The world’s philosophies and trends are ever changing. Is it valuable for Christian parents to follow the newest fads? Does God’s Word offer answers to these questions? Does God even care? Join AMBrewster as he looks at 2018’s hottest trends and compares them to God’s perfect Word.
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So, every year articles are written and videos are produced telling everyone what the cool parenting trends will be in the new year. Cause — you know — we all want to be cool parents.
I’m not certain if these people just watch pop culture and follow the progression of the previous year and make predictions about the new year or whether they’re actually just telling us what to like, but either way we’re going to discuss their opinions today.
But first, if this is your first time checking out Truth.Love.Parent. I have a couple things to say:
The first is, thanks for being here. I pray you find biblical, practical advice that will help you become an intentional, premeditated parent.
And second, please know that whatever the topic is, I rarely discuss it the way other people would.
To be honest, if you ask anyone who knows me, they will tell you that I really don’t care about consensus. I don’t care if everyone thinks it’s cool, I don’t care if “everyone’s doing it,” I just don’t care.
However, I really, really, really, really care about whether or not a choice will please the Lord or not.
And I do believe that He cares. Some people argue that He doesn’t care about the “little things,” but He definitely and completely cares about everything I do. He cares about the clothes I wear, the food I eat, how I parent, the church I attend, He cares about it all. And He cares about that stuff for your family as well.
If He didn’t he would take so much time to show us how intimately aware He is of the minutest details in the galaxy and also tell us that we need to glorify Him in everything we do. If we have to be told to glorify Him in everything, it’s because we may not. And if we don’t glorify Him in something, He definitely cares.
So, more than simply discussing 2018 parenting trends, we’re going to talk about whether or not we — as Christian parents — should embrace then in our parenting.
But before we jump into that, I want to encourage you to swing by TruthLoveParent.com and check out our top ten most listened to episodes of 2017. And if you missed any of them, I highly suggest you give them a listen. And while you’re there, you can avail yourself of our other top 10 lists (including my personal favorites) and our show lists by topic.
And don’t forget that you have until January 31st to receive upgraded Patreon rewards for the entire calendar year of 2018. Just check out patreon.com or click on the “5 Ways to Support TLP” link in the description of this episode.
Okay, so what’s cool in the parenting world this year and should you care?
I scoured the internet for some consensus. Everyone has their own lists and ideas, and most people lean pretty heavily on Pinterst to answer this question, but I did find a number of overlaps and points of agreement, and I’ve put them into a few categories for your consideration.
The categories are these: babies, bodies, sustainability, and technology, and we’ll discuss them in that order.
1. Okay, so for all of you with babies, the all-wise cultural group-think is talking an awful lot about . . .
Weighted blankets. Yes, that’s right, research shows that a heavier than usual blanket is beneficial for babies. I don’t know about you, but I would love an adult-sized one. They sound amazing.
It also seems that 2018 is the year for finally throwing out all those obnoxiously colored, plastic, baby-themed decorations and toys. More and more nurseries are being decorated with mom and dad’s tastes in mind. Minimalistic themes, “mod” decor, and a lot of wood furniture is trendy now.
I’m a huge fan of this next one, it seems permanent forts are in style. Every kid needs a fort, and if he or she doesn’t have one, they’ll make one. Whether it’s under the kitchen table or — like my kids — consisting of every blanket in the house draped over all the furniture in the rec room so that the entire room is transformed into a fort, kids love their forts. But this year the move is toward full-time forts. My personal prediction is that kids will love this, but regardless of how many forts they have in their rooms, they’ll still play under the table.
And lastly for the baby category, thanks to Pinterst, apparently pom poms are a big thing. They’ve found their way into decorating and clothing. Yay.
Alright, so before we move on to the other categories, what’s a parent supposed to think about all of this.
Well, here are some practical considerations.
I think it’s valuable for children of all ages to realize that everything belongs to God, that God has entrusted it to dad and mom to steward, and that some of those things have been entrusted to them by God and their parents to steward. That means that everything in our lives ultimately belongs to God and is given to us to use to glorify Him. That means that unkindly excluding siblings from their special place, or demanding their privacy from mom and dad is dangerous at best. But we could dedicate a whole episode for that, so on we move to Bodies.
2. 2017 was very focused on the human body, specifically within the context of sexuality and gender, and there’s no reason to think that focus is going to die away any time soon.
If you haven’t yet read the Nashville Statement or listened to the TLP Snippet number 10, please do both as soon as possible. This world is in a tail-spin concerning the nature of our bodies, our sexuality, and to whom we belong. And you can’t start too soon teaching your children the Truth concerning these issues.
But there seem to be a couple nice ideas on the horizon. With all the talk concerning sexuality on the negative side, there’s seems to be some refreshing (if not hypocritical) talk on the positive side.
Certain parenting trend prophets believe more parents will teach their children about consent and assertiveness this year.
And a number of sources have noted that teaching children about body neutrality is on the rise. If you’re not familiar with that concept, body neutrality encourages children to stop thinking about how they look. No doubt, this could go in a dangerous direction, but the main motivation appears to be noble. Instead of encouraging little girls to think only about how pretty they are or their sons to give too much thought to what others think, parents are giving their kids more productive and less self-centered purposes.
So, how should the Christian parent think about this? Well, as I mentioned, more time needs to be spent giving our children a biblical view of sexuality.
If encourage you to listen to episode 25, “Parents, Kids, and Techtation,” episode 30, “Teens and Dating,” TLP Snippet number 5, “Transgenderism is Child Abuse,” episode 88, “Apps You Thought Were Safe for Your Kids, But Aren’t,” and the TLP Snippet number 11, “How to Parent a ‘Me Too.’”
