One of the greatest battles facing parents in this generation is the war against our children. Never before has a generation been faced with such a hostile cultural environment as the present one. How do we “train them in the way that they should go and when they are old they will not depart from it?” I believe that as parents, we have a responsibility to create a God-promoting environment. Here are three helpful areas in raising counter-cultural kids:
1) Don’t be afraid to set guidelines. You may not always be able to control the world around them, but you can filter THEIR world. Gen Z are more naturally digital natives than any other generation, including millennials. A recent study revealed that Gen Z spends a weekly average of 15.4 hours on their smartphone, 13.2 on TV, and 10.6 on their laptop. Don’t be afraid to set perimeters for your children. It’s okay to say “no” to the 10-year-old who wants a smartphone. Don’t be “mommy shamed” into allowing your child access to technology or social media before you feel they are ready. A wide variety of apps are available to help regulate screen time, privacy settings and sites visited.
- Help them cultivate a spiritual mindset. Deut. 6:6-7 tell us, “… And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” What a charge! This is intentional parenting, purposefully teaching them biblical truths. It means open and honest communication about fear, doubt, trust and faith. Direct them to the Word of God for answers to everyday life situations dealing with friendships and peer pressures.
- Help them find their place in the Kingdom. 3 John 1:4 says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” If we want our children to walk in this beautiful Apostolic message then we must make this life desirable to them. The best way to do this is to involve our children in ministry, which will help them have a greater understanding of the family’s mission and of the Great Commission.
Stay encouraged. Remain steadfast. Continue in the great work of raising countercultural kids and know that your labor is not in vain.
Stephanie Gallion works alongside her husband, Jason, who is the Campus Pastor and Dean of Students at Indiana Bible College. A speaker and singer/songwriter, Stephanie lives in Indianapolis with her husband, raising her two counterculture teenage sons. When they are not busy ministering as a family, they love to hike and camp in the great outdoors.
Indiana Bible College
Campus Pastor’s wife/ Instructor