A short while ago, I got a call from a panicked father. He had been in his daughter's bedroom and found a half dozen rock albums that were obviously immoral. "What can you tell me about them?" he pleaded.

Typically when my office gets a call like this, the parent is looking for a "five minute fix." Parents usually want the "dirt" about the groups in question so they can "beat" their kid into spiritual submission.

This dad was different. He listened. He didn't get offended when I asked him personal questions about his family. A child's music choices are often a reflection of a deeper need -- often it is symptomatic of a poor relationship with their parents. He loved his wife and children and he thought that he had good communication with them. I was satisfied that he had a strong family. But he couldn't understand why his little girl would have such awful albums. And what should he do about them? Let me share what I told him.

Have you set any guidelines for what is acceptable in your home? Is it fair game to listen to secular music? Or will you allow only certain kinds of secular music? How about concerts? Or posters on the wall? What television programs, videos, and movies are acceptable? In other words, have you developed, or even discussed, entertainment guidelines?

Without question, your children will always go to the limit of any rule you set. And if your limits are confusing, it's no wonder your daughter or son may have gone "too far." You never told them what "too far" was!

If you are setting guidelines for teens who have never lived with guidelines before, proceed with caution. There is something worse than your child listening to the wrong kind of music -- and that is not being able to communicate the love of Jesus to them. You could impose your will on her, but what will the end result be? A child who wants to live for Jesus? Or one who fights your every move?

You've got to realize that the negative influence of secular music is not a worldly problem that can be corrected with clever solutions or manipulation. If you are spending more time talking to your child about your concerns than you are talking to the Lord about your child, your priorities are misplaced. Remember, correcting improper influences on your children is a spiritual problem that can only be answered with a spiritual solution.

So don't panic! Tell your child you are going to pray about what should be done with the offending albums. I suggest that parents hold on to the albums and pray for wisdom for 30 days. When I mention that prayer is the most important thing you can do, the next question often is, "Yeah, but what is a practical step I can take?" Practically pray your brains out!