Temptations for Teens

When Evil Enters In

When I was a freshman in high school, my (Jill’s) family decided to host a foreign exchange student in our home. Sylvia came to the United States at the young age of 13. She was living with her single mother in Paris but had pretty much raised herself.

Sylvia and I shared a room during our freshman year in high school. Until then, I had lived a pretty sheltered life. Sylvia introduced me to a life I didn’t know existed: smoking, drinking, marijuana, and sex before marriage.

My parents were unaware of the temptations Sylvia brought into our home. As a parent, I have tried to not be naïve about the influence of friends. I have not hesitated to challenge our kids to make good friendship and relational choices, and I have pointed out certain behaviors that I see in their friends that concern me.

Temptations for Teenage Boys

Boys also have to face the influence of Internet porn. Porn distributors spend millions to find ways around firewalls to hook men young and old. If you discover your son is viewing something on the Internet he should not, here are a few things to keep in mind.

1. Don’t freak out. Adding shame will not help matters. Satan would love to cause a deeper rift between a son and his parents.

2. Do not overreact. Most all men will have to face down this demon at some point in their development. Your son is not abnormal, sick, or deviant. He is trapped. Help free him by teaming up to offer him the “way out” that 1 Corinthians 10:13 talks about.

3. Do get him help. Many good counselors specialize in this common area of struggle. Several good books are available, including Every Man’s Battle (and Every Young Man’s Battle). Support groups and mentors are also available.

4. Do place new boundaries in place. You may need to change Internet providers or hold a password so you know when your son is surfing the Net. He may also need the accountability of his dad asking him how he is doing. (Uncles, grandfathers, and youth pastors can also be helpful.) Having the computer in a public room (like the living room) can help (when you are at home).

5. Do applaud him as he develops new skills to help himself overcome. A young man who has an intense relationship with Christ will have more power to overcome this snare. Applaud your son when he takes appropriate risks, including involvement in missions, evangelism, and pursuing his life’s calling. Encourage hobbies that might seem risky to you like whitewater rafting or rock climbing. These might not seem connected, but we have seen that a young man who has a vibrant relationship with Christ and feels he is out on the edge of life pursuing healthy goals doesn’t have the time or as much inclination to risk in areas of sin.