“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
Be on Your Guard
Addiction. The word often makes us cringe as it implies a lack of self-control or carelessness. But the truth is that addictions are everywhere, even in our own homes. And it’s okay, good even, to talk about them. For example, I struggle with a coffee addiction and had to give it up for several months because I was getting headaches if I didn’t have at least one cup of coffee per day. Many of you (you know who you are) can empathize with that particular struggle!
I’ve always known that adults tussle with various cravings, but I learned recently that older children, particularly adolescents, are much more prone to addictions because their bodies produce higher levels of dopamine. Dopamine is a God-given neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Now, I’m certain that few, if any, of your children have coffee addictions, but there are many types of addictions: food, television, video games (this includes iPads, iPhones, etc.), social media, and websites such as YouTube. And just as coffee isn’t necessarily bad in small doses, none of these things are altogether bad, but they can be dangerous if we are unaware of the quality or impact of using them frequently.
The danger is that, if our children have higher levels of dopamine and are allowed to use the aforementioned potential addictions extensively, the neurotransmitter will give them a natural high, which will prompt them to desire more of what is giving them temporal pleasure. They will want to revisit them again and again, and if not moderated, this can cause lifelong dependencies.
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)
Many young men and young women struggle with pornography addictions, some as young as early elementary age, and that number grows each year. Surprising? It shouldn’t be. Pop-ups on otherwise inoffensive websites will confront our kids without any invitation. One curiosity-prompted click can lead to another, and another. A local Christian addiction expert stated that the second click indicates addiction. It happens that quickly, friends. We must be on our guard because our enemy is waiting for the opportunity to strike, regardless of age or innocence.
Be careful little eyes what you see
It’s the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it’s the little feet behind you that are sure to follow
~ Casting Crowns, “Slow Fade”
Blessings and Love,
- Are you so busy guarding your family’s front door that you are not noticing the attacks of the enemy that sneak in through the back gate?
- Have you talked candidly with your children about guarding their minds, hearts, and bodies from the subtle attacks of the enemy? Are you guarding your own mind, heart, and body?
- Take the opportunity this summer to discuss these potential dangers with your family and come up with a plan to limit TV, internet use, and unhealthy binge-snacking.
– Our family uses Media Tickets to regulate the use of electronics each week. Each child has 5 tickets for 30 minutes each (2.5 hours total) that can be used for G-rated video games, parent- approved movies, or commercial-free shows. We do not allow any TV or internet use without direct parental supervision. The tickets can all be used at once or throughout the week, but once they are used, that child’s media time for the week is finished. This method works great for our family, but something else might work better for you. You do you!
– To limit unhealthy snacking take the time to cut up fresh fruits and vegetables to have ready for quick snacks. If you buy crackers or chips, portion them out into snack baggies or small reusable containers.
Here are some resources worth looking into to keep your family pure of mind, heart, and body:
- Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality by Dr. Jim Burns
- The Purity Code by Dr. Jim Burns
- Preparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, with Mike Yorkey
- Pursuing the Pearl by Dannah Gresh
- Lies Young Women Believe by Dannah Gresh and Nancy Leigh DeMoss
- Raising Body Confident Daughters: 8 Conversations to Have with Your Tween by Dannah Gresh
- It’s Great To Be A Girl! A Guide To Your Changing Body by Dannah Gresh and Suzy Weibel