accountability

Teens and Sexuality

2010-05-24T22:02:17+00:00

As we wrap up our month on friends and dating we would be remiss to not talk more about teens and sexuality.  The needed ongoing talk about the personal discipline of abstinence is not because we are old fashioned or because it is really the only safe choice, because its what God set up as a standard for us.

Teen sex is destructive on so many levels.  Many parents take the attitude that today’s teen is going to do it anyway so… That’s makes about as much sense as saying that the teen is going to speed when he drives anyway so let’s buy extra airbags for safety.

Teen sex is damaging to them emotionally.  Sex was created as a bond between a couple that was meant to help “seal” a marriage.  When this bond is taken lightly and misused it affects us emotionally.  It also affects our future relationships.  Teens do not have the maturity to deal with the pain that comes when that sexual bond is severed and the relationship ends.

Teen sex can also be damaging to them physically.  Because STD’s are on the rise this is something that concerned parents cannot afford to take lightly.  Teens are more susceptible to STD’s then adults as well because their bodies are still developing.  With the diseases out their, many of which are incurable, our kids are literally taking their lives in their hands if they treat sex casually.  Many of these STD’s are not 100% prevented by practicing “safe sex” .  That’s basically like saying,  you have a 1 in 8 chance of your parachute not opening when you jump out of this plane, how many of us would go sky diving at that point?  Yet many parents are treating the casual nature of teen sex with the same sense of idiocy.  This is a protection issue and we need to protect our teens as well as their future!  More than that, it is an issue that will impact future intimacy in marriage.  Most of all, understand it or not, agree with it or not, it is a total violation of the Operator’s manual for handling life.  God calls us to the personal discipline of abstinence before marriage.  Either He knows what’s best or not, there’s no gray area here.

Teens and Sexuality 2010-05-24T22:02:17+00:00

Help Your Child Learn How to Filter

2010-05-24T21:58:13+00:00

Teens today still say their parents are the number one influence in their lives.  This is such a comforting thought, especially when it comes the areas of dating and sex.  Teens today are bombared constantly with sex.  It is presented to them in the media, through television, movies, magazines, and commercials. They are bombared with it by their peers. Sexuality is openly discussed in school.  There seems to be no sense of modesty about the topic in today’s teen culture.  This is why it is imperative that parents consistently talk to their teen about sex.

Again, this is not a one time only, birds and the bees type talk or even the discussion that takes place as they “come of age.” This needs to be an on going dialog.  Parents must be a safe place that the teen can come with questions.

We also need to be aware of what our kids are filling their minds with.  Are they becoming desensitized to sex because of what they are exposing themselves to?  We need to monitor what is playing on their ipods.  What music does your child like? Do you even know the lyrics to the songs that they listen to?  Magazines that are pushed at teens, such as Seventeen and others, are very sexually explicit.  Even video games today can be very sexual.  For your teens sake, filter what they are putting into their minds and hearts.  2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us to take captive every thought we have.  That’s a vital discipline parents must teach their teens.

Help Your Child Learn How to Filter 2010-05-24T21:58:13+00:00

Sticking to the Plan

2010-05-24T21:54:53+00:00

Yesterday we discussed the importance keeping the lines of communication with your teen open.  One of the things to discuss with your teen is the importance of sticking to a plan.   There needs to be a plan in place for who to date, as well as, what to do on a date.

In talking with many teens today it is surprising that many will “go out” with almost anyone who asks.  This is why it is important to have that previously discussed “spouse list”.  A teen can then easily see who fits their criteria.  It is very important to have standards as to who is datable.  Sadly one of those standards is for the basic reason of safety.  Girls especially need to be very careful who they choose to go out with.  The date rape statistics on college campuses is staggering.  We need to be training our teens about safety on dates beginning with who they choose to go out with.

