Hear Gear: Listen Well

005075230_2010-10_l.jpgIn the October issue of ParentLife, Tonya Grant’s article "Innocence Lost: Movies, TV, and Preteens" provides tools for navigating the tricky world of media choices. Tonya gave us a few extra questions for the blog to help you get your preteen talking about media choices and peer influence.

  • Is it possible to be liked by everyone? (Role-play some examples.)
  • How is this (activity/friend/pursuit) going to make you a stronger person? Are there any ways it could hurt you now or later?
  • Will the group still like you if you choose not to participate? If not, how will you handle that? If not, what does that say about the group?
  • When did this (person/form of media) start getting popular? Has it always been popular? Do you think it may one day not be popular anymore?
  • Tell me some reasons you like this (song, style, movie).
  • What do you know about the example this (music group, actor, person at school/church) sets? Do you aspire to act like that or have a similar reputation?
  • Do you think I would allow this star to babysit (you or younger children)? Why (not)?
  • Do you think how this person acts is okay? Why (not)? What do you think are the long-term effects of choices, behaviors, and lifestyles like this?
  • What do you think Jesus might say if He was sitting down having a conversation with this person you admire?
  • Have you read any reviews about this movie? (Direct your child to pluggedin.com; read and discuss the information presented there.)
  • How do you feel when I tell you “no” about this, but your friends are allowed to participate in it? What would make you more willing to feel that way?
  • Is this person’s main message in agreement, opposed to, or neutral about our Christian values? How can media that is strongly opposite our values affect our thinking?
  • How do you want to be remembered?

Initiating conversations like these will not only guide your teen in his decisions, it will also help your know his heart better. Be open to having your mind changed as well; but remember, you are the parent. You have the right to lay down the law in your home.

What topics have you struggled with when it comes to talk to your teens and preteens?

Related articles that might be helpful to you:

Preteens and Dating Terms
Preteens and Porn: What I Wish I Had Known
Listening to Our Kids


Conversation Please!

Couples not getting along, workplace strife, children whining. Have you noticed that the root cause of many problems is lack of communication? We can never spend enough time practicing our listening and speaking skills at work, church, or home. The problem is that we have gotten so busy that we don’t have time to sit down and talk when we are rushing from event to event. I will be the first one to admit I am too busy. Unfortunately busyness can cause us to miss out on one of the best parts of parenting — sitting together and talking with our kids.

34_FamilyTalking.jpgWhether we are teaching our children some of his first words, asking about his school day at dinner, or having “The Talk” about the birds and the bees, talking with our kids is so important. I am at the stage in parenting where my children ask lots of questions — about everything — to the point where it can be tiring! But I am careful to answer questions because I know that the time will soon come when my children will hit those teenage years and be more reserved.

Yesterday Christopher and I talked for nearly two hours while we watched Jonathan play in a baseball game. We talked about everything from baseball to silly April Fool’s Day jokes, but it was precious time together.

In the “Parenting Matters” editorial for the April 2009 issue of ParentLife, I talk about other great times we talk together as a family.

What are some of the great conversations you have had with your kids? Do they surprise you at the insights they have and the questions they ask? Post a comment and let us hear from you!