April 19, 2021

Teens as Targets

One of the things that I read a while back stated that a majority of girls that are pushed into sexual slavery are teen runaways. This was the case in a recent capture of a man (Michael Harris, 25) who was pimping out girls ages 12 and 15— both runaways.

Why are these teens good targets? Because they’re running away, they need a place to stay– and quickly they are ensnared and brainwashed to do the unthinkable. They need the money– but most of all, the man has convinced them that they need him.

Now, apart from the part of me that doesn’t understand where the runaway’s parents are (perhaps they are orphans or in foster homes?), my next question is do we really realize the danger that is out there waiting to prey on our teens. This isn’t a third world country we’re talking about, this is Arizona!

What I see here is a growing disconnect between the adult generation and the teenage one, and I don’t think that there is any one single thing that can be identified as the one fault.

The biggest, no doubt, is a lack of communication. We live in a society that believes that we have to do all we can to earn all we can so we can amass all we can. Just look at our waistlines! In the process, we’ve glorified two parents working and who is home with the kids when they get home from school?

But it’s deeper than that. We’ve typecast teenagers as rebellious, people that adults cannot understand. We’ve frozen them in between childhood and adulthood– not affording them the responsibilities of adulthood (i.e. a job, etc.) and criticizing them for playing. In ancient times you were considered an adult at 12. Today it’s anyone’s guess when you become an adult. Some 40 year olds joke that they still haven’t grown up.

And this puts our teens at risk. We need to make them important in our lives. We need to get them active and engaged. They do not need to be rebellious, and it can be some of the best times of their lives. So, are we up to the challenge?

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8 thoughts on “Teens as Targets

  1. As a mother of three teenagers, this makes me heart-sick. As you said, MIN, no ‘one’ thing is the problem, but I do feel the responsibility does lie a great deal with the parents. No, I don’t want to put any more guilt on parents today or ‘trash’ them. I think most parents really think they are doing right by their children. But the Bible says, ‘Fathers train up your children’, Proverbs 31 woman has A LOT of responsibility at home. I’m sorry, but you can’t do an even mediocre job with either of those if you are not at home with those children!

    Our society today is showing the result of both parents working and not taking the time to raise their children. Day care and public school are raising our children. There are some great workers in day care and some terrific teachers…BUT it does not replace the parents! (And believe me, with only my husband working for the 23 years of our marriage, it has been tough at times…but God has taken care of us.)

    I think most of these teenagers are showing signs of emotional neglect…thus the girls seeking men, however bad they are, to replace their father.

    Children are not taught responsibility at home with chores around the house and care for their own belongings, much less jobs outside the home when they become teenagers. I’ve been appalled at some of the things that my daughters have told me about other teenagers where they work! Again, not to be hard on parents, but most of it can be traced back to them. These teenagers have no respect for authority, no hard work ethic, no honor and no just plain manners! The Bible says these are to be taught in the home. Sadly, this is even a problem with Christian teenagers.

    I don’t think there are any easy answers to this. My opinion is that the Bible is pretty clear that what is happening is kind of the downward spiral of the world. But as a Believer, I feel my job is to keep praying for those in government, praying for those lost, encouraging whenever I can. But as a mother, my biggest most important job is to do whatever I can, with God’s help to raise my children in a Godly home and teach them values so they will be a ‘light in the world’.

  2. I think that one of the biggest things that has made our culture in a pickle is the wealth that we have– or we expect to have. Very quickly as a couple starts out they are saddled with all sorts of debt. They pick up a house, a couple of cars, and a credit card bill because they expect to have what their parents took years to get to.

    There are so many financial fallacies that I should start a series on that alone! 😆

    And then, when they have bills all over the place, the only way they think that they can pay them is to have both parents work. Little do they see the price of that day care brings financially– or the detachment that occurs emotionally from their parents. You’re right, society raises them.

  3. Please do the financial series!! I think young single people and young married couples especially would benefit from it. Us older ones can look back and see everything that we did wrong! 😆 But yes, we are a society that has to have it all RIGHT NOW. No working toward something or having patience and waiting for God’s timing. I think we all, to a certain extent, are storing up our treasures here on earth. Guilty as charged! :blush:

  4. My daughter points out that often the problems begin way before marriage, specifically that women are expected to go to college (possibly racking up a large debt) and have a career, which then creates conflict when she has children. She (dd) has rejected that life for herself and is under a tremendous amount of pressure coming from extended family members.

