicate the love of Jesus to them.
You could impose your will on your child, but what will be the end result? A child who wants to live for Jesus? Or one who fights your every move?
You must realize the negative influence of secular entertainment is not a worldly problem that can be corrected with clever solutions or manipulations. Correcting improper influences on your children should be seen as a spiritual problem with a spiritual solution.
Don’t panic. Tell your child you are praying about what to do with the offending entertainment. If you believe it is openly an affront to your values, you may want to ask your child to eliminate or put a hold on the questionable entertainment while you pray for wisdom for 30 days.
Make certain this discussion takes place with a spirit of love and respect, not a punitive attitude. If you can’t speak to them in love, say nothing at all.
You just read the first section of this chapter. The complete chapter including the Reflection, Response, Scripture, and Application is one of 30 chapters from Al's new book RECONNECT: When your kids are connected to everything but you. Find out how to order your own copy.
founded Al Menconi Ministries
in 1982. Since that
time, Al has spoken to more than a million people about entertainment and its influences. He has
written numerous books and articles on the subject and provides free help for parents on his web
. Al and his wife Janice have two
grown daughters and reside in Carlsbad, CA.
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