Monthly Archives: July 2010

T-Minus 1 “Lift Off”


This week we have been reviewing some of the items on our final checklist for launching our children into adulthood.  The foundation for a successful launch should have already been laid.  Our focus for parenting has been raising a child who is both marriageable and employable, but what about a firm spiritual foundation? 

Sadly, current statistics for youth leaving the church after high school are staggering.   We have found that research states anywhere from 61-88% of churched kids will leave the church upon entering adulthood.  Where does the responsibility lie?  

Many would be tempted to point their finger at the church, saying “if only there were better programs to teach my kids.”  Training our children is our responsibility and no one else’s.  That is why it is imperative that the main goal of parenting is to help our children grow in their relationship with God.  If we expect the church to do this for us we will merely be raising a “church go-er.”  Being a follower of Jesus is something that must be lived out in day to day life, not just a couple of hours a week in church and youth group.  It is also something that we must live out in front of our kids, so that they can see  it is real. Why would a teen believe Christianity is real if there is a difference between what they are hearing at church and what they are seeing lived out at home?  Remember, not only are we to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the community around us but also in our home, serving our family for His glory.

T-Minus 1 “Lift Off” 2010-07-30T10:51:16+00:00

T-Minus 2 “Relationship Management”


In the previous months we have discussed the topic of dating in great detail.  As we look at our final checklist for launching our children into adulthood this area needs to be addressed again.  There are several issues with dating that can come up for the college student if they have not been trained how to process through them before hand.

We need to help our kids learn how to properly balance relationships.   Some teens really struggle with the concept that relationships are only one aspect of their lives.   When they become all consumed by a relationship the other areas of their lives begin to suffer.  If teens do not learn how to balance relationships  there can be drastic consequences as adults.

A second area that we need to help our kids with before they leave our home is knowing boundaries with the opposite sex.  Again like we have talked about in great detail in past months, the consequences for casual sex in today’s culture can be devastating.   Because of this we need to spend lots of time with our kids on this area so that by the time they leave our house they are well prepared.

T-Minus 2 “Relationship Management” 2010-07-29T21:07:43+00:00

T-Minus 3 “Time Management”


In today’s fast paced culture, teaching our children how to use their time wisely becomes an important job that can make or break the college years.  Teaching Time Management to our children can help them to cope with the many distractions that campus life can have. With the instant access to information that the internet provides, there are many benefits for today’s college student.  For example, research for class papers is made much easier.   However, there are many things that may distract the student and eat away at their time. Online gaming has become a major problem and there are even some students who can become so addicted to gaming that they can’t keep up in their classes and will end up dropping out.  There are many other social activities that are available on the college campus that if not balanced can also effect the  grades of the student .   This is why in later high school years we must begin to allow our teens to manage their time.  We can be there to encourage the good decisions and help talk through the poor.  We must allow some freedom for our teen to make their own decisions in this area and possibly learn from their mistakes at home, with parental coaching.

One area that may work for a test of a child’s time management skills is bedtime.  As your child hits the  high school years you can experiment by  giving them a later bedtime.   As they approach their senior year, depending on their responsibility level, you can also see how they handle having no bedtime. This will begin to train them how to be responsible with their time and sleep schedule.

T-Minus 3 “Time Management” 2010-07-28T20:36:08+00:00

T- Minus 4 “Money Management”


There are so many college freshman who hit the college campus unprepared for what life is about to throw at them.  There are several of these areas that with a little time spent, we can help our kids avoid some of the damage done by bad decisions made in the college years.    Like we have said previously, beginning to prepare them for some of these areas requires us to train and then step back and allow our children to make decisions.

One of the hardest areas for those college students who are untrained is money.    Because of the cost of tuition and other financial responsibilities that go along with college, many students struggle to make it through those years.  It would also seem that credit cards may be a challenge for the unsuspecting student.  It is imperative that we teach our older teen, not only how to budget but how to use a credit or debit card responsibly.  This may require that we help them open a checking account as they hit the later high school years.  It is important that they practice with in the safety net of family.  Keep in mind that many college students leave college with not only student loans to pay off but other debt as well.  Sometimes this can be avoided with a little bit of training and practice.

T- Minus 4 “Money Management” 2010-07-27T19:59:03+00:00

Ready for Lift Off?


Before they send a shuttle into space, there are countless things that are checked and rechecked; there are practice run throughs.  The shuttle may even sit on the launch pad for awhile before the actual launch. Then the count down begins.   There are so many factors that can affect the launch of a shuttle, even down to the weather.

There are several lessons to be applied to parenting here.   Like we have talked about all month, the “launch” of a child into adulthood should be a process with just as much meticulous consideration.  As a child is approaching their “launch date” or the end of their high school years, we as parents need to be looking at our checklist.   This is the time to fine tune our preparations.   We will be discussing a few of those fine tuning elements this week.  Just like a shuttle ready to launch, as your child approaches the launch pad their foundation should have already been laid.   But remember it is never too late for last minute preparations.

