Battling the Temptations of Peer Pressure
- Sharon Jaynes <i>Proverbs 31 Ministries</i>
- 2004 7 Jul
When I was in my early twenties, I lived for one year in the upstairs apartment of my parent's home. They were gone much of the time, and the living arrangement gave me a chance to cushion my bank account for my impending independence.
One night, my father was out of town and my mother was at a meeting. I was getting dressed to go out for the evening and putting on my final touches of make-up in the bathroom mirror. I heard a rattling noise outside my bathroom window, so I turned out the light to get a better view. What did I see but a man on a ladder peering in the window at me!
Somehow I managed to run down the stairs, out the front door, by the man's parked car, and over to a neighbors house. I am convinced that the Lord sent angels to propel my paralyzed body forward. I burst into my neighbor's house and just stood there ashen, and unable to speak. Finally, I managed to tell her that a man was in my bathroom window. The police came, but of course the perpetrator was long gone. All that remained was the ladder leaning against the house.
It was one of the most frightening experiences of my life, especially when I realized that this window was the only one in the entire house that did not have a lock. The upstairs apartment was a later addition, and somehow we just never got around to putting a lock on that last sash.
First Peter 5:8 says, "Be on the alert. Your enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." He seeks to "kill, steal and destroy" (John 10:10) and, just as he attacked Jesus in the desert after His forty day fast, he will attack our children at their weakest points.
Satan's game plan has always been to look for the unsecured window. He tauntingly says: "Go ahead and lie. If you tell the truth, you'll get in big trouble." "Go ahead and drink a few beers. Your friends will think you're cool." "Go ahead and swear. It'll show you're tough." "A few cigarettes won't hurt anything." "One snort won't hurt anything. It'll be fun." "Go ahead and sleep with that guy. He loves you. He said so." "Besides, everybody's doing it...doing it...doing it..."
We know the lies, because we've heard them before. Many of us remember the lies because we still bear the scars of when we believed them ourselves.
Satan's greatest weapon among children today is peer pressure. Dr. James Dobson explains it this way:
There are two great forces that combine to create havoc during adolescence, the first having hormonal origin. The other is social in nature. It is common knowledge that a twelve or thirteen-year-old child suddenly awakens to a brand new world around him, as though his eyes were opening for the first time. The world is populated by age mates who scare him out of his wits. His greatest anxiety, far exceeding the fear of death, is the possibility of rejection or humiliation in the eyes of his peers...It is impossible to comprehend the adolescent mind without understanding the terror of the peer group.
The Bible says "as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another" (Proverbs 27:17). When I was in high school, I had a group of Christian friends who held me accountable, helped me resist temptation, and inspired me to develop a deeper walk with God. As a mother, we can pray that our children will have at least one friend to stand with them in their convictions. Better yet, make it two.
Shadrach, Meshack, and Abed-Nego understood the concept of having a friend to stand with you. When most of their countrymen were murdered by King Nebuchadnezar in 605 B.C. these three were taken captive to live in the king's household. They were educated and offered the cuisine of the king's court. However, they decided to stick to their conviction and refuse to eat those tasty steaks that were roasting on the fire and the full-bodied wine as the carafe passed under their noses. They were tempted to give up their vegetarian ways, but their accountability group of three kept each other strong. When they had to choose whether to bow down to the king's idols or continue to honor God, they decided to follow God, even if it meant death. You know the rest of the story: The boys were thrown into the fiery furnace, but God miraculously saved them. Their witness caused an entire nation to turn to the Lord.
Today, children typically are not thrown into a fiery furnace. They are thrown into school. We need to pray for friends that will go the distance -- even to the fiery furnace.
We can't lock our kids in the house to protect them from the enemies' assaults. But we can give them the tools to recognize and fight his tactics. We can build self-esteem with a solid foundation of unconditional love and acceptance, a strong framework making them feel capable, valuable, and with a sense of belonging. We can insulate them with plenty of warm affection and teach them how to put locks on the windows and bolts on the doors. Then when the big bad wolf comes snooping around, he can huff and puff, but he won't be able to blow the house down. Our child's self-esteem will be able to withstand the winds of adversity.
Role-play situations with your children ahead of time. Then, when the curtain goes up and the spotlight is in their faces, they will be able to say no with confidence.
Practice these scenarios:
• If you are in the car with your boyfriend, and his hand start to go places it shouldn't, what would you do?
• If you went to a party and people were drinking, what would you do?
• If you were walking through the mall and your friend slipped some gum into his pocket without paying for it, what would you do?
• If you are with friends and one of them pulls out a pack of cigarettes, what will you say?
• If your best friend wants to look at your answers on a test, what will you do?
• What will you do if a group of guys calls you a sissy, a baby, a Momma's boy, or a coward for not following the crowd?
The above article was taken from Being a Great Mom, Raising Great Kids by Sharon Jaynes.
Sharon Jaynes is the Vice President of Proverbs 31 Ministries, Inc. and feature writer for their monthly magazine, P31 Woman. She is also the co-host for their daily radio program heard on over 900 radio outlets and conference speaker for women's events from coast to coast. Sharon is the author of several books including, Being a Great Mom - Raising Great Kids, Dreams of a Woman, Ultimate Makeover, Becoming a Woman who Listens to God, and A Woman's Secret to a Balanced Life. To learn more about Proverbs 31 Ministries, Sharon's books or having Sharon speak at your women's event, visit www.proverbs31.org.