24/7 is the reality of time our children are faced with pressure these days: from friends, family, social media, school, TV and—perhaps subconsciously—from idols they look up to. The need to fit in, be accepted and feel worthy for teens today is mostly associated with what you do (good or not so good) or what you have. That can be simply labeled by drugs, sports, grades, sex or material items.
Part of me feels so sad to have witnessed the challenges my kids have gone through and continue to deal with. Watching friends they grew up with go down a rocky road with drugs and sex, while they’re left feeling that maybe they don’t fit in because their morals aren’t in line with the company they keep.
As parents, are we supposed to dictate who our children associate with, or do we sit back and allow them to navigate through it all? I’ll tell you, it isn’t easy to sit back. But it doesn’t mean that you don’t give your children the guidance and help they need to understand the consequences.
I heard a saying awhile back that I have shared in my conversations with my children, “Don’t let your hay day happen in high school,” which, to me, seems so powerful. It really is true. I can tell you, with Facebook today, you won’t have to wait for a high school reunion to see how it all turns out.
I see the struggle with having to deal with athletic and academic pressure, which, I believe, parents and peers both contribute to. The pressure to have the latest fashions, the coolest cars, the best college acceptance—when does it stop? Or does it? Does it just transpire over to careers, cars, houses or bank accounts?!
The reality is, we are all under pressure, and live in a time and society that only reinforces it. As parents, we have to instill a foundation for our children that is more focused on who they are, not what they do or what they have. I believe that when a child believes in themselves and what they want for them and their life, they have a strong support system that can resist any pressure they’re faced with. I have witnessed this with my oldest son.
But it takes time—your time to teach them and to model for them. Being a parent is easy. Parenting is what’s hard. But if you do it the best you can, you can help your child’s journey be less rocky.
: a person who is a father or mother : a person who has a child
: the process of taking care of children until they are old enough to take care of themselves : the things that parents do to raise a child