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Guard Your Children’s Friendships & Activities

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Parenting Tip Number Six

Guard your children’s friendships carefully.
If you see that every time they spend time with a certain friend they are disrespectful to you, mean to their siblings, more prone to gossip, and are drawing away from the Lord instead of closer to Him, perhaps it is time to end that friendship.
As hard as it is, especially for a people-pleaser like myself, it is better to hurt someone’s feelings (and even make your own child unhappy) than to allow spiritual harm to come to your child or teenager.

Parenting Tip Number Seven

It is wise to choose your children’s activities carefully.
Jeff and I make the conscious decision to limit our kids’ activities, so that most of the time is spend with family.
My children are not isolated. They play homeschool soccer and homeschool softball. They take music lessons. They get together with friends. They are involved in TeenPact. Not to mention all our church activities.
But the majority of their time is spend at home, with our family. As a result, our children are each other’s best friends, and our family is a close knit unit.
Just as it is occasionally necessary to cut off a friendship, it may be necessary to withdraw our child from an activity. The question to ask ourselves as parents is, “Is this activity helping my child become more Christ-like or less Christ-like?”

Parenting Tip Number Eight

God and family are all our children (even teenagers) need.
And technically, for spiritual growth, they only need God, but godly parents are a huge benefit, especially for the young.
(This is probably the most controversial one I will write. As I said early on, some of the posts I am doing on parenting are Biblical principles, while some are more personal opinion. I guess it is everyone’s personal opinion where this one falls.)
Having many friends, an active social life and being involved in a lot of activities are not a need.
Each of those things CAN be very good, and are not, in and of themselves, bad. However, if we aren’t careful, all the “extras” can take away from family closeness and, more importantly, away from our children’s spiritual growth.
Since our family limits activities, and since we attend a small church with very few other teenagers, our kids probably have less friends than most teens.
We are all for our children having godly friendships, and we help them to seek these kind of friends whenever possible.
Having said that though, we actually see their “low key” social life as a good thing. They have learned to depend on God for fulfillment, and their main relationships are with their parents and siblings.
Our kids have friends of all ages, and they are each other’s best friends.
To us, that is far more important, and we believe far more spiritually beneficial, than for them to have an active social life.

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Kim

Kim Stilwell has been married to her best friend, Jeff, since 1987. They have five children, Joshua (1992) who has been married to Alissa since 2013, Joseph (1995), Josiah (1997), Jessica (1998) and Jennifer (2001), as well as eight children in Heaven, all of whom died before birth. Kim was a missionary kid who grew up in Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Peru. She met Jeff, also an MK, at a missionary school in Peru. Immediately following their wedding, they attended college in Iowa and have lived there ever since. Kim is a full time stay at home, homeschooling mom. In her spare time, she likes to write, and has a column in the NICHE newsletter.

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