How Kids Get into Trouble

In our crime-ridden society, Christian parents are more concerned that their children grow into good adults. They want them to maintain pure lives uncluttered by the miseries around them. Drugs, smoking, alcohol and unmarried sex are endangering children at an ever increasing rate and at progressively younger ages.

Consider a new study released by the University of Minnesota and published in the December issue of the American Journal of Public Health. It is the largest study of its kind concerning adolescence.

The principal investigator of this study, Dr. Robert Blum, wrote, "How young people do at school and what they do with their free time are the most important determinants for every risky behavior we studied." Later, the article says, "substantial time 'hanging out' and other factors were three to eight times more likely to predict a sex, drugs and booze-filled lifestyle."

The article continues, "Parents should be on guard if they see their kids struggling with school or spending large blocks of unsupervised time with sketchy friends, the study found." Blum said, "Parents should know that if a teen's friends smoke or drink, the chances go up substantially that the teen will also smoke or drink or engage in other problem behaviors. It's very clear that parents need to know who their children's friends are and what they spend their time doing."

In our society, with an increasing cost of living and the availability of adult toys, more and more children are left unsupervised. If both parents work as a result of legitimate financial need that is one thing. If they work to buy bigger houses, cars and boats then is the loss of their children worth their covetousness? Are we sacrificing a generation on the altar of greed? Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:33, "Do not be deceived, 'Evil company corrupts good habits.'" Or, as is fitting for our age. "Covetous parents corrupt the good habits of children."

Parents should consider child-rearing their primary function. Paul's point, as applied here, is that these friends have become substitute role models and, as immature adolescents, they are ill-fitted for the job. They will do what their lusts tell them to do.

Repeated studies have shown that children whose parents are active in their lives, are more likely to avoid immoral behavior. Parents are to instruct their charges in mature, moral decision-making based on God's principles. If parents leave the 'instruction' to their children's friends, then they need not be surprised when their children grow up with different principles and moral beliefs than thier own. Will it be the children's fault entirely?

Richard Mansel

Published in The Old Paths Archive