As a cautionary note…
(This is Part 2. You can read Part 1 here: Reach Out To Youth)
When reaching out to youth, if you’re a parent, your priority is to protect your own children first. Be careful what teens you bring around your own kids, because when there are kids who don’t follow Christ and kids who do, there’s going to be a battle of influence and someone’s going to win. They may try to introduce your own children to drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, pornography or sexual experimentation. They may try to turn your kids away from God and away from you. So please be careful and don’t jeopardize your own kids physical or spiritual safety.
Parents have the power, authority and responsibility to protect their kids. Children need to be protected with our lives!
Also, please don’t leave teens you are trying to help alone with your children, especially with young children and babies. No one should be given unsupervised access to your kids unless they are completely trustworthy! Heard too many terrible stories of terrible things that have happened to kids. As the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Don’t let people push you to have access to your kids. This is where you have to decide looking out for your own kids is more important than pleasing people and someone being “offended” or “hurt” by a boundary you set. If they’re hurt, they’re just going to have to get over it and respect your boundaries or leave.
Husbands, protect your wives. Some guys should not be around your wives without you also being present. (Some guys should not be around your wives at all unless there is significant change in their lives.) Please don’t put your wives in dangerous situations. Protect them. If your wife tells you she is uncomfortable having certain individuals in your house, don’t ignore her. A lot of women have good intuition and gut instinct. If you are a wife reading this who who feels this way, speak up to your husband. Let him know how you feel and discuss guidelines and make ones you can agree on. Have him read this post if necessary! Please don’t ignore your own concerns. Also, don’t really want to mention this but think it’s worth it to say, wives, be careful what teenage girls you allow access to your husband. Make sure you’re always present, unless it’s a group of teenagers.
In desires to help people, sometimes the practical is forgotten.
It’s a good idea not to give teens unmerited trust or full access to your house. Don’t let anyone bully you or pressure you into anything, because it’s often for wrong motives. Beware of manipulation tactics. Teens don’t need someone they can manipulate. They need leaders. Refusing to be bullied or manipulated is not a lack of love. It’s a sign of strength.
Sometimes we want to see people helped so much that we want to bend the rules so they will feel accepted or loved. Maybe they’ll change if we will do this or we will do that, but bending the rules doesn’t guarantee results. It usually only creates safety risks or gives trust they’re not ready to handle. If you love them, your love will shine through even with rules and boundaries.
Love people. Be hospitable. Use wisdom. Pray for guidance. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you.
More Safety Tips For Your Own Kids
It’s okay to set boundaries. It’s okay to tell your kids who they can hang out with and where they can go and what movies and TV shows they can watch.
Also, parents please set guidelines for your daughters and sons regarding dating. It’s okay to make them wait until they are of a mature age to date. My parents set the age of 16 for me. Let your kids know that God’s Word teaches a Christian should only marry another Christian, so whoever they date needs to be a Christian. Please be so careful with whom you let your kids go out with. What guys you let take out your daughters. It can be so dangerous for a girl to be in a car with a guy, depending on the guy. Protect them from the wrong ones. Protect your sons from going out with girls who have no regard for purity and honor. For those who aren’t parents, don’t be afraid to offer opinions, counsel and advice.
Be careful what houses you let your kids go to and who they ride in cars with. Make sure you they are safe in public restrooms. Ask your kids questions. If there seems to be something off, dig deeper to find out what’s going on.
As a child, you just don’t even know or fathom all the dangers or everything you need protected from. Even as a teen. How can a kid know to think of a danger they don’t even know exists? I didn’t live in fear and a lot of times didn’t realize my parents were protecting me or was aware of precautions they were taking. It was just a safe, happy childhood. Many times, I just accepted certain rules, like you can’t go to a sleepover unless we know the parents and everyone who will be at the house.
No parent can protect their child from everything but you can do what you can do.
My parents, aware of potential dangers, offered stewardship and protection over me and my siblings in our childhood as children entrusted by God. While my parents made wise decisions, the Holy Spirit and prayer had so much to do with protection and safety. While my parents introduced me to Jesus, it’s the Spirit of God who worked in my heart to bring me to Jesus.