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Fox News
Fox News
6 Apr 2023


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A proverb says, "Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost." (Proverbs 22:6 MSG). 

It’s every parent’s desire to see their children grow up to have quality character, a conscience built on a strong foundation, and a clear motivation that moves in the direction of success. This is a noble and honorable goal. In today’s culture, that goal can feel overwhelmingly scary.  

How do we parent well in a world that is trying to influence our child’s identity? How do we parent well in a world that is fiercely competing for our children’s hearts and minds through its ideological constructs? How do we parent well in a world that is trying to over-sexualize our children? How do we parent well in a world gone completely mad? 

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There’s not a 2+2 = 4 formula to answer these questions; however, I do believe there are five keys that can assist us in the process. I am certain that if you implement these keys in your household, you will begin to find that parenting in this nonsensical world will seem less daunting, and you will be able to begin establishing a solid foundation. 

Work to know the information your child is receiving. Understand the lingo.

Work to know the information your child is receiving. Understand the lingo. (iStock)

Create opportunities to slow down your family’s pace of life, so you can actively engage in face-to-face conversations with your children. When we create intentional time with our kids, we can see them for who they are and who God has designed them to be.  

This is not a one-off or once-a-week occurrence. The more time is invested, the more your relational presence and relational connection will positively impact your child and their overall wellbeing. 

Taking the idea of being relationally present one step further, we must be curious students of the world of our children. Yes, that requires more effort for us; yet, it is a deeply impactful key to parenting well. 

Do you know the lingo your children are using? The fashion that is important? The music, books, or movies that are being discussed? Do you know the current social media fads? Do you even know what social media platforms your children are involved in?  

These questions are not meant to overwhelm you but to inform you and get you thinking. Our children are being bombarded with information 24/7. If we are not aware of these things, we cannot effectively confront the cultural lies with truth. 

(NOTE: A great resource is "Culture Translator" by Axis. You can sign up for this free resource at www.axis.org.) 

Language creates culture, and culture has the power to speak life or speak death. Whether you realize it or not, every household has a culture around mental and emotional well-being. How does your current culture recognize and treat emotions and mental health?  

This is a key to effective parenting because it establishes a commonality and a safe place within the family. When emotions are something not to be feared, they become indicators, like a check-engine light, of something deeper and can lead to conversations of growth and learning. 

This is not a one-off or once-a-week occurrence. The more time is invested, the more your relational presence and relational connection will positively impact your child and their overall wellbeing. 

This takes a proactive posture. Do not wait for school, media, friends, or social media to influence your children’s hearts and minds. Do your best to get ahead of them and have the conversation first. Being proactive means that you need to pre-plan these conversations.  

Sit down with your spouse and discuss the different pressures and ideas your children are facing and then develop an age-appropriate game plan. Once you’ve established a game plan, allow curiosity to guide your questions and conversations. You will not be disappointed with the results. It will be hard, but it will be good. 

Take a step back from the chaos that is parenting for a moment and ask yourself this question: "When I fast-forward 20 years, who do I want my children to be?" As you process this question, you can walk backward and create a culture in your home that supports that goal.  

Remember, you are not creating Mini-Mes. Make an effort to understand your children’s questions, likes, and dislikes and to not take offense. Allow them to learn from their mistakes, and don’t take their mistakes personally as a parent. Allow your children to fail forward, so they can develop resilience and grit. 

In my opinion, parenting is one of the greatest responsibilities on this earth. Parenting is also a gift as we get to be part of the growth of the children God has placed in our hands. Take heart that the work you are doing is good and will not return void. Make sure you surround yourself with good support, and do not be afraid to reach out for help. 

Dr. Mark Mayfield is a former pastor, a licensed professional counselor, a board-certified counselor and the founder and CEO of Mayfield Counseling Centers. He has more than 14 years of professional counseling experience. He has been featured in prominent media outlets, including Woman’s Day, HelloGiggles, NBC, Reader’s Digest, Byrdie, and more. His latest book, "The Path to Wholeness," will release from NavPress on May 9, 2023.