WHAT DOES ADULT GUIDANCE INVOLVE?
Children need adults in their life who can provide leadership and advice. As a parent, you are in the best position to fulfil that role; in fact, it is your duty. However, other adults can be mentors to your children as well.
WHY IS ADULT GUIDANCE IMPORTANT?
In many lands, young people have little interaction with adults. Consider this:
Children spend much of their day at school, where students outnumber teachers and other adults.
After school, some youths return to a home that is empty because both parents have to work.
One study found that in the United States, children between 8 and 12 years of age spend an average of about six hours on entertainment media each day._
Young people are turning for instruction, modelling, and guidance not to moth-ers, fathers, teachers, and other responsible adults but to . . . their own peers.”
HOW TO PROVIDE GUIDANCE
Spend time with your children.
BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “Train a child in the way he should go; even when he grows old he will not depart from it.”- Proverbs 22:6,
A child who looks to adults for guidance is more likely to display wisdom and maturity later in life.Children naturally look to their parents for guidance. In fact, experts say that even as children enter the teen years, they tend to val-ue the advice of their parents over that of their peers. “Parents remain the major influence on their child’s attitudes and behaviour through adolescence and into young adulthood,” writes Dr. Laurence Steinberg in the book you and Your Adolescent. He adds: “Adolescents care what you think and listen to what you say, even if they don’t always admit it or agree with every point.” Take advantage of your children’s natural inclination to look up to you. Spend time with your children and share your viewpoints, values, and expe-riences with them.
Provide a mentor.
BIBLE PRINCIPLE: “The one walking with the wise will become wise.”- Proverbs 13:20.
Can you think of an adult who might be a good role model for your ad-olescent? Why not arrange for that person to spend time with him or her? Of course, you should not abdicate your parental authority. But the encouragement from a trusted adult who you know will not harm your child can supplement the training you provide. In the Bible, Timothy—even as an adult—benefited greatly from the association he had with the apostle Paul, and Paul benefited from Timothy’s companionship.—Philippians 2:20, 22.
During the past century, many families have become somewhat frag-mented, as grandparents, uncles, aunts, and other relatives may live in another part of the world. If that is true in your case, try to provide your teens with opportunities to learn from adults who have traits that you would like to see in your children.
SPENDING TIME WITH ADULTS
“Let your children grown up around a diverse group of adults, and this will helped them to see life through other people’s experiences. For example, they were amazed when my grandmother told them that when she was a little girl, her family was the first one to get an elec-tric light. She told them that people from surrounding areas came to their house just to stand in the kitchen and watch the light being turned on and off. That story made my children see how different life used to be. Learning about their great grandmother in this way also helped them to have respect for her and for other older ones. When children spend more time with adults—and less with their peers- they are able to see life from a different perspective.”
Teach by Example
Am I a good role model for my children?
Do I show my children that I too look up to those with greater experience as men-tors?
Do I demonstrate that my children are im-portant to me by spending time with them?