July 31, 2016

Tips on how to avoid it at school

The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) states, “Peers play a large role in the social and emotional development of children and adolescents. Their influence begins at an early age and increases through the teenage years. It is natural, healthy and important for children to have and rely on friends as they grow and mature.

Peers can be positive and supportive. They can help each other develop new skills, or stimulate interest in books, music or extracurricular activities.”

However, peers can also have a negative influence. They can encourage each other to skip classes, steal, cheat, use drugs or alcohol, or become involve in other risky behaviors. The majority of teens with substance abuse problems began using drugs or alcohol as a result of peer pressure.

The AACAP also provides a list of tips to assist parents seeking to help their child deal with negative peer pressure. The tip that captured my attention the most was:

“Help your child develop self-confidence. Kids who feel good about themselves are less vulnerable to peer pressure.”

Last month, Dr. Charles Stanley taught a five part series titled, “How the Truth Can Set You Free.” The messages focused on attitude. All of us – believers and nonbelievers have three basic needs that shape our attitude. We need to feel we belong, have a sense of worthiness, and have a sense of competence. On a daily basis our youth are bombarded by peers who shape and influence their attitude about themselves in a negative or positive manner. This interaction is unavoidable unless we confine our youth to an environment that has zero interaction with peers and the outside world. But as believers – youths and adults – God’s Word enables us to be “in the world but not of the world.” The Word of God builds our self-confidence and equips us with the knowledge to satisfy our basic needs. Especially the need to feel that we belong.

What then, is this truth that sets us free? According to Dr. Stanley, first and foremost, the truth assures us we belong. We are not just part of the family, we are part of the Kingdom. Our position has changed from the domain of darkness. We have been transferred! “Every believer is placed into the Spiritual Body of Christ eternally through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit,” states Dr. Tolan J. Morgan in his lesson Pneumatology Part 3: The Ministry of the Holy Spirit.

“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son.“ (Colossians 1:13) “We are now the sons and daughters of God. But as many as received Him, them He gave power to become the sons of God [even] to them that believe on His name.” (John 1:12) Youth or adult, God’s Word clearly tells us we are citizens of an awesome Kingdom.

The real beauty of God’s Word is that it is not based on our feelings. We don’t always feel saved. We don’t always feel we are sons and daughters of God and citizens of His awesome kingdom. But we are. Our feelings and emotions can deceive us because they change. But the Word of God is just like Him. Immutable!!! It does not change. That my beloved is the Truth that sets us free.


Written by Henry Hopson