Is your teen suffering from “Affluenza?”


Lawyers for a teenager in Texas whose blood alcohol was more than three times the legal limit when he crashed into a group of people, killing 4, claim the teen was a victim of “affluenza.” Having grown up in a home where he was coddled by his wealthy parents, he developed a sense of entitlement and poor judgement, they theorized. His defense team even produced an expert witness who claimed the 16 yr. old was a victim of “affluenza;” spoiled to such an extent that he had never before faced legitimate consequences for his actions.

Dr. Richard Ross, professor of Youth Ministry at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a legend in youth ministry circles, spoke on this very issue this week, in a Ted-Talk style presentation to the Youth Ministry Executive Council (YMEC). ymec2014

Dr. Ross contends we are raising a nation of wimps, with parents who have removed all consequences from their children’s lives. We have reared a generation who all got a trophy for participation, where everyone’s always a winner, and where the possibility of failure has virtually been eliminated from their lives. Helicopter moms of university students will even call professors to argue grades for their adult children. Is it any surprise then, when asked the question, “Are you an adult?” that 50% of all 25 yr olds responded definitively, “No.”

As parents of two young men, (now 19 and 22), my wife and I have learned that failure can be a fantastic teacher, if processed appropriately. In fact, some lessons, can only be learned through failure.

When parenting, you must resist the urge to protect your children from the natural consequences of their actions. Of course, there are times where wisdom dictates that you step in and keep your kids from drowning, but children must learn that there is a cause and effect to their actions. Christian parents especially tend to attempt to over-control their teenagers lives, to protect them from everything bad. But too much protection can actually harm your teenagers ability to succeed after they leave home, (if they ever leave).

Teenagers need to experience risk and reward, failure and consequences in appropriate ways. Richard Ross asks the question: “Where does risk and challenge exist in our society today for teenagers?” I agree with Dr. Ross. It is the reason I so believe in Adventure-Based Youth Ministry. Teens need to get out and experience the challenge of doing something outside their comfort zone. White Water Rafting, Rock Climbing, Kayaking, Hiking, Mountain climbing, Horse pack trips, Ice Climbing, Snowshoeing… Youth Dynamics and YD Adventures do all these things and more. I’ve watched my own boys grow in their confidence in themselves as well as deepen their personal relationship with God through adventure ministry. Let’s get our kids out from behind their screens, to experience LIFE and LIFE TO THE FULL!


Read more about the story…“Teen paralyzed in ‘affluenza’ case to receive millions” by Todd Unger, USA Today, May 6, 2014



About markmoder

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