Ready for Lift Off? 2010-07-26T20:47:02+00:00

Maturity Matters


As we continue with our theme of “training to launch”,  we  need  to discuss a major issue- the maturity of the child.  Yesterday we touched on the fact that boys and girls mature at different rates, but even children of the same gender will mature at their own pace. What this means for parents is that the parameters placed around one child at a certain age may not work for the next child even if they are the same gender.   This forces us as parents, to know our children very well so we are able to determine what they can and cannot handle.  For example, one of your children may be very responsible and mature enough to handle driving  a car at the age of 16. Lets say later on one of this child’s siblings, who has now reached the age of 16, wants to start driving the car like the older brother or sister did. This child, however, has not proven that he or she can handle the great responsibility that comes along with driving a car.  We must then make a decision because now not only are they taking their life but the lives of others on the road into their hands.   This is a “launching point” that must be evaluated for each child.  If a child is not ready, then there needs to be goals placed in front of them so they can prove that they are mature enough to handle any given responsibility.  As children grow there are many areas like this one that need to be evaluated for each individual child.  There cannot be a “one size fits all” for these areas of parenting, that require certain levels of maturity to attain.

Maturity Matters 2010-07-23T20:27:02+00:00

Does It Matter?


While we are preparing our children to launch, there are a few factors that we must keep in mind as parents.  Over the next two day we will be discussing areas that should cause parents to think outside the box.  In today’s culture, most parents don’t realize that it is ok to parent girls and boys differently.  They have different needs and mature on different levels, so it is ok to have a different parenting plan in place for their protection.  The world around us is a scary place for both our sons and our daughters and both genders can be easily taken advantage of.  In parenting, however, we must place extra protection around our daughters.  As we are training them to be adults in a society of adolescents, we must give them the tools for them to be able to protect themselves.  Many of these tools are in training our daughters how to place boundaries around themselves.  The blogs from April and May give more detailed information on this topic.  Remember, it is ok to place stronger parameters around  a daughter for her protection.

Does It Matter? 2010-07-23T14:54:04+00:00

Allowing Your Child to Make the Decision


One of the things that may be hardest for a parent to do is allow a child to fail.   Obviously in order to protect our children there are times we need to step in.   But there are also times when we must allow them to make the decision.  For example, growing up in our house we had to clean our closet on Saturday morning.   It was our decision whether or not to keep it clean all through the week.   If we chose to keep it clean our job on Saturday was easy.  Most times, however, it was easier through the week to not keep it up.  So the Saturday job became huge.   This was one of those small choices that we were allowed to make; and many times we chose poorly.  But we were allowed to learn this lesson of time management, the hard way.

There are also many times where a child may make a good decision but it may not be the best decision.  In fact, if we as the parent get involved we can make it the best decision.  Even though this is tempting there are times we need to allow the “good decision” to be made in order for our child to learn through it.  This opens up an opportunity for communication after the fact.  We can encourage our child that they made a good decision and help them to see little things they could have “tweaked” to make it the best.

Allowing Your Child to Make the Decision 2010-07-21T19:39:37+00:00

Practicing Time Away


One of the reasons for your child to have to opportunity to spend time away from the family is to practice decision making.   They need to have the experience of having to process and make decisions for themselves.   This is another reason why the week away at camp or missions trip is a great opportunity.  They are away but still in a safe environment around others who share their beliefs.

Another opportunity that is a great growing experience is an extended time with a trusted relative.   This can be done as early as late elementary school.   This allows the child to observe another family interaction as well as work on decision making.   They need to continually be given the opportunity to do the right thing even when mom and dad are not around for an extended period of time.  This becomes more and more important the older the child gets.   Being dropped off on a college campus should not be the first extended period away.   A child needs to practice and then have a parent there to debrief.  They need someone to talk about what decisions were made, good or bad, and be coached through it.

Practicing Time Away 2010-07-21T12:15:47+00:00

Growing Opportunities


As your child grows there are many important opportunities for them to spread their wings.  Especially when your child gets into middle school and high school the church youth group is a great place to practice.  Most churches offer opportunities for different camps and mission trips for youth.  These can be a great growing opportunity for your child.

If one of the focal points for your parenting is your child to develop their own relationship with God, these opportunities cannot be missed.   As parents, it is our job to create an atmosphere in the home that will help nourish this relationship.    Camps can be a high point but we can help our kids maintain commitments that they’ve made and process through the experience when they get home.

Mission trips can be a great teaching tool  for many reasons.   Teens can learn so much from observing others less fortunate then themselves.   It can also be a wonderful growing opportunity as they learn to selflessly serve others.

Growing Opportunities 2010-07-18T20:27:43+00:00