Then regardless of how safe the potential date appears to be on paper, sticking to a plan on a date is something that will help with safety.  Teens need to go into a date with a plan of what will happen.  This is where our four important questions, who, what, where and when, come into play.  Girls need to be asking these questions to the guys they go out with. They also need to have an “escape plan” if the date begins to change.  This is where we as parents need to be a safety net for our teens.  We need to be available for picking them up, even late at night, if the plan changes and they need to come home.  We need to constantly communicate that we are there for them through this process.  WE also need to affirm the fact that our teens a far too special not to be asking the “Who, What, Where and When Questions.” We can communicate, “Honey, if someone invited me to spend an evening socially with them, these are the questions even I would ask.”

Sticking to the Plan 2010-05-24T21:54:53+00:00

Creating Open Communication…On Dating

2010-05-24T21:51:48+00:00

We have mentioned it many times before … communication is an important key to training.  In order for you to be a safe place for your kids to come for accountability, there must be constant communication about the topic of dating.  Many parents are scared to discuss their teen’s relationships because everything looks so different today.  Many parents may also have a hard time getting their teen to open up about this topic.  Especially if you are trying to create this open atmosphere late in the game, it may be difficult.  We must consistently pursue our kids.  This is where the concept of “dating” our children is very helpful.  Going out to eat, coffee, or somewhere that is not your house may help to open the doors of communication in a neutral environment.  One parent with one child…. like on a date.  Setting this time up with your child weekly will help build the communication routine.  If it’s not on the calendar it won’t happen.  Make sure that you don’t go into these times with an “agenda.”  This is a time just to be with and talk to your child. Communication about what is going on will come out with time.  You can’t force it.

Creating Open Communication…On Dating 2010-05-24T21:51:48+00:00

Parties

2010-05-10T09:03:25+00:00

It seems as though boy/girl parties are happening early these days.  Because of this it creates another opportunity for us parents to help train our children in trustworthiness.  With the start of these parties it opens the door for communication with your child about expectations for appropriate behavior with the opposite sex.

Because of societies’ obsession with sexuality, our children are being bombarded with it.   Take any opportunity to talk with your children about sex.  There needs to be an open door policy in your house in regards to this topic. Children should feel comfortable enough with you to be able to ask you anything.  If they cannot ask you they will ask a friend and probably hear wrong information.

Use these opportunities as training grounds about what will and will not be appropriate for the opposite sex.  You need to be certain that your child is prepared for these parties as well.  Just because your child may be invited to a party does not mean that have to go, especially if you do not feel they are ready. When you do feel they are ready, just like everything else, lay down your expectations for their behavior.  Again you will need to check up on them to hold them accountable.  You can come a little early to pick them up to check in or even help to chaperone the party. Check to see if they are still wearing the same clothes they went out the door wearing.   This is an opportunity to communicate to your child that you love them enough to hold them accountable!

Parties 2010-05-10T09:03:25+00:00

Applying the I.C.E. Plan to the Social Scene

2010-05-10T08:58:29+00:00

It seems as though holding our children accountable is one of the things we do most as parents.  We hold them accountable to get their homework done, clean their room and to do their best in school.  The social scene is no different.  Many parents may fear allowing their child the freedom of hanging out with friends because they have no idea how to hold them accountable to the family rules.

It’s really no different then how we train our small children.  We apply the I.C.E plan.  We need to Instruct our children as to how we expect them to act.  We need to let them know the Consequences when the do not follow the rules set up. Then we must allow them the training opportunity to Exercise their options.  The part we may feel helpless in, is how we know that they are behaving appropriately.

We have the responsibility to check in on our child, especially in the early days of allowing these freedoms.  As a parent you are allowed to drive past Coldstone to make sure that your child is there and behaving appropriately.  You are also allowed to go to the movie theater and make sure they are watching the movie they said they were going to see. Like we have said before your child needs to know that you care enough about them to make the effort to hold them accountable.  It’s not about checking on them.  It’s all about training them to be trustworthy.  That’s a marriageable and employable characteristic.

