The battle with evil is real. But as a mom, you have the power to decide what you will allow to come into your home. I’ve always loved this poem:
“All the water in the world no matter how it tried, could never sink the smallest ship unless it gets inside.
All the evil in the world, the blackest kind of sin, can never hurt you the least bit, unless you let it in.”
Evil attacks us in lots of forms and in lots of ways. Your job is to take the steps necessary to protect your family and teach them the skills to block the bad and embrace the good. You can be the difference in the success of your family and everything that happens in your home.
Pornography. Yes, it is a major player of evil in our day. It is addictive, and will damage individuals and families. I have seen so many broken families that stemmed from pornography. Do not let it into your home! It leads to poor self-esteem, anxiety, depression, sets unrealistic expectations and misinformation about sexual intimacy. It comes in lots of forms: you can hear it, see it, or read it.
Talk to your kids about it now. I love this little video you can watch with your kids to talk about what it is and what they should do when they see it. Take time to talk to your kids about intimacy and the time and place for it as well. We actually started “the talk” with our kids when they were 8. At that age their bodies haven’t changed much yet and they aren’t super embarrassed by it. We try to talk to them every year or two…both of us parents and them. We start with a prayer and have a simplified book we got at the maturation program at school. This sets the stage for other questions they may have in the future and that they can come to us and ask us questions.
TV and Movies. Let’s face it! Prime time shows aren’t the same morally as they were even 10 years ago. Values are decreasing and especially the way the family is portrayed. It is an anything goes society, but that is not God’s way. If you allow these things into your home, it will affect you and your family. I’ve seen many people become “desensitized” to the swearing, lowering morals, sexual inuendos, etc. Even the way people treat each other. Basic kindness and civility is fading. Be very selective in what you watch!
We have a DVR and that has helped us tremendously with what we watch. We only record stuff we really want to see. I love that we can fast forward through any inappropriate scenes, bad language, commercials, or repeat stuff (like after a commercial when they summarize the show so far). You actually watch a lot less TV. And we find that when we get busy, that TV is the first thing we skip. Our shows are getting recorded so we can watch them eventually. Our DVR is almost full and even now we watch only our favorites. When we watch is also important, because I’ve found TV is a big time sucker! We don’t have the TV on right after school while the kids are finishing their homework. Sometimes, like the other night, I reward them after they finish homework and showers and chores with a Hallmark Murder Mystery or something fun like that. I’ve noticed that commercials are getting more risque, that shows are pushing what they’ll allow. But don’t let them push your standards!
Generally, we don’t go to movie theaters unless it is something big that the kids have been dying to see. Most movies that come out we get from the library. We can order them the week they are released on DVD. It usually doesn’t take too long for them to come. Watching them at home allows you the freedom to fast forward through any bad scenes or even just turn the movie off if it is really bad or dumb. It has saved us a lot of time and money! We now choose exactly what we will watch at home.
Social Media. I was in a meeting at the high school recently and the principal shared some stats from an experiment a class did there. For the entire class period, every time the kids received a text, call, or Face Time message they were supposed to come put a mark on the board. Well, one class had over 500 messages! So crazy to me! But I see it with teenage girls I am friends with on Instagram. They like my posts right when they get up or during school hours. I wonder if they ever get off their phones. I remember my niece telling my that during class she could text without even looking at her phone. Is that talent or addiction? As a teacher, I cringe because I know that they are not learning while they are on their phones.
There are a whole lot of people (not just teens) that can’t put their phones down for anything…even sacred worship services. I see them everywhere. It makes me so sad when I see an entire family at a restaurant looking down at their phones! Or kids in a shopping cart watching or playing on a phone or tablet. I used to love playing and talking with my kids as we shopped. I just don’t see kids playing outside much anymore. When will they learn how to imagine and create? How about you? How long could you stay away from your phone? Try it and see. I did a 2 week social media/phone games fast. At first, it was hard. But then I found I had so much more time to get things done! Try it! See how you do!
We are forgetting how to interact with each other. Social Media is taking away social skills! I do think it’s important for kids to have phones. My kids all got one around 6th grade…but they weren’t smart phones. They have flip phones or watch phones. Please do not buy your 1st grader a super nice smart phone! I was always shocked when I’d go to school and see young kids that had nicer phones than me! They can’t even read yet! That is a recipe for disaster.
Internet. There is so much good online. But with that good comes the bad as well. How can you help your kids know which is which? My kids are so quick to ask SIRI a question or Google it. They want instant answers, but how do you know what is accurate? Teach your kids how to search, and what to search. Also, put filters on your computer and YouTube. Anything you can do will help.
Books/Magazines. I was surprised recently at the doctor’s office when I picked up a magazine to see what was happening with celebrities. Really, nothing should surprise me, but they were wearing lingerie! When did they start wearing underwear to events? I wish I had made better use of time while I was waiting. Yikes! Also, use caution picking out which books you will read. I have some friends that I follow on Goodreads. I like to see their recommendations and try those books out. I’m starting to find authors that are clean and like to read those. There are some authors I avoid because they just have to add that extra crap that I don’t need. I have to be so careful because what I read creates a very visual image in my head. Images that don’t go away! Pick books and magazines that are fun, motivating, or uplifting. Books that will leave you a better person because of having read them.
Some things we have done to help protect our family from evil media…
- Go to bed at a decent time. Consistently staying up late leads to trouble, lack of judgement, less health, and being dumber (because a tired brain is a dumb brain).
- Put all computer devices in an open family area. We don’t have computers, TVs, Phones, or Tablets in bedrooms or other private areas of our home. We have a place for the laptops to charge, a place to plug phones in, and a place for tablets-all in the main family living area.
- Talk to your kids about what pornography is and what to do if they see it. Also, talk about sexual intimacy, body changes, and what a great relationship should look like.
- Go to the library. Our local library has some lists of clean books like “Clean Teen Mysteries”. It’s been fun to try some of those. There are a lot of options online for clean book lists. Here’s one from Goodreads. You can find good books that don’t have all the added crap in them!
- Limit your child’s screen time. Especially when they are little. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends under 18 months=no screen time, 18-24 months=high quality programming that you watch with them, 2-5 years=1 hour a day of high-quality programming that you watch with them, 6+=set consistent limits on screen time. Have media free times (like dinner), and media free zones (like bedrooms).
- Limit your screen time. Yep. Even adults struggle with that. Have a set time each day when you can be online. Try to be present with your kids when they are with you. We have a “no phones” during dinner rule. Also, I try to put phones and computers aside right after school. That is the “magic time” when my kids are most open and will talk to me and tell me about their day.
- Having open communication with your kids is vital. Let them know they can come to you with any questions and concerns. And when they do come to you with serious concerns, don’t freak out! Try to be loving and straightforward.