Being a parent is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever encountered. Life is tough enough as it is, but when you become a parent you’re suddenly responsible for another person’s entire existence 24/7. It’s crazy enough with a newborn feeding them, keeping them warm, and making sure they don’t suffocate or something, but it doesn’t get easier as they age. The difficult just changes forms. Suddenly you’re striving to be a good example, and you quickly realize that most of your child’s life lessons will be learned from your hand, but there’s still so many things you just never think you will have to say until you do.
The hope is that you say something before it’s too late.
As a first time parent you might not think, “I need to tell my daughter not to let anyone touch her private parts.”
But you do. Turns out we are the guardians of our children’s innocence in a cold, harsh world that will try and cause them harm. Lifelong, life-altering harm.
You never think you may have to tell your child, “don’t take medicine from a friend unless you know exactly what it is.”
You always assume you have more time. You don’t think middle school kids will be passing out grandma’s narcotics like candy. But they will.
You never think it’s time yet to have “the sex talk.” Or maybe you assume that they surely learned somewhere along the way that premarital sex isn’t a good thing. But it’s not the camp counselor’s job to teach our kids to wait. It’s not the church youth director’s job to teach saving yourself from marriage. It’s our job.
You never think you have to tell your child not to Snapchat a nude photo, or send that inappropriate pic. It just seems common knowledge, right? It turns out no subject is taboo when it comes to kids, and you can’t assume anything. The truth is we forget how naive you can be when you’re young, or how trusting.
You don’t think you need to explain sexual predators on the internet. Isn’t that obvious?
You don’t think you have to specifically warn about going somewhere alone with someone you just met.
You don’t think your child will be sexually molested by a family member. That happens in other families!
You can’t even fathom your child experiencing date rape!
Until it happens.
You don’t think you have to talk about words like “suicide.” I mean, that’s for depressed kids. Your kid isn’t depressed. They’re just a moody teenager.
But are they?
You don’t think to check under those long sleeve shirts for cutting marks.
You don’t imagine you need to check their phone for inappropriate content. Your child doesn’t watch porn!
Or do they?
Surely they’re too young to drink.
Surely they’re too young to be having sex, or a baby!
Surely they’re too good of a child to lie, skip school, or sneak out at night.
It’s not even worth bringing up, surely.
You never think you’d have to explain to your daughter why throwing up after meals is not the right way to lose weight.
You never think you’d have to have a conversation about drugs. Doesn’t everyone who was born after Nancy Reagan was the First Lady know that drugs are bad?!
We never think we have to have the hard conversations. We assume we’ve taken them to church long enough that we don’t have to talk about the bad things, the scary things, the unimaginable things. But we do. After all, if we don’t who will?
We can’t place the responsibility on their teachers. We can’t “give it to God” and expect Him to send Gabriel down to talk to them about saying no to drugs. Turns out God gave parents that job. We never think we’ll have to talk about it, but we do. We gotta!
Our kids are struggling! We live in a world overwhelmed with information. So you have kids giving your kids the wrong information. You may assume they’re learning life lessons from the internet, but the best lessons still come from home. We are the protectors of our children. We must lead the way. We must have the talks. We must listen, look, pay attention, and pray. Oh my goodness, we need to pray.
If I’m learning anything as a mom it’s that there’s a lot of wolves out there. I can’t just throw my kids to them. I have to equip my children for this world that seeks to devour my babies. There’s no stone that must be left unturned when it comes to giving them all the knowledge they need to protect themselves. When they’re little babies I get to hold them close, but one day they step out on their own. At that time the question will be, “did I warn them about that?”
Ask yourself the same. Is there a tough conversation you don’t need to put off any further?