Lord willing, our resources for parenting your children in biblical sexuality will increase and Truth.Love.Parent. can become a go-to resource to equip you to be an Ambassador Parent.
In regard to teaching our children about consent, I believe it’s incredibly important, but it needs to be framed the right way. To be honest, none of us should ever give anyone consent to do anything to us that’s sinful. It doesn’t matter if I consent or not, sin is sin. But if our children understand the principles of biblical sexuality, then teaching them to be assertive and stand against undesired overtures or flagrant abuse is very vital.
And, as a fifth degree black belt, teaching our children to protect themselves is also a great idea. Perhaps, we’ll do an episode on that as well.
3. Alright, not moving on the Sustainability trends for 2018.
I already mentioned some of this when we talked about the move away from plastic toys and decor. Classic wooden toys are making a comeback for more reasons than the mere environmental effects, but I’ll talk about that more in a minute.
Of course, companies are creating far more eco-friendly products to appeal to the millennials who —thankfully — care about the planet.
One interesting thing I saw was jewelry that was designed from silicone. It looked very pretty and modern, but it was also designed to be safe if your baby grabbed it and started chewing on it.
It sounds like a great idea, but you have to know that if you allow your baby to do that, you’re going to have drool running down your neck. I know, you moms are used to that, but why encourage it. I don’t know.
Well, those of you who’ve been listening to this show for any amount of time, know that I’m very serious about our creation mandate. Humans were commanded to steward the world, and I believe that Christians should be the best environmentalists — not because we worship trees and endangered species, but because we worship God.
You can learn all about the Sanctified Sustainability movement I started by listening to episodes 47 and the TLP Snippet number 6.
In short, I think more wood and less plastic is very wise. I also love the idea of encouraging our children to play games that get them outsides and using their five senses with tactile, three-dimensional toys.
4. And that leads us to our last category of the day: Technology.
Well, I learned some encouraging things from my research. First, as I mentioned, there are a plethora of good studies that show the deleterious effects of too much screen time. We’ve shared and plan to continue sharing those articles on TLP’s Facebook page, so make sure you like us.
Hey, if you’re going to be on a device, you may as well be using it to glorify God in your family.
There’s also a movement transitioning Helicopter Parents into a new category — FBI Parents. Yes, that’s right, you too can monitor your child’s every movement with special devices that connect to clothing and that are trackable with your phones.
And lastly, it seems many parents are creating an online presence for their children before they’re even born. Twitter handles, Facebook pages, Instagram accounts, and email addresses are being created so that when they’re little bundle of joy is old enough to maturely access the world wide web, they don’t have to fight for their name.
Of course, I also read that some parents are deliberately changing the spelling of their kid’s names simply so they can have unique avatars.
Biblically speaking, I think there’re plenty of amazing principles to address these questions.
First, I believe we’d be foolish to ignore the vast array of studies that show our kids are negatively affected by too much screen time. In addition, the Bible makes it crystal clear that addictions of any kind are actually forms of self-idolatry. If you haven’t heard “How to Know if Your Child is Addicted,” please check out episode 114. Devices are extremely addicting in that they promote the lie that satisfaction can be found outside of Christ and inside the tiny box marked “pleasure.”
Second, I think there’s wisdom in protecting your children. Sometimes technology can be used to protect them from people who would do them harm, and sometimes it can be used to protect them from themselves as they strive to do themselves harm.
To that end, there may be wisdom in looking into ways of tracking your children’s whereabouts. However, like with everything else, please check your motive. A dictatorial, insecure, or suspicious parent isn’t going to glorify God no matter what they do. Be certain your choices are motivated by pleasing the Lord and get lots of counsel.
Lastly, I suppose one could logically argue that since we occupy this technological world, creating an email address for them so they don’t have to have JohnSmith214387QLfirstname.lastname@example.org might be really helpful.
However, what if your parents had created you a Yahoo, AOL, or Juno account? How helpful would that be today? Imagine a kid who’s been waiting fifteen years to use his MySpace page just to find out no one thinks that’s cool anymore.
My point is, is it really that important? Can it really not wait?
I know, some people create an email address for they child and then write them daily emails they hope their child will actually take the time to read in the future. And maybe that’s an awesome idea, but so is writing it in a book or saving it in a document on your computer.
It’s hard to argue from Scripture that the trend may be lame, but that’s my opinion.
So, there you go. Whether you eat or drink or wrap your child in a eco-friendly weighted blanket equipped with it’s own email address and GPS chip made out of wood . . . do all to the glory of God.
I encourage you to be less interested in the fad and more interested in how you can parent your children into the knowledge of God. Focus on training them in the way they should go more than helping them be trendy.
Believe it or not, but I have no episode notes for you today. But that doesn’t mean you can’t share this podcast and the accompanying transcript to be a blessing to your friends.
On our next episode we’ll ask the question, “Where in Your House is God Not Allowed?” Believe it or not, there may be places in your house where God is not allowed to go. If that’s the case, you’re going to want to figure that out and throw the doors wide open as soon as possible.
And, I’d like to give a special thanks to Matt and Sonja for becoming a Patron at patreon.com. They believe in Truth.Love.Parent. and have partnered with us to help further our mission of glorifying God by serving families all over the globe.
And if you would like some specific and specialized help, don’t hesitate to write to Counselor@TruthLoveParent.com.
The world’s philosophies and trends and fads are ever changing. Itching ears and restless fingers will never cease to look for new ways to be satisfied, but God’s Word provides the only Perfect Philosophy that eternally satisfies.
Enjoy 2018 all to the glory of God.
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