What do you do when you know your son is being negatively influenced?
Do we really have any control over the influences in our sons’ lives—especially as they get older?
These are questions that most parents face, and they’re not easy ones to answer. But they are good questions, worthy of some serious thought. I believe that guiding our sons in the area of influence may be one of the most important jobs we have as parents.
But how can we help our son deal with negative influences, practically speaking? We can’t raise our son in a bubble (though we sometimes wish!) The world will tell us that our boys will eventually pull away, turning to his peers and away from his parents, especially during his teenage years. And we often feel pressure from the culture or even our own friends or family to “let boys be boys,” which often means “lower your standards.”
Yet a Gospel-centered mom knows there is more.
We want to raise kids in the grace and love of Jesus, and we want to do it well. We cannot force our kids into good influence (or out of bad influence) but we can turn our own hearts to Jesus, and trust His Word to lead us in all we do. (How good to know that the pressure is not on us to figure all of this out!?)
And indeed, the Bible has a lot to say about influences. Instead of making rules or trying to control our son into good influences, (or searching for that elusive bubble!) what if we instead share God’s heart for him, from the God’s Word?
If our sons know that God loves them and has an amazing plan for their life, they are likely to receive his Word as it applies to his life. Proverbs is full of verses teaching wisdom for a young man’s life. A verse I have taught my boys to memorize is Proverbs 13:20: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” Similarly Paul reminds the Corinthian church of the same concept in 1 Corinthians 15:33: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.'” Having simple conversations about God’s Word can be very powerful in impacting our sons’ hearts.
When it comes to entertainment, games or social media, we will find more wisdom in Proverbs as well as the book of Psalms. Psalm 101:3 says: “I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.”
Speaking truth from God’s Word to our sons, with a heart full of love and grace (and a complete dependence on God’s Spirit to do the heart work,) will do more good than a hundred hours of mom-lectures or useless worry.
Share God’s Word often. Share it in love. Share it practically and even share how it affects some of the choices you make in your own life! Then step back and pray that God will do the work on your son’s heart.
Whether the influence comes in the form of friendships, music, video games, or anything else, gospel-centered parenting is about parenting with a heart of faith, confidence and conviction. And the more we anchor our life in the Gospel, the more natural this parenting stuff becomes. Because as Brooke reminds us in her book, Gospel Centered Mom, this is how we will “discover that Jesus is more than capable of meeting every need, for your children and for you.”