The Challenges Facing Christian Children
Christian youth today are faced with many challenges that were unimaginable a few decades ago. Understanding these struggles can help parents know the most appropriate way to help any child trying to navigate to adulthood with sustained faith. Many of these challenges originate from media and technology as well as pressure from both peers and society as a whole. In the technological age, it seems we are able to access just about anything instantly. This is a wonderful blessing for young Christians as they seek out faith-building music, videos, and devotionals. However, just as easily accessed, if not more so, are music, videos, and articles filled with immoral content. With a few taps on a phone, children can listen to music glorifying rape and drugs, watch videos showing illicit sexual acts, and read articles full of profane and vulgar language. Youth may accidentally stumble across these things, but because they are presented in an appealing package, they may feel tempted to seek out similar content. Preemptive measures can reduce exposure to inappropriate media, including parental locks and filters on computers and phones. However, this is unlikely to remove it all. Creating an environment where children can feel good and immediately recognize evil is essential. Filling the home with images that provoke thoughts of Christ can help young Christians to know when they see or hear something that pulls thoughts away from Him. Praying and reading scripture as a family can also help create a spiritual sensitivity in each child. Building trust in this way can help children feel confident in speaking with their parents, when they come across something that makes them uncomfortable such as profanity or pornography. Open dialogue is essential when facing these challenges together. Another challenge is peer pressure. Christian youth are surrounded by young people who are not living by the same moral standards. As societal morality changes, many young Christians will find their beliefs different, and sometimes even at odds with those of their friends. This can affect both their faith and conduct. Children will find themselves making difficult decisions, which at times can be between their beliefs and their friends. Youths can find themselves discouraged and their faith diminished if uncertain how to face these challenges. An important tactic for parents when it comes to this struggle is building up self-esteem in their children. By making sure it is illustrated in words and actions, parents can make each child feel important and loved by the family as well as God. Parents can also encourage their children to attend Christian youth groups. Being surrounded by those with similar beliefs often creates a positive peer pressure, forming a desire in each child to do good. These friends can help encourage faith in each other instead of attempting to tear it down. Parents sharing their own challenges and victories will encourage young people facing the challenges of today. As parents prayerfully consider the needs of each child, they will be guided to help each individual.