How Can You Protect Your Children?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

AFTER attending a neighborhood school for years, Werner* began advanced studies along with about 3,000 other youths in São Paulo, Brazil. For the first time, he observed fellow students selling and using drugs. Being of small stature, he soon became a victim of degrading and risky initiation rites by older students.

Werner's sister Eva also had problems. Wanting to do her best, she studied so intensely that she experienced burnout and mental confusion. Like other adolescents, Werner and Eva needed both physical and emotional protection. What kind of help do your children need? How can you prepare them for adult life? Indeed, what future do you want for your children?

They Need More Than Sustenance

Think for a moment about the challenge that parents face in protecting their children today. Because of a decline in the quality of family life and an increase in poverty, in many lands the number of children who live on the streets is increasing. Child labor is a result of a failure to protect young ones from exploitation. Drug abuse also destroys many young ones. For example, when a certain Brazilian teenager became a drug addict, peace disappeared from his home. Besides the emotional strain experienced by his parents, there was the struggle to finance his recovery, and pitiless narcotics dealers came to their door demanding payment.

Despite the pressures of life, however, many parents continue the struggle of providing their children not only with food, clothing, and shelter but also with protection from violence, drug abuse, and other problems. This is a noble endeavor, but is it enough? What about protection from emotional and spiritual harm? Many realize that successful parenting includes the tackling of challenges that involve their children's choice of friends and recreation. Yet, how can parents avoid being either overprotective or too permissive?

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