Themes Covered:  

‘Am I a Mean Mom?’

Parenting isn’t for the faint-at-heart.

“But, but Mom, all my friends are going to the movies!”

Have you heard these words before? I remember when my son Ethan’s entire sixth grade class was going to see a PG-13 movie as an end-of-school celebration. Of course, I wanted him to join his buddies, but I wasn’t comfortable with the film. So my answer was no.

This put me in the “mean mom” category because the other parents signed permission slips without a fuss. I get it. Many sixth graders watch PG-13 movies, and far worse. Was I being too extreme or unreasonable?

Protecting our kids can mean standing alone. When we do, how can we know we’re doing the right thing?

Being Different

Being the parent who is different can be a lonely feeling. Kids aren’t the only ones who cave under peer pressure. Parents cave, too. We also want to fit in.

On Ethan’s first day of middle school, one of my friends asked, “How can you let Ethan bike to school without a phone? What if something happens to him?” At that moment, I questioned my decision to postpone getting him a smartphone.

When your parenting decisions run counter to the culture, others will question you, and you’ll likely second-guess yourself. At times like this, it’s important to keep the why behind your rules in mind. As my husband loves to say, “When your values are clear, the decisions are easy.”

We wanted our kids to look at people instead of their phones. We also wanted them to learn to solve their own problems and rely on God instead of asking Siri for help all the time. And we certainly didn’t want them growing up addicted to phones, video games or social media. This made our family eccentric—doesn’t that sound more exciting?

Being Alone

Maybe you’ve chosen to home-school or take a pay cut to move closer to Grandma and Grandpa. You’ve done something that runs counter to popular thinking, and you often feel alone. Be encouraged—we are called to follow Jesus wherever He leads, not blend in with the crowd.

In Matthew 7:13-14 , Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” As we look around, it’s obvious that too many kids are struggling with anxiety, depression and lack of purpose, and too few have found the path that leads to life.

Being Empowered

After I had finished my speech about kids and smartphones at a middle school in the Midwest, a father walked up to me and said, “I’ve been afraid to take phones away from my kids at night, but I’ve known it’s the right thing to do, and now I’m going to do it.” He needed an empowering voice to affirm that his parenting instincts were good and that he was on the right track. Good parenting today often goes against the grain of what everyone else is doing, and sometimes we need another human to encourage us to persist and remind us we’re not alone.

Your decisions to preserve your child’s purity and innocence may be called radical. But don’t be afraid to step up and do what you know is best for your kids. My son didn’t go to that PG-13 movie with his sixth grade class, but he had a great day nonetheless. We toured the USS Midway aircraft carrier instead.

Being different can be a lot of fun.

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