I wish I could say that being a “step-mom” has been a walk in the park, but it hasn’t. I wish I could say that things will get easier, but they won’t for a while. I wish I could say that I was good at leading a “Godly” example for M&M, but despite my efforts, I am not perfect.
Jumping in to a parent role has not been the easiest adjustment. I went from being single and caring only about myself and my dog, to dating this wonderful man and his children. While I cared for them and worried for them while we were dating, it changed when I became one of M&M’s four legal guardians. The nagging “Are you setting a good example?” “A Godly one?” “Are you dressed the way you would want M to dress?” “Are you conducting yourself the way you would want M to conduct herself?” is consistent. Everything I do revolves around these two human beings that look at me as a role model for how they are allowed to act.
Now, I’m not saying this is a bad thing. It’s a wonderful thing. It keeps me motivated, it keeps me honest and it keeps me humble. However, I’m now caught in a situation where I’m stuck between “Where did I go wrong?” and “Why can’t they listen to what we are trying to tell them?”
Part of the answer revolves heavily around social media website. Yes, parents, you heard correctly. Websites like Instagram, Snap Chat, Vine, Facebook, Twitter, so on and so forth. It is today’s culture that is embedding itself into our children’s mind that is making them feel like they have to go to drastic measures for attention. By drastic measures I mean talking to men/women they don’t personally know, posting revealing pictures of themselves, putting their personal information online, saying or doing just about anything to give them the attention that they crave.
It says in Matthew 6:1, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them. for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.”
This is telling us that it is not OK to act selfishly, righteously, or higher than any other person. However, that is all that we see on these social media accounts. It’s not just selfish comments like “Rate me.” “I’m beautiful.” or things of that nature anymore. It is also starting to be comments made out of lust for another.
Galatians 5:16 states “But I say, walk with the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” However, we are still seeing comments as “Shout out to this most perfect girl.” “I’m taken by the most beautiful girl in the world.” and things of that nature. The scary thing is that this is not just happening in people over the age of 18. In the past 24 hours, I have seen these comments made on Instagram by an Elementary school student. ELEMENTARY aged student.
Parents of this child; WHERE ARE YOU? What in your right mind made you think that it was OK to let your ELEMENTARY aged child create a social media account where he has access to endless pages of pornography, predators, hackers and other things that could completely ruin his future?
I would like to think that Terri, Marc, Shane and I are all on the same page when it comes to disciplining M&M – better yet, I KNOW we are on the same page. I’ve heard comments come from people that I’ve talked to that amount to “You just need to let them make those mistakes. You don’t need to guide their every move.” While, no we don’t need to oversee everything they do, they have to earn that trust. However, we are struggling with the trust issue due to issues with….. social media! Go figure! However, this isn’t the only issue. It’s the staying up late to be on this website talking to boys/men that she doesn’t know, it’s the poor performance she has been exhibiting in school because she’s tired, it’s the selfish attitude that shows through when she doesn’t get her way, it’s the disrespect that she shows her father (and probably her mother), and it’s the spider web of lies and deceit that she has now weaved but caught herself in.
So, yes. We are hard on both of the kids. But it is showing them how to become responsible and functional adults when it comes their time to contribute to society. The workforce won’t hire someone with a poor attitude. They won’t hire someone who’s constantly posting inappropriate or questionable things on their social media. They will not be able to function in society if they do not have firm hands guiding them the way they are supposed to go.
We try to bring the kids up in faith and try to find Biblical backing in all that we do. And my motivation for this upcoming week is going to be Hebrews 12:11 “For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
This next week is going to be painful. Not only for us as parents but also for us as guidance counselors. We will be starting to take steps to ensure that the kids’ know the danger of the social media world. By dangers, I’m not just talking about the occasional bullying or the rude comments back and forth; I’m talking about the child abductions, the sex trafficking, the rapes and the murders.
Parents, please please please make your children (especially your young ladies) aware of the dangers of putting their information, their picture, etc online. If you need advice or have advice (as I’m going to be going through this over the course of the next few weeks with my little lady) please leave it in the comments to help other parents.