Hopeless in America: Why parents are afraid to let kids grow up

Saturday, December 12th, 2015

2015 December Monthly Update

Photo: Girls Halloween costumes via Google search

Photo: Girls Halloween costumes via Google search

A recent article by Naomi Schaefer Riley in the New York Post features the lack of parental confidence in a child’s ability to be responsible for their own security as a type of schizophrenia that looks something like this: little girls are wearing sexy Halloween costumes while college students are calling parents daily to make basic decisions about class courses and campus life. The article points to an “amorphous fear” of a culture that is not geared toward protecting children.

The new norm we perceive, amplified by the advent of the internet, is that predators and bullies are more prevalent today and it is just not safe to grow up so we try to stage everything for our children thinking that somehow we are capable of making the world safer. And on the opposite extreme, there is abdication – throwing in the towel believing there is no point in resisting the pressures of the world and we wind up seeking consolation in pleasing and/or ignoring the whims and wails of our children.

In this modern context of internet-powered community and chaos, wherein the norms for what is safe and trustworthy are obscured by boundary-less connectivity and does not recognize formal authority of titles and job descriptions nor age appropriate limitations, authority is emphasized as a relational experience that requires building trust. And still for many of us parents, we can easily deceive ourselves into believing that this trust of the parent-child bond is a duty to govern the child so they can be safe – when indeed, it is our responsibility to educate our children about their own ability to be secure so they can learn to build their own social network based upon trust starting at home. It is learned behavior.

I have further observed that there is a lack of trust in our culture today because of confusion between faith, (which is reserved for God who requires no proof), and trust (which among people is built over time through positive as well as overcoming negative experiences). This is why parents must always do random checks for content on their child’s cyber communications. It is a way to build trust (catching and acknowledging your child doing some things right) and to impart wisdom (responding to things that disturb your peace or cause concern with an instructive heart full of hope and mercy).

“It used to be that our 5-year-olds could manage to pour themselves a bowl of cereal. Our 8-year-olds knew how to use knives. Our 9-year-olds wandered around the neighborhood alone. And our 12-year-olds had regular babysitting jobs…” Naomi Schaefer Riley

Building trust is a “must”

In the end, we are all seeking to cultivate safe relationships in a world that features fear and fakery. And building trustworthy relationships is learned behavior starting at home. So what we learn about human nature in this way is that trust among people must be verified because people are imperfect, vulnerable to motives that are misguided or not good, and the cyber connectivity of daily life reminds us how untrustworthy humanity can be. Faith, on the other hand, is reserved for God who requires no proof, and yet faith can be witnessed as empowerment, supernatural experiences, and miracles.  In this way, I encourage the modern parent to consider the founding of the United States of America as a divine idea in the mind of God that is a historical fact made possible through a handful of people who chose to put into action divine thoughts about the liberty of humanity.  The premise of this freedom that belongs to every soul is that one Benevolent God, one Creator of humanity, grants every individual intelligent life and free will. This is absolute power that can never be taken, but is oh so easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device.

Think about it.

What made George Washington believe there was a chance for victory by crossing the Delaware?

When we put our trust into this one mustard seed of faith that makes a free society possible, and we choose to believe that this power is also true for our children, then we can treat our young as emerging executives and encourage our teens and young adults to assume executive capacity for their own thoughts and actions no matter what their age and circumstances.

Photo: Alexander Hamilton via The Federalist Papers .org

Photo: Alexander Hamilton via The Federalist Papers .org

It is the divine nature of humanity that enables us to choose and act on the thoughts that bring about peace in an imperfect world, and empower others. And in the network culture, the new demand on parents is that we must educate our children about what it means to stand your ground, starting with the premise that liberty already belongs to the soul and it must be defended.

What do you believe about your power and its origin?

Never has Alexander Hamilton’s quote been more true, “You stand for nothing, and you fall for anything.”  At the very least our children must learn at home that taking responsibility for their own thoughts and actions is their power to grow into a trustworthy citizen of the world and prosper.