Applying the I.C.E. Plan to the Social Scene 2010-05-10T08:58:29+00:00

Preparing Your Child For the Social Scene

2010-05-10T08:45:18+00:00

It would be unwise for anyone to throw their child into the deep end of a pool and expect them to swim.  Most of us are very conscious when it comes to water safety.  We spend lots of time in swimming lessons or many hours teaching our children.  We need to spend just as much conscious effort preparing them for the social scene.   Just as you would not toss your child into a pool it is unwise to toss your child into the “deep end” of social scenarios until they have been allowed the practice.

Like we talked about last week there needs to be small freedoms allowed and when a child has proven trustworthy then a little more freedom is rewarded.  An idea for a first baby step is allowing your child to have a sleep over with a trusted friend.  Then maybe you all go to the mall and you allow a group of friends the freedom to go by themselves to get ice cream at the food court.  If your child has proven trustworthy in these areas, like meeting up with you at the specified time, then you can move on to the next step.  These steps may look different for each individual family and each individual child.   The important thing to remember is allow your child to practice.  Make sure you are clear on your expectations for their behavior and then hold them accountable.

Preparing Your Child For the Social Scene 2010-05-10T08:45:18+00:00

Hanging Out With Friends

2010-05-10T08:37:22+00:00

Long before dating comes “hanging out” with friends …  or taking the step of allowing your child to go out with friends. It’s a test in the progression toward dating. This is a scary first step towards independence and one that should not be treated lightly.  It’s something your child should have been training for since they were young.

Training your child to be trustworthy is something that we have discussed several times. You are trustworthy when you follow the rules even when no one is looking.  This is something that needs to be taught.  Most people don’t have a tendency to think, “mom and dad aren’t around, I think I will make them proud by the way I am acting right now.”  Any one who has raised a toddler knows otherwise.

There are several places to start training trustworthiness.  When children are over at their friend’s houses, make sure you take the time to check on their behavior.  Let them know ahead of time what your expectations are for them even when you are not around. When they are at school have constant dialog with their teachers.  Even babysitters are a great training ground.  It does take effort on the part of the parent to check up and not be defensive.  All of these little things help prepare our children for the older years as they are practicing socializing out of our homes.

Hanging Out With Friends 2010-05-10T08:37:22+00:00

The Four “W’s” for Social Interaction

2010-05-02T13:44:33+00:00

As your children grow and are building trust to the level that they can begin to do things outside the home there are four questions that need to be answered.   “You need to be able to answer these four questions before you can get our permission to go anywhere.”  Secondarily,  “if at any time the answer to any of these questions changes call me.”

The Obvious questions are, Who, What, When and Where.  Who are you going with or who is going to be there? What will you be doing? When will you be home? Where will you be?

Helping children create a plan for what they will be doing in the long run helps them avoid temptation … if they will stick to the plan.  This also gives them an out if things begin to change.  It is also the parent’s job to hold them accountable to these questions. This is where the checking up on them that we discussed last month will come into play.  Even though they may not understand it at the time, you are communicating that you care enough about them to make sure they are doing what they say!

The Four “W’s” for Social Interaction 2010-05-02T13:44:33+00:00

Cellphones and Internet

2010-04-26T15:26:07+00:00

Today’s smart phones can present another issue for parents.  Just like everything else we have talked about they just need to have parameters and safeguards set up.  Keep in mind everything that we have talked about this month is for the protection of our children.  The first question you need to ask yourself as a parent is, does my child really need this?  Is a smart phone something that they need or is a regular cell something that will suffice?

The thing to remember with a smart phone is that, while they are the most popular thing to the youth culture, they cost more per month and they have internet capabilities.  The internet on these phones is much harder to filter.  Last week we discussed internet safety and how to protect your children.  The safety tips we discussed are much harder, if not impossible, to put into place on a phone’s internet.   So again this begs the question, is this a necessary thing for your child to have? Do the risks of a phone like this outweigh the benefits for a teen?

Cellphones and Internet 2010-04-26T15:26:07+00:00