The Morality Police
Joey and Carla Link
October 9, 2019
I remember the time my older sister got a lecture from our mom about the length of her dresses. She was told that they couldn’t go above the knee when she stood up. Carla tells the story that when she was in high school her mom had a similar standard about how long her skirts could be but when she left the house to go to school, she would roll up her skirt and pull out masking tape to put around the hem to hold it up. This was in the day when girls had to wear dresses to school every day. While her mom and church may have set the standard of modesty at home, the “morality police” were her friends and peers. This is when miniskirts and the “hippie movement” were coming into play and the Christian community had no idea what to do with it.
Who Are Your Kids “Morality Police?
Your kids’ morality police are whoever has the most influence on how and why they make decisions. Who has the most influence, power and sway over the choices and decisions they make regarding the clothes they wear, how they fix their hair, or the kind of music they listen to? Who decides the movies they see and the sites they visit on the internet, or even the kinds of foods they eat – you or their peers?
When you take your kids shopping for clothes, you direct them to certain tops and jeans that you think look good and are stylish for them. But what you don’t see is how they look at what they are trying on through their friend’s eyes and they wonder if these friends will like what they choose or not.
The same is true for the kinds of music they will listen to and the hair styles they wear. Even for guys, when a hairstyle is “in” everyone gets it. They want to fit in and be accepted just like girls do. There is still a “code” of what attire to wear and how to act according to what the popular kids think. Most kids want to fit in and be part of the group. Didn’t you when you were growing up?
Who chooses the “Morality Police”? Who decides what styles are in or out? It’s those who have the most influence in a particular group. As a parent, think back to your teen years and what clothes were accepted and which were not. You might even pull out photo books and yearbooks to see how you dressed back then. We did and one of our kids said “DAD, why did you wear that?” I could only tell my daughter it was what everyone wore then.
Ultimately, every child or person must decide what they will wear for themselves. The question is why they make the choices they do and who is influencing them? This is the question every parent needs to get to the bottom of before they spend money and time on pleasing their kids’ fashion and music whims.
QUESTIONS FOR PARENTS
- Other than family, who is the biggest influence in your child/teen’s life?
- Who do they hang around with?
- Does your child have a bigger influence over them or do they have a bigger influence on your child?
- If your child influences others to your standard, that is a great and commendable thing. If others have a greater influence on your child than you do, this should be a warning flag that your child will follow the crowd whether it compromises his convictions or not.
- What is the character of the kids who police your child’s styles and behavior? If they are Godly kids, they should be an encouragement in Christ-like character and modesty as well as other standards.
- If these kids’ are not pursing Godly things, you will need to have greater involvement policing your child’s friends and the influence they have on them. You will need to help your child learn how to be able to stand up to these friends or you will need to work with them to help them choose new ones.
How to Be Your Child/Teen’s Biggest Influence
- Keep Family Identity Strong – One of the best ways to do this is to have a weekly family night. In our family it was non-negotiable – meaning the kids and us worked our schedules around it. Each of us including the kids had a week of the month to plan it and the family rule was everyone had to cheerfully participate.
- Build a Relationship of Trust with Each of Them – This might seem hard to do when you feel that all you do is correct them, but the stronger your relationship is the less bad behavior there will be. No matter how old or young they are, take them on individual dates at least monthly. Our son and his wife recently took their 3 yr. old son on such a date and they couldn’t wipe the smile off this sober minded young fellow and he couldn’t wait to tell us this good news.
- Stop and Listen to Them – If you can’t give them your undivided attention when they are ready to talk, find a time when you can. Ask questions, don’t judge.
- Intervene Even if They Don’t Want You To – I remember when our son was in 5th grade, his teacher knew what we stood for and contacted us to tell us she could see he was being negatively influenced and was drawn to some boys that we would not want him hanging around. We thanked her for her honesty as we also had been seeing some changes in his behavior and attitude at home but were unable to figure out the cause. I (Joey) drove to the school the next couple of days and watched him from my car during lunch recess. I began asking him who he hung out with at school and what they did during recess. After that, instead of attending his sports games with Carla and the girls, I purposely got involved on the teams as an assistant coach or umpire to deflate the influence of these boys. I started picking him up for lunch every couple weeks to talk life with him and spent more time with him one-on-one riding bikes and playing Frisbee golf. As I watch the man of God, husband and father he is today I do not regret one second of that time together.
Mom and Dad, you will only have one shot at training your kids. Either you will be your kid’s morality police or someone else will. Are you relaxing your standards to please your children? Or are you standing firm to honor the Lord?