We live in a third world country with bundles of “bad kids.” These kids repeat cuss words every other sentence, (and it’s the worst of the worst language known to man) they steal from neighbors, friends and family and their mouths pour out lies on a regular basis. Yes, they are the epitome of what most people consider a “bad kid.”
What does a mom do? Do I ban my kids from spending time with them? Eh…sometimes.
Rewind to our pre-mission field life. Did I let my kids play with “bad kids” back then? I try to consider my pre-mission field life when making these difficult parent decisions. I try to remember that moral issues should always be a priority in parenting — no matter what country your family resides in.
But “bad kids” can be a danger to my kids in ANY country we live in.
I’m sure you don’t want to be considered a judgmental, overprotective, super-strict mom — and I don’t either. However, parents need to shelter their kids in a healthy, ever-learning, moral environment. And there are times when a parent needs to keep bad kids away from their own kids — for the sake of their child’s future.
“My kids were great until I sent them to school and they got with the wrong crowd.”
“My daughter distinctly changed when I let her play with other kids that I had reservations about.”
“My daughter has completely turned away from the ethics we taught her. She hd friends meeting up with her with bags of inappropriate clothing and CDs of detrimental music. Those friends created a way for her to dig deeper into immorality. I should have been more careful!”
“My daughter became rebellious when she starting hanging out with other leaders in the church who didn’t share our family’s beliefs on wholesome living. They went behind my back and enabled her to disobey our family’s rules.”
“If I could raise my child again, I would be more strict — especially with friends!”
Those above statements are from seasoned moms that were being honest and open with me about parenting. They had seen their kids go astray and both noticed a negative change when their kids chose some bad friends.
Your kids are highly affected by their friends or playmates. It’s a simple fact that many parents overlook.
A great parenting guide for this situation is found in I Corinthian 15:33.
Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.
Many parents teach their child to be courteous, respectful, kind and loving. However, the wrong kind of friends can drastically change your child’s attitude and character.
Now, if you’re in a situation like our family has been in where your kids are literally surrounded by ill-mannered, immoral children, you have to make daily decisions on reaching out to the community kids vs. protecting your own kids. Our kids do play with the neighborhood kids from time to time, but it will be at our house under our supervision. We’ve had kids come over and play Uno, freeze tag and other games — but it only happens when at least on parent is home. My kids are never allowed to run off unsupervised with kids who are known to exhibit character traits that drastically go against our family’s beliefs.
And that includes family.
We have kids in our family that cuss, talk about dirty things, lie and are violent. Though we love and pray for our family members, we do not allow our kids to spend a lot of time with those family members as well.
Yes, they’re family, but you have to be careful.
Guess who offered me a cigarette for the first time in my life?
Guess who introduced me to music filled with cuss words and filth?
The “bad kids” in your child’s life could be neighbors, church friends and even family. Dear parent, you have to watch out and be careful. You have to make unpopular decisions for the sake of your child’s future.
Be oh so vey careful when it comes to who you allow your child to spend time with.
I’ve slipped up a few times with very good intentions. I wanted to reach out to some neighborhood kids when we were in America. These kids were bored and their families were rarely around or involved in their lives. I would make them hot cocoa and let them hang out out our house. The kids were probably four or five years older than my oldest child. But,I went against better judgement and let them hang out together. Hey, they went to church with us sometimes, so it would be safe, right?
One of my kids picked up a bad habit from those kids. It took us about two weeks of constantly correcting our child to see a change. I had to finally tell our neighborhood kids there were limits to their visits and things improved drastically.
I want to invite every kid into my home for cookies and milk. I want kids to play at my house for hours and do crafts, have water fights, read books etc. But I can’t let my emotions guide me when it comes to “bad kids” influencing my own children. I am responsible for protecting the childhood of my own children. I am responsible for the influencers in their life. And because of that, I have to limit their time with kids our family doesn’t approve of.
How can you decide if someone is a good kid?
Well, there’s not a full-proof plan for this, but a little bit of conversing and observing will definitely help.
Observe your child’s friend’s character. Talk to your child’s friend. And definitely stay involved with your child’s relationships.
Many parents miss noticing the “bad kid” in their child’s life simply because they’re caught up with their own life. Being busy isn’t wrong, but when we’re so busy in our own lives we often miss danger signals on our parenting adventure. So stay tuned in. Keep a watch out and protect your child.
Reflecting on my childhood, here are a few things my “friends” tempted me to do:
lie to my parents
hate my parents
These are only a few things those “friends” encouraged me to do. When I refused, then I was shamed and pressured further. Don’t think your child will not be pressured to do those very same things if she has the wrong kind of friends.
If your child is older and a strong Christian, friends that try to negatively influence her life will naturally depart. However, when children are at a tender age, they are more susceptible to follow friends because they are not yet fully grounded on their beliefs.
As a parent, you have to safe-guard your children, much like a shepherd watches over his flock. When you see the wayward friends that desire to pull your child down, pull your child away from the danger and protect him or her at all costs.
Here are some warning signs of a “bad” kid that could negatively influence your child:
The child is disrespectful to authority.
The child is consumed with “being cool.”
You catch the child in several lies.
The child has a “fake” air about him or her.
The child mocks other children.
An easy way our family tries to ensure our kids have a group of friends that will only strengthen the core beliefs of your family is to stick together. Instead of sending our kids off to have fun, we have fun together! We invite our friends and their kids to come along as well.
My kids’ closest friends are children of my friends. Close friends have similar interests and goals. My friends are Christians that desire to see their kids serve the Lord. In turn, they are raising their kids with just about the same values as our family. We can get together often and let our kids play, talk and fellowship for several hours.
As far as protecting school-aged children, encourage your child to seek out friends that share the same values. Even if those are few and far between, a few treasured friends are worth far more than friends who will invite you to partake in sin and wrong-doing. Taking a stand at school can sometimes be tough, but with friends who share similar core beliefs, your child will have a support group to help her continue to stand.
Let’s heed the honest, seasoned parents’ warning and not allow our children to have close friendships with other kids that will only tear them down morally. Our kids are treasures worth protecting!