“When Your Son Longs To Fit In”
By Rhonda Stoppe
Author of Moms Raising Sons to Be Men
If you watch a group of adolescents interact with one another you will soon discover how very much they long to feel accepted. When my husband and I were in youth ministry we learned that 65% of all adolescents believe they have no friends. (That statistic may be higher now.)
When you son is trying to fit in with his peers, he will likely try on different personalities to see which ones are most accepted by his friends. The class clown, bully, athlete, etc… are all looking for their place in their social circle.
How your son sees himself will have a strong influence on how far he will go to gain his friend’s approval.
To prepare your son for autonomy you would do well to create…
…an environment for him to learn to know himself biblically. Spending time developing your son’s identity, based upon who he is in Christ, will equip him to leave your home with God-centered character, strength, purpose and confidence in Christ. Of course, before you can do this, it’s necessary for you to understand your identity in Christ as well.
Your son is growing up in a culture more concerned about a proper self-image and personal happiness, than they are about what is right or wrong. Thinking highly of oneself is nothing more than self-worship, in a word–idolatry. Romans 12:3 warns Christians “not to think himself more highly than he ought to think”.
You must be careful to learn from the Bible how to teach your son who he is in Christ. (If he is not a Christian, teach your son his only hope to be the man God created him to be, begins with a relationship with Jesus.)
God says his people are partakers of the divine nature. Christ redeemed you, and your son, for Himself that [you] should live no longer for [yourself] but for Him who died for [you] and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:15). Help your son view his abilities as tools to bring glory to God that [others] may see [his] good works and glorify [his] Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16)
Use the Bible to give your son a proper, God-honoring image of himself. Second Peter 1:3-9 teaches believers have everything needed for life and godliness, through our knowledge of Christ. And warns Christians can become ineffective, and unproductive, by forgetting who they are in their relationship to Jesus.
In his book, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, Paul David Tripp says,
“The gospel identity and its amazing resources are a powerful defense in the war for our hearts… The war for the heart is a war of identity. How people respond to Satan’s attack depends on the identity they have embraced… [The enemy] wins daily skirmishes with us by clouding or attacking our identity.”
Do not minimize the importance of training your son to establish his identity in a relationship with Jesus Christ. As a believer, your son is given everything he needs to live a God-honoring life. Teaching him to see himself through the resources afforded to him by the gospel, will equip your son to stand against peer pressure, his own fleshly desires, and Satan’s attacks. Satan cannot be victorious in destroying anyone who takes to heart, and lives, the message of identity defined in 2 Peter 1:3-9.
When your son has a biblical understanding of who he is in Christ, he will be prepared to withstand the pressure of his peers, and discern right choices as a man. If you determine to allow your son enough freedom to practice making wise decisions and kindly correct him when he fails, you will teach him how to repent when he sins. When he is an adolescent work to discover ways to hand him his manhood. Providing your son with a foundation for independence from you – but dependence upon Christ – will prove to be the greatest influence you can have upon your son, and ultimately upon the generation he will influence.*
*Excerpt Moms Raising Sons to Be Men (Harvest House Publishers, 2013)