Now, I am nearly fifty years old, fairly stable in who I am, and serious about following Jesus, plus I even recognize the battle needing to be fought, but I still struggle.
Imagine how our young children, not sure how they fit in this world, trying to figure what it looks like to follow Jesus and unaware of the battle, feel being plunged into this world.
In each situation our children are placed in we need to ask, “Who is influencing who?” A child is not to be ashamed if they are the weaker one, they just need help. Most children will not admit they are being influenced by a poor influence, so as parents we need to be walking around with our eyes wide open.
Not to be over dramatic, but there are no safe places that we can put our guard down. At church, youth group, with babysitter, Sunday School, with relatives, in the neighborhood, at school, at sports, in clubs, in every situation there is a weighing of who is influencing who that needs to be done.
Our child doesn’t always have to be “the leader”, but they do need to be following the right people.
I Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Just like I need to be on alert when hanging out with my well to do friends, so, our children need to be mature enough and prepared to handle the temptations of this world and peers. It is not that I have to stay away from my friends completely, but I do have to be aware of the influence they are having on me. When I am weak, I limit my time in their presence. Our children too need a way out of overpowering relationships in their lives. For younger children this may mean, a time of separation. For teens, it may mean talking through how to handle when temptations get strong.
Although difficult relationships will be part of every person’s life, don’t be afraid to step in when your child is the one being poorly influenced. Guidance through normal ups and downs is one thing, losing a child because you don’t want to appear too strict is another.