Peer pressure and bad influences are not just a part of growing up. As adults, we face many of the same obstacles when it comes to our choices in friends and lifestyles.
Lately, it has become clear to me that I am still just as vulnerable to influences. We all make mistakes; and it can become very easy for us to get lost in a bad crowd.
Without going into much detail, I can tell you that I am not proud of some of the choices I have made. Recently, I found myself again caught in a circle of people who were not good for me or my family. I became lost under the guise of wanting to have friends. I was ashamed that even at the age of 31 I could care so much about what people thought of me. I beat myself up, wondering how I could be so weak, used and concerned with the wrong things. A conversation I had with a wise friend helped me understand that no one is immune to wanting to fit in, even in bad crowds.
Even as adults, we can get caught up in the desire to fit in. We all crave acceptance on some level. Even though we are no longer under the constant guidance of our parents, a curfew or punishment, it does not mean that we are immune to these issues. We are constantly growing and learning.
Hanging around the wrong crowd can effect our spiritual growth. The reality is that who we let into our lives affects our children, family and future.
Parenting can be overwhelming. We sometimes look for escapes in the wrong people or places. We want so badly to feel there is more to us than the daily stresses of our lives. If we do not feel good about ourselves, we can sell ourselves short and latch onto the first people we meet along the way.
You can definitely feel unappreciated as a parent. You may feel the need to find an outlet, something to make you feel more like yourself. It is important as parents to find the right people to build you up.
We also sometimes feel the need to help people who may be going down the wrong path. Helping is one thing, joining in and accepting the behavior is another.
You may feel uncomfortable sharing your beliefs and morals with your peers. You may feel that you will get ridiculed or hurt by them. The reality is that sin should make us uncomfortable as Christians. Standing firm in your beliefs and standards and not wavering to the crowd is vital when teaching your children to have that same strength.
There are a few ways to protect yourself and your family from bad influences.
1. Look for friends in the right places.
Finding church or parenting groups that have similar values to you and your family is key. Involving your children with families who share the love of God will help guide them as they grow.
2. Stand firm.
Even if you make a mistake, do not let it send you on a destructive detour. God forgives; forgive yourself and move on. If you are caught in the wrong situations, walk away. Pray for them and be there for guidance. God is stronger than anything on this Earth. Take shelter in His love for you. If drama arises when you walk away, do not fear. Our Heavenly Father will not forsake you.
The saying, “bad company corrupts good character”, is true. It is so easy to become caught up in sin, no matter how strong you are as a Christian. Exercise wisdom to make the right choices. Do not be distracted by those who are not helping you follow God’s plan for your life and family.
If the bad influences are family, it can be more difficult to keep your distance. You naturally have a lot of love for them and want to see them do well. A good way to deal with this situation is to set up boundaries. Let them know that certain behaviors will not be accepted around your children.
As a mom, I am constantly trying to build my children up and show them their value. Having good self esteem is also key to not needing the acceptance of the world. Feel good about you and what you are doing to better your life and your family. Pray for peace and that God will put uplifting people in your life. A true and good friend is an asset. Never allow people who cause problems to run your life.
As parents, we really do face new lessons on a personal level almost daily. Show your children the value in good friends. Do all things from the heart and with love, using godly wisdom.
Have you felt consumed by the wrong crowd in your life? How did you deal with it?