One new parenting dilemma that our parents did not deal with is the new definition of “identifying” our middle and high schoolers are being faced with.
When we used to identify with a group of people in was because of classes or extra-curricular activities we were in together, similar taste in music or movies, because we simply went to the same grade school, or had shared experiences together at youth group or on a field trip.
There is a new kind of identifying that is based solely on physical attraction towards one gender or the other that is then turned into sexual identity from ideas being pushed on social media and in peer groups at school. It is a sad reality that some of our teens and young adults are boiling their entire identity down to attraction and social trends and not on who God has created them to be. I am not talking about whether they are young women or young men and see themselves that way. I am talking about their creativity, abilities, and giftedness being overshadowed by their urges.
I have been working with teenagers for two decades and love them no matter how they identify. I support students I have in trying to clarify how God made them and why. That truth being said, we as parents and spiritual leaders need to focus this new identifying where it should be focused and that is on their identity in Christ.
Are we having the conversations with our younger children about who they are in Christ so that when they are faced with identifying with one group of people or another, they know the truth and who they were created to be? Who is Christ to them? Who are they in light of who Christ is?
Are we asking our older children how their friends are identifying and how our children can help them broaden their understanding of that term to include their spiritual, emotional, and mental life beyond their social and physical preferences?
My prayer is for our children and teens to see themselves in light of who Christ is apart from who the world says they are or should be. May we all show each other the mercy and grace God has shown us and remember who we belong to!
“Once you had no identity as a people; now you are God’s people. Once you received no mercy; now you have received God’s mercy.” 1 Peter 2:10
How are you processing this new definition of “identifying” with your children and teens?