I was notified I had received a review on Amazon for my book. I always get butterflies when I go to read a reader’s review. There is always the fear they might hate it! As I scanned over the page, I saw the latest review and my heart stopped. The title was absolutely convicting and reminded me just how important my role in the home is.
This was the title of her review: “We are called to action, not just to be willing.”
The reviewer went on to say this:
“If you’d asked me before I began reading your book how comfortable I was in discussing these things with my child, I’d have said “I’m pretty confident!” But, my actions weren’t showing that because something really was holding me back. I didn’t want to say too much and I definitely didn’t want to repeat the parenting that I’d received about this subject and not say enough.
I’ve learned personally that just having a parent that is open and willing to discuss does not constitute actual training. As Godly parents we are called to action…not just willingness.”
Please stop right there and reflect on that part of this parent’s response. Many of us are willing to do whatever needs to be done for the sake of our children’s growth, but how many of us are actually doing it? Willingness is not enough and it is not actual training!
In Chapter Four of Walking the Talk, I break down some key points from age to age.
Preschoolers need to know the proper names of their body parts, how we are all wonderfully created as male and female and the beauty of the sanctity of human life. By middle school, parents should be using this time to prepare for the next phase of life and address the beauty of puberty and the importance of modesty while they are going through all these changes. By high school, we need to have already set (or begin setting) proper boundaries in the area of relationships and electronics as well as learning the importance of CPR listening skills. (Not sure what CPR stands for, go grab a copy of Walking the Talk for yourself or another parent!)
Boundaries have never been so important!
As I sit around and discuss with parents the need for boundaries, I am no longer surprised at their shock when I share the many stories of teen girls getting pregnant by the best friend’s brother or losing their virginity on the living room couch, their parents in the next room. The young adults were not supervised because the parent’s trusted them, they were only supposed to be studying and the two young people had been friends forever and weren’t “like that” with one another.
Our young adults are not fully able to process rewards/consequences independently just yet. It’s science.
So what does that mean?
We cannot expect our young people to make decisions alone when their brains are not fully developed to understand the full ramifications of their actions. No one is saying they are mindless zombies (but sometimes I wonder). What I am saying is that they still needs hands-on parenting and that means us setting healthy boundaries.
3 Practical ways to help our children navigate their bodies and their brains:
- Install software that can protect their time online. I shared an article on my Parent Forum about the best apps to install on electronics. Porn is an issue, parents. 7 out of 10 youth accidentally come across the porn on the computer.
- Keep all electronics in the family area. I have a friend who does not allow any electronics in the bedrooms. PERIOD. At night, the phones and computers are put up and they don’t have access to them. Parents should periodically check their phones and search history. Just remember, trust is earned. It is not an entitlement like many believe.
- Don’t leave children unsupervised in the home. If you work, make it a rule that no one is over at the house until a guardian is home. If your teen has their girlfriend/boyfriend over, keep it social and make it a game night. If they watch movies, the lights stay on, blankets are not shared (trust me on this) and you know what they are watching before its watched. Kids 13-15 rank entertainment media as one of the main ways they learned about sex and those watching movies with high sexual content are twice as likely to engage in sexual intercourse. And I know this might sound excessive, but I don’t recommend you allowing them to be alone without some type of supervision. Public, high traffic areas are highly encouraged.
And I recommend you sitting down as a family and erecting such boundaries prior to needing them. I will be honest and say I am struggling to fix issues about electronic use in our home. I thought the sites we allowed were safe, bully free zones but now I’m having to go back and install apps to keep certain sites from being used. As innocent as my children are, they are still children in need of my supervision. Not everyone has the best interest for your children and more than anything, not every child using a computer is being monitored. Computer/phone use takes constant monitoring and because I don’t have that time, we have decided to eliminate its use in the home for this season. Later, as my youngest matures, we will revisit the topic.
Training takes action. It takes us, as the parents, stepping up and not only being willing to protect our children’s heart and souls, but acting on their behalf.
I hope you find some encouragement and practical guidance in this read. For a copy of my book, go to Amazon or my website. If you wish to be a part of the parent forum and receive newsletter just about the book, click the image below!