I hear people say all the time that teenagers today have it so much harder than we had it over a decade ago—that social media has intensified the peer pressure and the bullying. Well, I 100% agree. I’m terrified for my children to become teenagers and quite honestly am praying for a miraculous Twilight Zone-type time halt to transpire, freezing my children in baby form FOREVER. Drama much? Yes. But who can blame me? Let me tell you why I am so petrified of my kids becoming adolescents and what I plan to do about it… minus the time halt.
- The overwhelming pressure to grow up too quickly. Anyone else shocked by how much elementary students know? Pretty sure I could be schooled by an eight-year-old on Sex Ed 101. Whatever happened to playing in the dirt and running away from the boy with cooties? I still thought sex was a dirty word and that only married people kissed when I was eight… okay, twelve (I was a sheltered, Christian school kid). Thanks, Mom! No, seriously, THANK YOU! It’s sad that kids can’t be kids anymore. Even now I am having to teach my four and six-year-olds not to let anyone else “touch” them—not even their teachers, relatives, or any other adult “friends.” The statistics of sexual assault are staggering and teen sex is, well, “normal.” If you need me, I’ll be over here wrapping my children in bubble wrap and homeschooling them for life. I am determined to give my children the freedom of being kids as long as possible. Call me old-fashioned, but their innocence is top priority for me.
- One word—bullies. Somewhere along the way bullies shifted from name calling and occasional pushing other kids around the halls of the schools to “mean girl” manipulation and cyber bullying. Not that bullying is okay in any form (it’s not), but it definitely seems to be getting more disturbing. The thought of any of my children having to deal with this type of emotional trauma just confirms in my mind that my teenagers will not EVER be on social media or at least not while under the age of eighteen. Once again, this might seem extreme to some, but when your life is dedicated to working in teen ministry and you see firsthand the harm done over social media, you realize cyber bullying is no respecter of persons or even age. Not going to happen on my watch!
- All the dating. Nothing has the potential to destroy a teenager like dating does. The pressure to have a boyfriend/girlfriend is mounting, resulting in many unhealthy relationships. Trust me, I have seen it happen A LOT. A teenager falls “in love” with his/her high school girlfriend/boyfriend and everything else gets put on hold—school work, friendships, extracurricular activities, relationship with God and parents. And when the inevitable breakup comes, they are left devastated and broken. The fact is, most teenagers lack the maturity to properly and purely handle a committed relationship. This household will have guidelines set for our children, including no dates alone and no “snap chatting” ANYONE. You might call me crazy, but I’m telling you, I’ve seen the best teenagers royally mess up their lives with dating relationships. Both my husband and I grew up in strict homes with rules about dating and are now so grateful that we did!
- Miley Cyrus, Lady GaGa, and all the other lovely “role models” teens follow. ‘Nough said.
I could go on and on about how frightened I am of my children becoming teenagers, but I’ll end with only those four reasons for now. The bottom line is, I care too much about my children to loosen the reins. They will know they are loved, but they will also know their boundaries.