By Sophie Barcant,
BA (Psyc), B.ED.
I am sure we all agree that there are many threats to our children’s safety.
When we think of safety we tend to think about their physical safety but I would like to focus on the safety of their souls, minds and character.
Their precious souls, minds and character are threatened by so much: music, movies, novels and too much screen time are a few. Not to mention porn, alcohol and drugs. Even their confidence and self worth are threatened.
Worst of all, along with abuse is parental emotional absence, the worst threats. Some parents believe that children are doing fine once they are near us and on their screens or quietly occupied. This is not so at all. Isolation: the tendency to spend a lot of time alone is NOT healthy. Meaningful interaction is absolutely essential for healthy psycho-emotional development of children.
We can start by having conversations—without threats, lectures or sarcasm, explaining and cautioning them about the dangers around them. We have very limited control over what they see, do and hear so let’s at least warn them about the consequences of filling one’s mind and heart with negative content.
The lyrics of some popular songs are full of death wishes, depression and despair, and there are movies riddled with horror, evil and violence.
Is that what we want our children’s subconscious minds to record? Suicide and violence being the solution to broken hearts, conflict and mistakes?
Teens think they are invincible and no harm can touch them; they do however listen to stories and incidents recounted of what has happened to others their age who made poor choices and suffered unnecessarily as a result. Let’s tell or recreate those stories and make sure they hear them.
We protect their confidence and self worth by affirming them for their virtuous qualities: thoughtfulness, kindness, honesty, hard work and loyalty, not measuring their worth on academic and extra-curricular achievements. We fill their emotional bank accounts when we do this. Inappropriate behaviour is a clear sign that one’s emotional bank account is depleted.
We all have basic, human, emotional needs and when they are not met, we find vehicles to get them. Some subconsciously seek to get them met with anti-social behaviour, bullying, promiscuity, porn, drugs, self-harm and alcohol to name a few and others by becoming high achievers or workaholics.
Let’s support the efforts of catechists in our parishes who love our children and only want what we want for our own children: to form them in the faith and protect their souls from the snares of the world.
We protect them by lovingly equipping them with information about these subtle dangers all around, spending time on our knees praying WITH and for them and ensuring they are surrounded by like-minded friends.
In what other ways do you think we can protect their souls and precious minds?
Stay tuned for how we as parents can guide them in their choice of friends.
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