The Jesus Survey, What Christian Teens Really Believe and Why

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Family dinnertime, family home evening, and family outings develop feelings of connectedness.


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Be liberal with praise and generous with forgiveness. Teens thrive on recognition and acceptance, especially from parents. A spirit of love, forgiveness, and acceptance are vital in maintaining connectedness as you help children correct poor choices. Develop family traditions. Family traditions connect people in warm and winning ways. Long after youth grow up and leave home, they will recall with nostalgia family vacations, birthday parties, holiday observances, and other special times. Parents need to talk to and listen to teenagers to obtain up-to-date information about who their friends are, where they are going, and how they spend their money.

Family rules need to be established. When teenagers violate parental trust, they need appropriate consequences followed by a show of love so as to maintain family connectedness.

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Youth who grow up in homes without specific rules or expectations often fail to learn to positively control their own behavior. They tend to act impulsively and are highly susceptible to peer influences, both of which contribute to delinquency. It was interesting to note that few youth complained about the strictness of their parents or number of family rules. On the contrary, several youth wrote they wished their parents would have been more strict and had given them more guidance through these difficult years. Allowing teenagers independence within the context of family rules and regulations helps them develop self-mastery, which strengthens their ability to resist temptation.

While peers exert a great influence during these years, such family regulation can influence children to choose peers who are spiritually strengthening and supportive. Establish family rules. Teens need the structure provided by family rules. Build family, Church, and school expectations into the rules, and allow youth significant input in the development of them. Rules can be reviewed during family councils or family home evening, and appropriate consequences can be discussed.

Assign all family members household chores. This helps teenagers develop a sense of responsibility and helps them see their behavior has consequences for others. Monitor behavior. Talk with your teens and ask about what they are doing, where they are going, whom they will be with, and what money they have. If you doubt the answers, check with teachers or parents of friends.

The Jesus Survey

Watch for signs of trouble, such as a decline in school performance, complaints from teachers or other authority figures, sudden personality changes, or staying out too late at night. Enforce the rules. This may seem hard since you wish to keep the relationship positive, but it is critical that teens learn their behavior brings consequences. Quietly but firmly discuss any violation of a rule and explain the impact such behavior has on the teen and others. Parents must stand together in enforcement of family rules. Show increased love following reprimands.

Showing respect for differing opinions and helping youth explore new ideas and their consequences help build a sense of personal worth. It was very clear that a healthy family played an important role in helping youth make appropriate choices. Encourage teenagers to share their feelings.


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  • Listen with interest to their opinions, hopes, and desires. Ask them what they think about a specific gospel principle, a family rule, an event that happened at school or in the community, a television program, or the actions of a respected Church leader. Accept their freedom to express their views even if you disagree with them. Confidence to express ideas is critical in the development of a competent young adult. Help teenagers explore the sources of their attitudes and the consequences of them. Rather, acknowledge the idea as important, then explore the origins of it.

    Subtle guidance and sharing of your views often help a teen develop attitudes consistent with gospel principles. Allow teenagers the opportunity to develop their own avenues of worth. While participation on a basketball or debate team may have been important to a parent, a teen may not have the same interest or ability. Teens experiencing this type of control from their parents withdraw themselves and experience a loss of self-worth. Instead of moving toward independence, they often become more dependent on parents or peer groups.

    What lessons have we learned, then, from this study? This occurs only as we ourselves internalize the gospel into our own lives and then help our teenagers to do the same. Second, it is clear that no matter where a family lives, it is family life and gospel living, intimately intertwined, that most help teenagers become competent, spiritually strong, and faithful Latter-day Saints. This article may furnish material for a family home evening discussion or for personal consideration. You might consider questions such as:.

    What can we do as a family to increase the amount of enjoyable time we spend together? What rules do we have for our family? What happens when someone breaks a rule? As a family, do we need more rules or fewer rules? How can we encourage respectful listening and sharing of opinions among family members? Photo by Steve Bunderson and Matt Reier; all photography posed by models. Photo by Eldon Linschoten.

    12222 Children’s Ministry Statistics: 5 Key Findings

    Photo by Steve Bunderson. Photo by Michael Schoenfeld. This Page MP3. Text Settings. Show Hide. Comparison of LDS delinquency by area The second concern we wanted to probe was the question of geography.

    Combating the effects of peer pressure Peer pressure had a strong relationship to delinquency among LDS youth. Personal religious behavior A second significant factor in avoiding delinquency is personal religious behavior. Family influence As youth deal with the powerful effects of peer pressure, bolstered by their private religious behavior, they look to their family as the source that best strengthens and prepares them to meet the world and resist its temptations. Family connectedness Creating feelings of connectedness with teenagers can sometimes be difficult. You might consider questions such as: What can we do as a family to increase the amount of enjoyable time we spend together?

    Untold millions are spent on global outreach, but we fail to see that the great commission starts around the family dinner table. Parents can model Bible application in personal devotional times and in family worship. Living a life of faith will create questions. And the Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. He is widely respected by church leaders for his insights into Christian mission in contemporary American culture.

    He recently wrote an excellent article on how parents can pass on their faith in an age of moral confusion. So when appropriate, we want to share. When the opportunity arises, we want to be fellow strugglers. This open confession of sin is a way parents can demonstrate the power of the Gospel in their own lives. LifeWay Research found common themes among parents who successfully passed on the faith to their children. Such parents were typically involved in the following activities:.

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    When parents demonstrate obedience to Jesus, children can see firsthand the reality of Christ at work. This can mean the Spirit is at work.

    As your children begin to grasp how the Gospel affects their lives, they will increasingly show more interest. Pay attention for questions regarding heaven and hell, forgiveness of sins, the nature of God or other concepts.

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    These all indicate that something is going on deep inside. Your child may be ready for the decision to trust Jesus as Lord of her life. When we train ministry volunteers, this overlaps to those parents. The role of parents does not exclude or diminish the mission of the church. The Bible offers many strong examples supporting the importance of children in the life and mission of the church. When we ask what programs our adult ministry leaders attended as young people, the results confirmed the role of ministry programs in their faith journey.

    Imagine those saints, many in the presence of Christ, reflecting on the fruits of their service. How many of those teachers knew their students would one day be leading other children to Christ? Sunday School is the perfect setting for relational ministry. One warning — not all Sunday School programs are created equal. In fact, Answers in Genesis , a group whose mission is, in part, helping Christians defend their faith, found some disturbing results when they surveyed young adults who had dropped out of church.

    After all, not everyone is committed enough to make the effort to get to Sunday school, right? Only those who are more concerned about the spiritual and moral health of their kids, right? Because we all assume that Sunday school is good for them, correct? Our research uncovered something very disturbing: Sunday school is actually more likely to be detrimental to the spiritual and moral health of our children.