(This is a reprint from my Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner article in Examiner.com).
A recent article by journalist Samantha Tehran in the Parent Herald features the need for parents to let go of control of their children in their teen years. Referencing news reports of an October 2015 incident at Yale University wherein students worked themselves into an uproar over a school official’s comments that the guidance on Halloween costumes to avoid ethic stereotypes was over the top and that perhaps some freedom to be inappropriate would be a good thing, she holds up this incident as an example of a generation raised by parents who expect to have more control over what other people say and do – especially if it is offensive.
Acknowledging that parents naturally want to raise their children to share their values and make good decisions, Tehran writes: “But what parents need to know is in order to stay relevant in their children’s lives, they need to relinquish some of that control they so greatly crave.” So the question remains, how do parents relinquish control and still be a responsible parent?
The answer is very simple, and also a tall order because this power crisis of mobile connectivity introduces level of trust that is much higher than that of previous generations. Simply put, the only way to relinquish the appropriate control is to govern yourself and your home according to the one mustard seed of faith that makes a free society possible in the first place: one Benevolent Deity grants all of humanity intelligent life and free will, and this is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. And we can add to that list, surrendering power to the parent – otherwise known as entitlement.
Recognizing that in order to be free from the bullying influences of the power and control issues in the world (think cyberbullying, drug addiction, and sexual exploitation), every individual must take responsibility for their own thoughts and actions. This is true for every parent and child.
So it is vital today, now more than ever, that parents are clear about their faith: where do you believe your power comes from? If you accept this mustard seed of faith that God grants every person command and control over their own intellect and will, and you are an atheist, you can at least agree that you have this freedom to declare there is no God because a handful of people had faith that God said it was okay to have your own beliefs. So let us teach our children to think for themselves, and let us be authentic about aligning our actions with our own beliefs about personal power.
About: We are a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. Our mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your donations are greatly appreciated. (Donations are payable to Banana Moments Foundation).
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber-powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, and produces the Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com.