I contemplated whether or not to use the title above for a book I wrote on parenting and its relationship to addiction. But I decided to use it because I like the title for this reason: it focuses upon the parenting process and parental goals, more than the product-oriented goal of a so-called “perfect” child. The origin of the title came from a great scene in the Fireproof movie when one of the firemen says to the other: “Marriages are not fireproof. Sometimes you get burned.” To which the other fireman rightly responded: “Fireproof doesn’t mean that fire will never come. But that when it comes, you will be able to withstand it.”
In the book, I state:
Likewise, addiction-proof parenting does not mean that temptations to use drugs will not occur in your child’s lifetime. We are to be in the world but not of the world (John 17:16-21). Addiction-Proof Parenting means that when temptations come, your child will be ready for those challenges because of God’s grace through your parenting investment. Your children can be addiction-proof by God’s grace through your faithfulness to teach them to be obedient to His Word. (p.4)
That is the goal of parenting: to teach them truth so that they walk with Christ and respond to life’s temptations and trials in a way that pleases God.
Parents Foster “Addictive” Thinking
Inadvertently, parents can actually foster “addictive” thinking in their children that could lead to addictive choices in later years.
A four year old child is not likely to participate in sexual sin, or other sins of an addictive nature like using heroin, but the thinking and behaviors often associated with addictive thinking that manifest much later in life, can actually be results of thoughts instilled by unwitting parents while the child was very young. That is not to excuse those children for the choices they freely make as older teens or young adults but my intention here is to underscore the impact parents have upon children through modeling words, behaviors, and encouraging certain ways of thinking.
The good news is that parents can also learn to teach biblical thought patterns in their children’s thinking to become more Christ-centered than self-centered. That is the hopeful focus of this blog!
So then, can parents “pornography-proof” their children? Is it possible to parent in such a way that we curb the tendencies for our children’s hearts to be lead astray by the woman of folly? Listen to the foolish desires of the flesh described in Proverbs 9:13-18:
Folly is an unruly woman; she is simple and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house, on a seat at the highest point of the city, calling out to those who pass by, who go straight on their way, “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, “Stolen water is sweet; food eaten in secret is delicious!” But little do they know that the dead are there, that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.
Wisdom is knowledge lived out in righteous choices that please God while foolish choices are often ruled by selfish desires lived out in rebellion to God.
Preventing Addictive Thinking
It is certainly possible for parents to do their part—being faithful to God and His Word in bringing up their children in the instruction and admonition of the Lord. This book addresses five sinful patterns of thinking often found in addicts and applies them to the parenting context in a preventative manner. No parent wants a child to grow up enslaved to their passions, so understanding how to cultivate the child’s heart to love Christ is paramount for any believing parent.
As one pastor articulates well my intention for the book: I have “taken the ancient principles of Scripture and contextualized them in contemporary culture.” My hope is that you will glean some practical, useful tools based upon biblical truth to use as you work hard to do addiction-proof parenting.
Mark E. Shaw, D.Min., is author of Addiction-Proof Parenting from Focus Publishing.