OPINION: Avoiding Extremes in Parenting

Growing up, we didn’t have a television box at home, so we would sneak off to our neighbour’s house to watch movies through the net. When the neighbours refused opening the curtains, sometimes we would use broomsticks to move them.

My mum would get very angry at this, especially when she came home and met our absence. She knew she could not completely stop us. So she decided to get us a television 📺. It wasn’t top quality but at the time, it was enough. So we stopped going to see movies in other homes.

This was how she dealt with that problem. Where she failed was her not regulating the things we watched.

I’m telling this story because I believe in today’s world of phones and gadgets and technology and excess movies, I don’t think the best ploy is to completely cut kids away from television or phones. Because if you do, they end up looking for other ways to gain access to these things, albeit secretly, and using them in places you don’t visit and in ways you never imagined they would use them.

I think what is best is, when a child is of age, old enough to understand, let them know what can make or mar them. Because when we don’t, maybe by completely cutting them off modern technology, they learn only the bad from their peers or gadgets. So teach them and let them start learning self control and learning how to trust God to overcome their bodily lusts.

Most teenage girls I talk to that their parents failed to teach them about their bodies ended up experimenting whatever they heard from their peers or television. Some of them did not even understand menstruation. Others confessed to their mates telling them that in order to cure irregular menstruation, they need to have sex. One told me that her friends said the cure to itchy nipples is to have a boy play with the breasts.

We have heard stories of how single sex schools end up producing more gays and lesbians than mixed sex schools. I spent one year in a single sex school and I can attest to this. Trying to instill abstinence in a child, especially a teenage child, by completely cutting them off stuff like the opposite sex, phones, television, etc only heighten their curiosities. They wonder what makes the opposite sex/phones/TV so mysterious that they’re kept away from.

My boy-only school then had a girl-only sister school near-by. Anytime we had inter-school competitions, my seniors would be very excited. I would see them going over-the-top to appear nice and look the part, in order to impress the girls from that sister school and the girls would do the same too. Because the idea that the opposite sex is “mysterious,” or special or in need of pleasing, was unconsciously instilled in them by the mere separation of the genders. There was this uncharacteristic aura of excitement that they bathed in when they came across the opposite sex. Worst of it all, some of us who were timid and were not daring like others grew up socially awkward and never ever got to know how to talk to girls.

Of course, Fellowship of Christian Students(FCS) later in the university further worsened matters, preferring to teach complete boycotting of the opposite sex rather than teaching self control. Of course, I later attended a mixed sex school where I found gays and students who had sexual encounters with the opposite sex too. But we can’t fully use these examples because:
1. Those that did those things were an exception, not the norm
2. They were not Christians. Church goers, yes. But not Christians. And may have lacked proper home training
3. Schools back then were filled with mature people who were already world-savvy before entering school. You can’t control a tree when it is hard, you can only try when it is still tender.

In this fallen world there is no watershed except in Christ. And we have this watershed, we have this Christ. So we are at an advantage.

This is not in anyway saying one should get their kids phones at an early stage. What I’m saying is there should be moderation. The middle ground in these matters is always better. As much as it depends on you, avoid extremes. And if you know your kids well, you can determine when they’re ripe to be taught somethings.

But what do I know? I am not a parent yet😀.

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