The following quote is from “Pathway for Families,” a CUT sponsored site. Under the section “Spiritualize your Family,” the site acknowledges that:
…research points out a shocking fact. In terms of involvement in risky behaviors such as smoking, drinking, premarital sex and drug use, there is virtually no difference between kids who have been raised in churches and those who have not been raised in churches.
Whoa! Then they talk about activities parents can do in the home, to supposedly change this fact, and miraculously ‘save’ their teens from the clutches of the ‘world.’ These are things like: pray together, volunteer for charity together, etc.
Now common sense would tell you that many parents of the children in the study already were doing these things. So apparently, it isn’t working.
I challenge CUT on their record of raising teens: CUT is no better, and in many ways worse than providers of a secular upbringing. The church strategy not only failed to prevent their own kids in their own schools from drinking and doing drugs. They failed to care for teens who were emotionally hurting and needed help. Instead, they demonized and expelled those who partook of drugs, sex, alcohol, or rock music.
This was no solution at all. All CUT did is make their own children resent the church and their parents.
I can tell you from having grown up in that church, that the CUT approach will NEVER work. Having raising three children myself, I’ve learned that the only way out of the teen years is through. It’s really part of a broader social problem.
This is for two reasons:
- Teens have a need to identify with their peers, and temporarily reject the values of their parents.
- Teens need to place themselves in actual danger, as a rite of passage. Fake danger won’t do.
Today the danger might be risky sex, drunk driving, extreme drug use, gang involvement, etc.. In our distant past, it would have been going on a first solo hunt, or participating in tribal warfare with the adult warriors. Many tribes also had rites-of-sexual-passage, whereby adults initiated the teens.
In the Mbuti Elima, “the girls in the hut have the right to rush out from time to time and chase after the young men. Should a boy or man be caught, he has to enter the hut, whereupon he is teased and is under some pressure to give sexual satisfaction to the girls inside.”(1) This is a very simple form of ritual sexual initiation where young people are introduced to not only the obligations but also the rewards of adult sexual life.
Although this is not a common part of most girl’s rites, even in more chaste cultures, the young people sometimes take advantage of the privacy of the prescribed isolation of the initiate, and there are quite a few stories about how she might receive nightly visits in her moon hut. Most North American peoples also used to see the appearance of the first blood as a sign that the girl was ready to be sexually active, or even marry. The lessons of her “godmother” would then also include the proper sexual education.
When we try to take away danger and sexuality from our teens, we rob them of a vital step in their development. How much better would it be, for example, if parents could come to terms with the fact that their teens would engage in risky activities, and provide some supervision? Is that really so far out of the realm of the possible?
But the law would slap down any parent who provided such a safe haven. Parents are routinely arrested when they do this. Contributing to the delinquency of a minor. So what we get are keggers in the woods, or kids driving around with alcohol in cars, or unsupervised parties at houses where the parents are out of town. Kids DIE this way all the time. But at least their bereaved parents can be consoled they were obeying the law!?!
What a mess religious and social repression of teens has made. What a travesty this ignorance creates. Praying with your children at home accomplishes less than nothing, and also makes parents complacent to the inevitable storm of hormones and conflict that characterize the teen years. No one is more ill-prepared than repressive religious parents who keep thinking that somehow THEIR children will simply not do what everyone else, including themselves, did.
The biggest factor in raising healthy children to adulthood is to make sure your kids know they can trust you. That no matter what they do, or what trouble they get in, you love them and you will be there for them. That you understand that they will eventually take these risks, and you will be there to teach them how to do it intelligently so they make it through ALIVE.
So this means sharing detailed knowledge about drugs and their effects, frank talks about sex, help with contraception, and attempting to establish safe havens to the greatest extent possible. That’s the real “pathway for healthy families.” Remember, you want a relationship with your kids that will last a lifetime. There is no more sure-fire way to alienate your child for life than to be a bastard or bitch of a repressive parent during the very years when they are trying to figure out who they are.