Today’s kids are faced with more pressures than we ever had to deal with. Things that were innuendoes in stories and movies are on the forefront and pronounced.
There was a time when issues such as homosexuality, infedelity, or adultry would go over their heads but that’s not the case anymore. Even in the attempt to monitor our television viewing, those issues have taken center stage even in the “family-oriented” shows.
I know the easy answer is to simply turn off the television but how realistic is that for 365 days. I don’t want to set my kids up so that they will be totally caught off guard nor am I am making an excuse for watching television. What I am saying is that the biggest issues aren’t setting curfews or wearing makeup. As parents we must be intentional in making sure our kids connect to how big the world is and guide them to recognize that every single individual on this planet has their own set of core values and beliefs.
So how do we tackle the big issues? Here’s a checklist that may be helpful when talking to our kids.
1. Pray first and rely on the power of God whose knowledge and wisdom stems far beyond ours. Share vulnerabilities, hesitancies and concerns in prayer. Ask for guidance and a divine script to follow.
2. Wait and follow God’s prompting. Timing is everything and our kids are very receptive and sensitive to our emotions or concerns. After we pray, it is very important to make sure that we are still and do not act ahead of God’s timing. When we are still and wait, the perfect opportunity will present itself and we are graced to go all in.
3. Share with your child the point of the conversation. Let them know that you have prayed about it and would like to have an open conversation about a few tough issues.
4. Listen to your child’s point of view and build from there. Kids today are brilliant and will blow us away with what they know. Resist the urge to discourage their ideas if they are different or contrary to what you believe to be best. Encourage invidual thought but share wisdom, giving factual information, moral obligations, ethical convictions and biblical references.
5. Remain open for follow up. Assure your child that this conversation is one of many and that as they grow up you will remain available to talk again if they ever need to.
Part of our concern as parents is that is doesn’t matter if we are parents of the year who was present for every single extra-curricular activity. Our kids will be faced with difficult decisions and tough circumstances. As much as we would like to, we can’t shield them or even assume that they will automatically have ease in making a decision. Let’s face it, there were many things that we dealt with as we were growing up. We can all conclude that our stats reveal that we won some and we lost some. Let that be our motivation. We can’t go overboard or over identify and try to right our wrongs. All we can do is offer our very best to them, continuously pray for and with them and repeatedly let them know that we are here.