And now a word to you parents. Don’t keep on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather, bring them up with the loving discipline the Lord himself approves, with suggestions and godly advice. Ephesisans 6:4 (TLB)

Accordingly, the premise of BMF training is that we all have the capacity to “get a Fresh Start” by letting go of corrupting thoughts and experiences in the world that disturb our peace and choosing to declare the truth about liberty in the face of a lie that has become a real experience (bullying/abuse, exploitation and addiction). Parents are divinely equipped to teach this at home, and the Fresh Start curriculum offers insights and simple tools to create a family culture that empowers the parent to govern the home according to their chosen faith (be it Christian, Judaism, Muslim, or Buddhist), and educate the child about how not to give up their power to the bully, the drug or the device.

It is about learning through experience to think for yourself that makes manifest a free society, and so I encourage atheists to consider that this mustard seed of faith requires us all to teach children to think for themselves (as opposed to going along with popular or group thoughts, or fearfully capitulating to all things). My faith tells me that God honors free will and dispenses wisdom generously, and so must we in order to build trust and instill discipline in a world that hypes chaos.

2015 November Round Up Features

Good advice for the modern family: Wherever you are, be there

Cyber Safety For Families with Joanna and Jodie on 103.9FM The Fish Family Morning Show

Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner

Guest Blogger: Bonnie Terry


Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens


Jodie Stevens, hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show on 103.9FM The Fish offers insights and lessons learned about faith and recovery from addiction. Check out her blog, Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens, weekday mornings on the Family Morning Show


Fresh Start Trainer Certification, Roseville, CA

  • Friday, January 15, 2016
  • 11am to 3pm
  • Fee: $55
  • Register here
  • NAADAC /CCAPP CEUs upgrade:  $25
  • This is a workshop to certify professionals, faith leaders and educators as trainers for the Fresh Start curriculum to integrate into their practice.

Empowering Adult Children with Issues, Sacramento, CA

  • Saturday, February 6, 2016
  • 9am to noon
  • Fee: $50
  • A 3-hour workshop to help parents become more effective advocates for the change they want to see in their adult children.
  • Register here

The practical value of virtues & Sacraments workshop, Granite Bay, CA

  • Saturday, February 20, 2016
  • 9am to noon
  • Fee: None
  • Location: St. Joseph Marello Catholic Parish, 7200 Auburn-Folsom Rd., Granite Bay, CA 95746, 916-786-5001
  • Faith formation starts at home with the parent communicating their spiritual wisdom heart-to-heart. This workshop offers insights to help parents communicate with greater confidence how virtues and Sacraments make manifest in the individual the power of God’s love which brings about peace.

Fresh Start Trainer Certification, Roseville, CA

  • Friday, March 4, 2016
  • 11am to 3pm
  • Fee: $55
  • Register here
  • NAADAC /CCAPP CEUs upgrade:  $25
  • This is a workshop to certify professionals, faith leaders and educators as trainers for the Fresh Start curriculum to integrate into their practice.


Shame: How we address shame as individuals and families

A big part of defending individual liberty is developing the personal and collective capacity to set aside shame emotion in order to learn from negative experiences and stand corrected. This symposium will feature practical insights and tips about transforming experiences that inspire shame into defining moments of empowerment.

  • Saturday, April 9, 2016
  • 8:30am to 1:30pm
  • Fee: $35
  • NAADAC /CCAPP CEU upgrades will be available: $30
  • Registration will be open February 1, 2016
  • Location to be confirmed: Sierra Vista Hospital, new Adolescent Treatment Center in Folsom
  • Look for more information about registration, speakers and topics and location.


ABOUT:  Banana Moments Foundation is a non-profit education center founded in Roseville, CA to strengthen the parent-child bond in a hyper-connected world. The BMF mission is to restore families with the mustard seed of faith that declares liberty already belongs to the soul because one God, the Creator of all humanity, grants every human being intelligence and free will to choose what to believe, and that is power that can never be taken, but is easily surrendered to the bully, the drug or the device. To that end, ten percent of all BMF proceeds are donated to prison ministries. Your Donations are greatly appreciated.

Joanna Jullien (Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien
(Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.

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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna (jullien@surewest.net) and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.