Mommy Zen and I attended a parenting seminar hosted by our children’s school today. There were many, many, many excellent take-aways, in fact I have 11 pages of typewritten notes! Don’t worry we will share them with you! .
But the one of the key things I realized from the seminar is how important it is to teach our children discernment.
Pastor Mark and Terry Benevente, gave us this group work:
List the top 5 challenges the you face today with your children that perhaps were not true of the generation you were raised in
Most of us answered variations of (1) having access to technology; (2) social media, (3) the pressure of having an activity-packed week; (4) the easy availability of unfiltered information; (5) over-parenting.
My daughter, E, is 9 years old. Her Dad and I allowed her the privilege of having a mobile phone last December. We talked about on phone use and we entered into a phone contract which I modified to suit our situation.
While I have turned on the parental restrictions on her phone and on the computers inner home, I don’t believe that it is enough to protect her from the non-kid-friendly internet. Thankfully at this age what she likes to do is play Minecraft, watch people playing Minecraft (it’s a huge thing), watching kid-friendly Netflix movies and being on Viber with her parents and friends.
Since E is an only child, she is used to being spoken to like an adult. We take time to explain to her concepts like:
- How self control is a daily finite resource which must be used wisely;
- The benefits of having a goodnight’s sleep (very difficult for both of us to tuck in early when there is no school or work the next day)
- Why the family sense of humor is not for everyone (so best let rein in the irony and sarcasm when with company);
- How people can easily access the what, the where, the when, the how, the who, and (sometimes) the why on the web, but that you need to decide whether that is real or fake or satirical, whether it is something that enriches the mind or something that doesn’t contribute positively to her spiritual, mental, or emotional well-being;
Being 9, she needs a lot of guidance from her parents and the adults around her. Her parents especially need to model the kind of behavior we tell her to do (a fantastically difficult thing).
So while, as parents, we cannot always be with our children and be on guard (neither is this something that should be aimed for), we can always be assured that the time we spend explaining and modeling the kind of critical analysis she needs to guard her heart, mind, and spirit.
Do you have tips on how to teach and model discernment in your children? Share on the comments below!