The Power of Positive Prevention

This post is of special interest to any parents of teens, college students, youth leaders, or human-kind who might read this blog.

Yesterday I recieved a bi-monthly newsletter that the Youth Transition Network, (they also run this site) puts out. Recently they conducted a survey of on camera interviews, which are partially viewable via youtube, with 700 high school and college students. Here are some of the highlights from their article entitled:

“The Power of Positive Prevention!”

“The interviews seems to indicate that students with open parents who invest in relationship rather than rules and allow their teens to make decisions about the activities they will participate in are more mature and leading much less of a dual life than the students whose parents depend upon restrictions and consequences to protect and prevent sin in their teens’ lives…

…The parents who laid down their lives for their daughter, focusing on discussion and relationship while sacrificing their control over her, gave her no reason to hide her sin. In fact, she said during the interview on camera that, the thing she will miss most when she leaves for college next year is her ability to talk with her parents about everything in her life…

[This paragraph is about two families. One that put a lot of rules in front of their daughter and another who allowed her to make more decisions on her own.]…Their [parents] percieved gamble [releasing control over their student] paid off; their teen, who attends parties (like Jesus and the disciples did), is a non-drinking virgin who sees the foolishness of the party scene for what it is. The other girl whose parents depended upon restriction and consequences, had a daughter who, with the help of her Christian friends, subverted the rules when to parties, ended up having sex and the ensuing guilt has led to even deeper issues in her young life…

…Recent studies show that adolescence is lasting longer and longer, ranging into the mid-twenties in our youth culture today…

…In short it appears that the longer we treat them as kids, the longer they behave like kids!…

…In Biblical times, this [maturity development] happened young: at 12, 13, 14 years old they were getting married. As our culture has become more dangerous, we have extended our protection and thus attempted control of our teens up to the day they graduate and then boom (!) they leave home and the freedom hits them in the face…

…Unfortunately it appears many parents believe that the rules and control are working because their teens are obedient at home and getting good grades…

…They say they are great actors and liars and that they are getting aroudn the rules and controls, because they work together to do so!…

…Thus, they do not learn, but rather wallow in their shallow and destructive victory over a perceived oppression…

…Maybe God designed our kids to start making some important decisions for themselves, younger. Maybe when we control them past twelve, they really do take this as a lack of belief and trust, as they say they do. Maybe this robs them of the most powerful prevention tool: 1) The relationship of a parent that offers belief in their ability to follow God and make good decisions. 2) The trust that teens seek, which Jesus extended to His disciples even after they deserted Him. 3) The grace to not pounce when they, like the disciples, do dumb things.”

What do you think?

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One response to this post.

  1. […] Good. – July 2005 To Engage or Disengage Culture? That is the Question – November 2007 The Power of Positive Prevention – December 2007 Scurdy Cat Meets Cooper Dog –  May 2008 Glory to God Forever || A […]


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