Establishing yourself as Your Childs Moral Authority

By: Len Stauffenger
When I was thirteen years old, my moral foundation was tested when my best friend called me all excited and said to come over to his house. He lived in an old two-story house with a big attic that you could walk in. He had been in the attic and found an old Playboy magazine with a photograph of a young model, staring into the camera not wearing a top. We could see her bare breasts.

Moral behavior aside, other than National Geographic photos, it was the first time we had seen bare breasts. To us, this photo was a treasure and there might be more treasures down in the walls of the house! Imagine these two thirteen-year-old boys, up in the attic, reaching down between the 2 x 4's into the walls of this old house trying to find more pictures of naked woman.

Everyone knows that is just about what you would expect from thirteen year old boys. But back in that day, there was no cable TV and we watched shows like The Brady Bunch and Gilligan's Island. There was no Internet, nor were there magazines at the grocery store check-out promising you the top ten sex secrets to make your lover go crazy.

My friend nor I ended up perverted because we had parents who drew the line in the sand and enforced the rules they established. There weren't many outside influences countermanding those rules. Today, a child can get on the Internet and find pictures and even videos of people doing things we never imagined when my friend and I were thirteen years old.

As I grew older, I look back and realized that whenever I was facing different and challenging conditions, I had been blessed because I had been given a strong moral foundation. Our parents established a strong foundation of morality for each one of us. Once we had that foundation, we could say no to all the negative influences in the world.

It's our role as parents now to give our children strong moral foundation. If you can establish a strong foundation, your children will become successful adults and they will carry that foundation with them through whatever the future has in store. The scary part about today's world is that there are more outside influences than ever and they have an influence on your children. Again, every generation has its challenges. Here are the steps you take to establish your moral authority so that you can create young adults who have the same basic values you do.

Five Tips for Establishing a Moral Foundation for Your Children

1. You are the most important role model and influence that they have or ever will have. They will model your behavior for years. So, in colloquial terms, don't just talk the talk, walk the walk. Live the way you want them to live. That's the most powerful influence in their lives. As adults, we're always looking for cues on how to behave. Kids are like scanners, constantly on the alert, so model for them the kind of life you want them to live. Be honest, treat people the way you want to be treated, make your decisions on love - not fear. Give more than you receive.

2. Control their access to the Internet. If they have their own computer it should not be in their room. It should be out in the open where they're using it. If there was an Internet when I was fourteen, and if I had my own computer, I would have spent an awful lot of time on Google looking for sex and naked women.

3. Communicate with your children but don't be their best friend. They have lots of friends; if you're their best friend, you're on equal level with the other friends. You need to establish more authority than just a friend. Friends come and go. Friends can be influential. You need to be the rock that they can always count on, the compass that always points to true north. In today's environment, our kids want us to parent them, not be be their best friend. Life can be somewhat puzzling for them, so you need to do lots of explaining.

4. Establish your home as a safe place. What I mean by that is you have to impose rules and consequences if those rules are broken, but they have to know they can talk to you about anything and that you always have their best interest at heart. They have to know they can count on you when they make decisions that may not be popular with their friends.

5. Keep your finger on the pulse of their life. Know who they are hanging out with, know what they're watching on TV, and know what they're listening to. I don't mean go through their drawers and snoop. You'll never see or know about all they get involved with; you can't. You're not going to be standing next to them, but you can get a feel for what kind of friends they're hanging out with. Don't let them retreat into a world of their own where they're listening to their MP3 player all the time. There is a lot of poison being sold under the label of music. What are they watching on TV? My kids watched MTV and sometimes I made them turn it off. Other times, they watched things I didn't care for. Personally, I don't think there's anything worthwhile on MTV but ultimately they weren't harmed by it because we had a balance. It wouldn't be wise to protect them against all difficulty, but don't allow your own selfish absorption make you unaware of how they're living their lives.

If you're fortunate enough to have relatives nearby who can help mold moral behavior - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins - they can also be a positive influence. If you don't have relatives, there are friends, neighbors, parents of other children, school teachers, community programs, etc.

It's that old saying, "It takes a village to raise a child." You want to create that virtual village to surround your children as much as possible with positive healthy influences so you can establish a strong moral foundation.
Kids and Teens
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