By Amy Gentry
Here are 10 important conversations to have with your teen:
· Have you won your teens heart? It is counterproductive to be a warden to your teen and not foster a heart-to-heart relationship. Relate to them by spending a QUANTITY of time together.
· Set a standard for media. It is our roll to counter the messages the media forces upon our youth. See what movies and TV shows they choose, discuss how important a shows moral content can be. “Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” (Philippians 4:8) We honor the Lord even with what we watch! - Try Plugged-In for movie reviews.
· Modesty, modesty, modesty -- Explain to them why modesty is so important. Girls should strive to protect the images they put into the minds of young guys (their visual rolodex) and likewise, guys should do the same for girls.
· Let’s talk about sex. The youth of today are bombarded with images and messages that relate to sex. Sex is not as much of a taboo subject as we would like to make it. REMEMBER: It is our roll to counter the messages that the media forces upon our youth. “Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
· PURPOSEFUL dating. Speak to them about the reason behind dating. It is not to have a companion to the big dance or to have a 3-year relationship that begins in middle school. It is to seek the person for whom God created you. “But for Adam no suitable (complimentary) helper was found.”(Genesis 2:20) emphasis mine. A great test for this is that if the relationship is not drawing the youth closer to Christ, then it is not the right relationship.
· What does equally yoked mean? Christians are not to marry non-Christians; this means they should not date them either. Dating is not intended to be a mission field. “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said: “I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the Lord. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
· Accountability. Let them know they are being watched by their peers in school and at church. The adults around them are watching, and we know what to look for – the good, the bad and the ugly. (Little brothers and sisters make great chaperones!)
· Emotional purity. Teach them that controlling what their heart does in a relationship is just as important as controlling what their body does in a relationship. “He will die for lack of self-control;he will be lost because of his great foolishness.”(Proverbs 5:23)
· Guard your heart. Share with them what wise boundaries are in dating relationships. Express to them how they should guard each other's hearts by practicing mutual respect, by encouraging each other to develop strong relationships with their own family and friends, and by not planning your future on the second date. There is freedom within boundaries.
· Pornography. Men need to address this with their sons. Viewing porn is mental adultery and has grave consequences. If a young man matures while entertaining constant porn images it can lead to a failure to connect intimately with his wife in the future. “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28) (Check out getting the Safe Eyes program for your computers http://www.internetsafety.com/)
Challenge: Invest in the life of your teenager. Openly communicate – regularly and often. Set the standard high. They cannot meet the standard until it is set!