Every year around this time, the fascination teens have with darkness comes to the forefront. Teens often look at spirituality differently than their parents do, and unfortunately, their poorly defined spirituality makes them vulnerable to things like witchcraft and the occult. Parenting is a hazardous business – especially when it comes to issues like these. 

Before we look at practical ways to help our teens walk in God’s light, let’s glance at some warning signs in your child’s life when it comes to the “darkness.”

Withdrawal from routine activities – the normal everyday stuff. Beware of unusual seclusion and secrecy by your child.

Obsession with death and suicide. Many who are involved in occult practices believe in reincarnation. Pay attention to the music your child is listening to, Internet web sites they visit and DVDs they are watching – anything they’re feeding their mind.  Check any doodling on a notebook with these themes.

Fixation with occult and witchcraft symbols.  These symbols can be found in and on a variety of items including a Book of Shadows and correspondence.

Possession of Wiccan, Pagan and Shamanistic Publications. These could be in the form of books, newsletters, and magazines. Content could include poetry, spells, songs, rituals, herb craft, artwork, etc.

Excessive fears or anxiety.  If your child exhibits unusual preoccupation and paranoia about current events in the world, at school or at home, then you have a reason to be concerned.

Fascination with or possession of unique knives. Often dull, usually double-edged with a dark handle. They aren’t used for cutting purposes, but to direct energy during rites and spells.

Book of Shadows. A Wiccan workbook containing invocations, ritual patterns, rules governing magick, etc. It’s much like a diary.

Altars. They can be simple or extremely elaborate, and located in a bedroom closet, basement, garage, or attic. They can have candles, incense, photographs or even personal effects on them. 

Just because you observe one or more of these signs does not mean your child is involved in the occult or witchcraft. But it could mean that they’re facing some tough issues and need help.

Here are some practical ideas for helping teens avoid the darkness. Be careful of just glancing through them. The real issue is whether you’re actually doing these things.

1. Get in touch with your kids.

It’s important to understand the likes, dislikes, and lifestyles of our kids.  This only happens when a conscious effort is made to invade their world.  Without this hands-on knowledge, it's tough to earn the right to be heard or the respect of your teens.

When was the last time you took your son or daughter on a date? It could be something  as simple as taking them out for a soft drink. The objective is to spend some quality time interacting with them.

2. Learn to listen

Have you noticed what poor listeners we have become in our culture? I like what Proverbs 18:13 says about listening – especially in light of parenting a teenager. "Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish" (NLT).  Sometimes it's easy to advise or correct your teen in a given situation before you’ve really heard - with careful attention - what he/she is trying to say.  This takes time and effort, but it’s worth it.

3. Work at understanding

Do you really comprehend the challenges your teens are facing in their world today?  Our ability to grasp their viewpoint about different issues in life enables us to better demonstrate our care and concern for them, as well as to provide proper guidance for tackling the tough issues of life.