    Yes, do the financial series.

    Now, to your question about where the parents are: they very possibly just cannot keep the child at home. Having been through runaway with my son, I speak from experience. If a young person doesn’t want to be at home and submit to authority, there is very little a parent can do about it.

    When I was a young single mother, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to me to have my son in a multiplicity of day cares. What else would I do? After becoming a Christian, I left my job for home, but by then he was already in 4th grade.

    We need to remember that there are many people out there who don’t have the benefit of the same understanding that we do.

  5. I agree that a financial series would be good. God says we should be no man’s debtor, but we live in a society wedded to consumer debt. How do we buy a house without a mortgage? And what is the role of credit cards?

    Lots of interesting questions there.

  6. Yes, I do agree that there are many people that don’t have the same understanding as others do. We are each in different areas of growth and understanding in our lives. I also know that many times we do not have any choices; either from previous bad decisions or something has happened without being in our control…such as a spouse dying or just plain leaving. At times you just have to do what you can and I in no way fault those that decide to use day care or public school. Each person stands before God and is accountable to Him.

    I also understand about pressure from extended family members…my daughters are thought of as being silly and wasting their lives for going to Bible college and praying to be married and have a family. I didn’t even go to Bible college before marrying, so I really wasted my life in their opinion! But I’ve also tried to impress on my daughters that if they have an interest, they need to pursue it now while they are not married, because after marriage and children, those are the priorities.

  7. I’m living with the in-laws right now, as we prepare to make our trek to move the family to Australia. In the household are my two sons aged 7 and 4, and three of my brothers-in-law aged 17, 15 and 11. There are a lot of boys with varying needs to say the least. And my wife would have you believe there are 6 boys. I won’t go into THAT any further 😉

    My wife is a stay-at-home-mum who works full time with our boys.She nurtures the 4 year old with teaching from the bible, stories and basically the things we believe are good and true. It’s fair to say that I don’t have this skill; she does and does it tremendously. She did the same thing during the day with our eldest who is now in school. They almost get a pre-pre-pre school, which is just great in our opinion.

    What I am good at is playing with the boys. Which I feel is a ministry itself.

    My 4 year old loves Star Wars and Lego Star Wars and colouring books about Star Wars. So once a week he comes with me to work and I set him up in my office and find a brand new Star Wars pictures to colour. About once a month we camp out and do a sleepover; usually watching Star Wars or Nemo or Flushed Away.

    My 7 year old loves to play computer games and cricket. (Hey, I have the right to teach him cricket and NOT baseball ;)) So we play Nintendo DS together, which is really cool as it is a wireless device and if in a WIFI zone we can play against others around the world. It’s a humbling yet fun experience to not be able to beat your 7 year old at Mario kart. And he loves to have me toss him ball after tennis ball that he can smack around to his hearts content. I ought to invest in Wilson tennis balls. He’s quite the batsman this one.

    The 11 and 15 year old are into skateboarding, bikes, music, video games and MySpace. The 15yr old rides his bike to my work some days and we ride home together listening to our MP3’s. If he boards I ride because I suck at boarding. They’re big into World of Warcraft so I’ve got my Night Elf character and do my best to try and keep up with these guys. And we search for new music together and share comments on MySpace.

    The 17yr old is a bit harder to crack; but we compare our iPod libraries and I plan to join them at a Christian Scream-o concert coming up in March. Why? They asked if I want to go. Screamo metal…. ahhhh… I will go because I am thrilled they even asked me.

    My point is that I believe men play a very big role and ought to take more responsibility in developing relationships with their kids and those around them. I don’t have to join in with MySpace (which I detest) or play Video Games. I could do what my dad did and let them go off and do their thing (because they’re going to do it anyway attitude) while I watch my sports or whatever; or I could join in and hopefully leave an impression that maybe I am cool enough to talk to or hang out with. This is the part where my wife adds the 6th boy; deep down I’m still really a boy having fun with the other boys.

    And that’s what I have going on as I chill with each of the boys. I’m completely open to advice because it’s easier to deal with one of the in-laws blowing me off than my own kids. As the eldest heads towards ten and on to the teen years I don’t know what challenges will come up.

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