While Kids Ministry is now having Sunday morning activities at the church, we understand that there are some families who are not able to join us in-person. We want to stay connected to our families and continue discipling all our kids, regardless of whether they are here at The Heights or at home.
Each week, those of you joining us online can watch Kids Ministry live on our FACEBOOK PAGE Sundays at 9:30 AM. During this Livestream, kids will have the opportunity to worship and listen to Bible lessons from our wonderful staff and volunteers. We will also continue to have our Bible Review Activities and GodTime Devotionals posted to our blog as well as the church app.
What is peer pressure? Peer pressure is when we feel compelled to act a certain way because we want to fit in or be accepted by certain people. No one wants to be the person who gets talked about or made fun of behind their back. Unfortunately, it is easy to lose focus of who we really are and where we derive our identity because it becomes so much more important to us to simply just fit in, especially when we are young.
Perhaps your child feels pressured to be the same as the others in the group – to talk as they do, to dress as they do, or to want to watch movies or have social media just as their friends. It is quite natural for us to want to conform and to belong.
But if we truly desire to be God's children, we must consciously look for and choose His way of life. Romans 12:2 reminds us, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
As parents, as much as we desire to keep our children safe, it is inevitable that sometime during their lives, they will experience peer pressure. Therefore, it is our job to instill in them the knowledge to avoid it, equip them to face it, and the grace to love and forgive them when they have given into it.
Get plugged in
One of the easiest things you can do to help your children avoid peer pressure is to get them plugged into a Christ-centered environment. For some, this may mean the local church, while for others it may be a school organization or club. In either case, we aspire to surround our children with peers that will build and strengthen their faith, rather than tear it down.
Another thing we can do as parents is to get ourselves plugged into our children’s lives. We should know who their friends are and where they are spending their time. In our home, we’ve taken the approach of trying to make our house the gathering place (in non-pandemic times); this way, we have at least a little bit more visibility into how our children interact with friends than we would otherwise. Taking an interest in our children’s interests, whether it is sports, video games, academics, drama, etc. shows that we have a sincere concern for their welfare and builds a deep trust that can come into play when situations of peer pressure arise.
As parents, how do we help prevent our children from running into situations where they will inevitably face negative peer pressure? First, it starts with identity – theirs and ours. When we choose to walk a life with and for Christ, we are already taking a road less traveled. Our identity comes from experiencing His grace and sacrifice for us, not what the newest trend is or worrying about what others think of us. As such, we owe it to Him to teach our children to speak, think, and act differently.
When I think of an example of peer pressure in the Bible, the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in Daniel 3 comes to mind. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were men of God, understanding His commands and wanting to show obedience to Him no matter what the cost. As we know from the story, they chose to take a stand, differentiate themselves from the crowd worshipping the golden idol, and hold faithful to the Lord. And what did these men receive for their faith? A trip into a fiery furnace. However, the story did not end there. God was with them, protected them, and brought them safely out of the fire.
Throughout the course of their lives, our children will face an incalculable number of choices. Some will draw them closer to God, while others will bring them further away from Him. As parents, it is our responsibility to help prepare them for making these decisions and understanding the longer-term impacts and consequences. Only when they have been tempered in fire, will we be able to see their strength.
All of us are sinners that fall short of God’s ideal picture for our lives. What then do we do when our child has given in to peer pressure and the temptations of this world? Do we make excuses or condone their behavior or bad choices? No, we extend them the same grace and forgiveness that Christ modeled for us upon the cross. As I write this, I am reminded of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, found in Luke 15:11-32. The relief the father experiences knowing his son has come back to him despite all his failings and poor choices is a model we should seek to emulate.
In preparing your children to tackle peer pressure, start small and begin with a simple conversation. Ask them what went well in their day/week and where they may have had challenges. Then, participate in an activity with them of their choosing (ready to strap on those rollerblades again?). The goal here, in addition to just plain having fun, is to build a foundation of trust with you, their parent, that they can fall back on when times get tough.
Published on Nov 3 @ 12:59 PM CDT