“Avoiding Vacuums” by Michael Pearl (I don’t agree with everything this author writes, but I thought this article definitely had some good points).
Most of us attack the temptation, leaving the child in a vacuum of innocence, not realizing the need to equip the child to be an overcomer, even in our absence, in the face of great temptation. You must meet all the social, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual needs of your children before they are tempted. It is dangerous to allow a child who needs affirmation of his worth to be tempted. The temptation may offer fulfillment of that need. There may be a shade of darkness in the soul of your child. If so, do not make the mistake of thinking that by “cracking down” you are going to cure the problem. It’s a soul problem and it cannot be met with religion or law.
When the child’s vacuums are filled with fruit and flowers, they will not journey through the thorns and thistles seeking beauty. Every kid will give his heart to someone. If not to you (to the family), then whom? It’s just a matter of time and opportunity.
Every family is different, yet sweet balance always looks the same- a family that has fun together, sharing common goals, sharing a vision that gives great hope for the future. Their favorite people in all the world are members of their own family. Some families are too legalistic and religious while others are too irreverent and secular. Some people talk down to their kids thinking they are preventing them from being prideful.
I don’t know where your family is or how it got there. Maybe you don’t know either. So start over. Love God until you sing praise to Him in your dreams. Love your wife or husband until they giggle in the presence of the kids. Love people to the point of sacrificing for the needy. Love your children so much that you smile every time you look at them. End negative speech about EVERYBODY AND EVERYTHING except sin and the devil.
Above all, do what God did to equip us, teach Bible stories. They are given as an example for our learning. These stories impart knowledge, wisdom, fear of walking in sin, judgment, and appreciation for righteousness. They are not only there to teach our minds but to mold our hearts. The child who is not acquainted with many Bible stories is handicapped in overcoming evil. I am talking about Bible stories, not applications, not principles, not sweet little examples you come up with but plain old Bible stories. Discuss sin and righteousness and memorize the words of God.