I had a vision or thought throughout the day yesterday as I earnestly and devotedly prayed for a dear sister in Christ. I will share about that in another blog, but it intertwined with my aching heart for the unnecessary suffering of many adults that started by their choices in their teen years. So much suffering occurs by no action on our part, as was the case for my friend I mentioned, but then there is the pain that is brought on by our sin, bad choices, bad decisions and sometimes our naivete. This pondering brought me to scream in warnings to parents and teens. Perhaps at least we can remove naivete.
There is a war being waged on behalf of the children in this very city. It is coming from Satan himself, and I personally want to expose it. I want the body to WAKE UP and begin to pray for eyes to be open to the snare before entrapment occurs. I pray that this message gets into the hands of many teens and parents. The culture we live in, in the United States, is fostering this need for fun, entertainment and escaping reality. What no one seems to be noticing is that it is a trap or a snare of the enemy of our soul. I hear parents say, "kids will be kids" or "they are just having fun" perhaps they may even say they are "sewing their wild oats" even "don't be such a party pooper" or "its harmless". I even heard one parent say "they all do it." Perhaps in a desire for your child to be accepted, you are looking the other way.
I for one can speak at the other end of this having walked with many who are trying to escape from their captor. You need to get your heads out of the clouds, open your eyes to the reality around you and WAKE UP.
- For the parent who is clueless, investigate your child's friends. Ask your child questions. They are worth it. Honestly, they are your child, you had them so they are your responsibility to protect them even from themselves. Follow these links to educate yourself: Molly , Acid/LSD, The truth about website, Alcohol, Take a quiz
- For the parent who thinks it is harmless, I can tell you if you will go to any rehab and talk with an addict, you may find that they thought so too at one point.
- For the parent who doesn't know what to do, get involved with your child. Talk to them and let them know the dangers. They need to understand the consequences. Do research on the long term effects and then share it with your child. Check this link out: common risk & protective factors
- For the parent who doesn't care, please remember they are your responsibility to raise and protect.
- For the parent who is aiding or actively participating, please get help so you can be the adult and help protect your child.
Again I say, WAKE UP! The war that is waged can come in many different fashions. I have seen addictions come in many different forms. Anything that helps you escape the reality of life.
The issue that got me spun up to write this, is drugs and alcohol. Youths are convinced that parents are not cool, take the fun out of life or just trying to control their lives. While parents do not want to be known that way and may be moved to inactivity. Many just want to be friends with their child. Perhaps you did it when you were their age, and you feel you cannot say no to them now. If you didn't get in a snare of addiction you are very lucky. But you can still speak up, and exercise your parental rights to give consequences for their bad behavior. It is your job to set the limits for them. They do not have that abiltiy yet.
In the clarity of a teens mind, they believe and are being told by their peers that partying with drugs and alcohol is a way to enjoy themselves, to experience freedom of choice and exercise independence. But guess what, here is where I scream to the top of my lungs. IT IS A TRAP!!!!! I swear to you it is. While the pleasure is momentary, the destruction it brings into the life of the user and those who love them, is devastating. The front end looks harmless to an unsuspecting teen. It is romanticized by all forms of media. Even the tragic end to an actor's life is celebrated as a tragic end of a tormented soul. Almost as if it is exalted. But if you have ever walked closely with someone desperate to escape the clutches of addiction, you begin to see the pit they fall in, and how difficult it is to ever escape. Unfortunately most never do. It is clearly portrayed on the front side as fun, but once you enter in, the dust begins to stir, you begin to lose your way, and before long, years have gone by, and you are immersed in destructive patterns that can destroy your life and your potential. You are in full fledged captivity, you my friend are a prisoner to the one thing that promised you freedom. It is a lie from the pit of hell.
The best defense is to not go there in the first place. To begin with, the earlier you start on these substances, the more damage they do. The front of the brain is still in development until age 25.
- this is from one of the above links: "The frontal lobes are responsible for self-regulation, judgment, reasoning, problem-solving, and impulse control. Differences in maturation among parts of the brain can result in impulsive decisions or actions and a disregard for consequences."
Because of this fact, parents still need to guide their children during this time to set the limits teens cannot set for themselves. Many studies show that earlier use increases the chances of addiction developing.
I am writing this in hopes that I shine some light on this area of darkness. It starts with boredom, rebellion, curiosity, forbidden fruit, or peer pressure, etc. They usually see it as harmless, or if they are aware of the dangers, they figure it will not happen to them.
This reminds me of a carrot dangling in front of a rabbit. Then the rabbit gets the carrot to find out too late that it is caught in a trap. This is the snare the enemy is setting up for the youths of our society. He cloaks it in fun, fellowship, and a way to escape. But in the end it leaves you paranoid, alone, in despair, completely tormented and the way of escape has become the very thing that holds you captive.
Parents, on behalf of your children, get educated. Be educated about who your children are in close connection with as well as educating yourself on what they are participating in. We are not here to help them have the best time, to have fun, to enjoy themselves. We are here in there lives to help them become all they can be. To set limits on them when they will not set them from themselves. It is an epidemic, and it is all around you. Be aware, be informed and care enough to be disliked by your child. Do the hard things for them. And above all else, be praying for your children. I pray frequently that if my children get off track that they will be caught quickly before bad habits set in. Praise the Lord, so far, that has been the case.
Please take a look at the excerpt from one of the links listed above to see just how much influence we as parents have on our children's decisions.
Youth perception that parents approve of their alcohol or drug use
One of the most consistent risk factors for adolescent drinking is perceived parental approval (Donovan, 2004). Reported maternal care perception has been shown to be significantly lower among alcohol and those who use multiple drugs (Gerra et al, 2004).
Parental monitoring (or perception of monitoring)
Adolescents who report low parental monitoring are significantly more likely to use a variety of substances (Shillington et al, 2005). Positive parental style and close monitoring by parents are proven protective factors for adolescent’s use of alcohol and other drugs (Stewart, 2002).
Peers engaging in problem behavior
Associating with drug- or alcohol-using peers, or being rejected by peers, can create problem behaviors and influence attitudes and norms related to substance use (O'Connell et al, 2009). Exposure to peer problem behavior is correlated with increased alcohol and other substance use in the same month (Dishion et al, 2000). Those who drink in a social setting, or who have peers who do so, are more likely to abuse alcohol later in life (Beck et al, 1996).