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I was finishing my back-to-school plans this past weekend and decided to take a peek into how I was doing with each of my kids’ sex education.

Hmmm. I think each one of them is due for more conversation time with mom and even as I consider it, I must confess....I sometimes feel nervous!

Now, how could the lady who constantly writes about this issue still feel uncomfortable, you may ask?

I would say for these 5 Reasons ....

1. Sex is a personal issue.

In our sex-saturated culture, I still believe this is true... and should be true! God designed the beauty of sex to be shared only with our spouse. So the sense of embarrassment we feel is only natural. But this should not stop us from talking to our kids!

2. I want my privacy.

I want my kids to know that sex within marriage is GREAT.... but at the same time, I value my personal privacy with my husband. This quandary can, unless I work through it, cause me to keep quiet.

3. I don't want to mess it up.

Sexual values and standards are such a big deal. At the thought of discussing them I feel “performance anxiety.” I want to do this right! And anytime something is making me nervous, I am more prone to procrastination.

4. I am worried that I will violate their innocence.

What would I do if my kids asked a question that I do not know how to answer for their age? What if I give them too much information too soon, or answer it in a way that violates their innocence? Those two questions used to paralyze me with fear.

5. I have to face my own failures from the past.

I am grateful to have arrived at the marriage altar a virgin. But that does not mean I did not make mistakes that I deeply regret! Who wants to hear from your own kids...."but Mom, you did...?" Facing bad memories is never fun. But those memories can either taunt us or motivate us, I figure.

As our kids grow and mature, Doug and I want to be the ones who take the personal effort to talk with our kids! We know it is a matter of life and death!

So....that is why I have learned to carry my anxieties to the Lord and make those conversations happen in spite of my 5 hindrances.

So how about you? Will you join me in updating your sex ed strategies this year?

Come back next time and we will talk about....

 

Sex Education: 8 keys to talking to your children...even if you are nervous!

Image:   Nomadic Lass “Planning” via Flickr Creative Commons
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Our kids are searching for their identity. Are you helping them form a healthy view of themselves? It's important!

Our children are under intense pressure.  Pressure to perform in school, pressure to live up to our standards, pressure to be “accepted” in their peer group.

They desperately need to sense that they are valued! 

As Christian parents we know that when life throws us a curve with its challenges and troubles, we are still valued by God

But do our children know how much WE value them? ...even when they mess up?

It is vitally important for us to understand…

Our children will gravitate toward those who value them.

Much has been written lately on young people who leave the faith after they leave home.  Often we blame it on the state of our culture when a principle root of the problem is that our children are not valued for who they are! 

What a joy it is to remember the words of Jesus…

Luke 12:24 "Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; and they have no storeroom nor barn; and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!

So… here is our helpful conversation # 5: "Son/daughter, you are valuable to me and to God!

Here are some helpful tools as you prepare for that conversation:

1. Pray and do a quick assessment. Do our children really know that:

  1. We love and value them not just for what they do, but who they are?
  2. We value the gifts and desires in them even when they do not exactly match up with our expectations for them?
  3. Even when they come up short, we treasure them and believe in them?
  4. When they are struggling with difficult issues, we TRULY care and will invest our time to be there to help them through?
  5. Of all the demands of life and daily duties they are more important to us than these other things?

2. Robert Lewis, the founder of “Men's Fraternity,” effectively communicates that our children are handicapped when they do not sense that they are valued by their parents.  I heard him emphasize that our children need to hear these three things (often) from their father and mother. You can use these phrases to help build your conversation.

  1. I love you
  2. I am proud of you
  3. You are very good at ___________.  (Fill in the blank)

3. Passing on a vibrant spiritual legacy to our children is one of our highest callings.  Being successful at this depends a great deal on keeping a HEART connection with them.  For more insight on this critical issue see my book, "Stick - Making the Handoff to the Next Generation." In this book, I outline 5 very effective tools.

As your children begin school this year, go ahead and stock them up on pencils, paper, laptops, and lunch boxes.  But do not forget that more important than these is that they begin the year with a deep sense in their hearts that both their parents and their God consider them highly valuable.

Image:  Marcos de Madariaga “Amar es encontrar en la felicidad de otro tu propia felicidad.” via Flickr Creative Commons
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 Parent/Child Conversations to Have before School Starts: #1

 

 

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Conversation #2 To Have before School Starts: Lawlessness and The Great Falling Away

 

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Conversation #3: The Circle of Friends

 

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Mind Control, Propaganda, and Brainwashing: Parent/Child Conversations # 4

 

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Do our kids understand that their MINDS are being infiltrated ...constantly? Do they understand how to guard their minds from false reasonings and dangerous ideologies?

My own answer to these questions would have to be a resounding "NO!" They cannot possibly totally get it.  

They are the children—the protégés. They are not the mentors. And they have limited life experience.

That is why it is so important for us to teach them to think about what they are thinking about. They need to understand how brainwashing, propaganda, and mind control work.

And they need to understand how it is hard even for us adults to figure out the line between education and indoctrination.

We must teach our children to be thinkers...not just memorizers and imitators.

So as the new school year is getting started, let's pull out this topic as families and look at it. It could very well set the stage for many fruitful discussions around the dinner table.

Here are your tools. Some of these are so good, you may want to use them throughout the school year!

Here Are Your Tools:

- 10 Modern Methods of Mind Control

- Bible Verses on Renewing Your Mind (Here is a great scripture list. Consider using a second translation to look at for comparison.)

- 5 Propaganda Techniques

- The Fallacy Detective (Great training book!)

Addedum

We love it when we hear from our readers!

When we posted this article a little while ago, we got an immediate concern raised about one of our links. The link to 10 Modern Methods of Mind Control is not our attempt to align ourselves with everything they are saying, but rather to provide a "peak in" to the many controversies surrounding this issue.   

All of us today will need to deal with the question of appropriate leadership that avoids manipulation and coercion. the lines can be very tricky. Our kids could even be told that we are brainwashing them into Christianity!   

Opening our family to a discussion with this issue and wrestling with this question through the scripture list we gave you "Bible Verses on Renewing Your Mind" is a prudent response.  

I appreciate the concern raised to this issue because I do not buy in to the cultural myth that appropriate parental discipleship is manipulation. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 makes this very clear. 

Perhaps this conversation is even trickier than I first thought! So please feel free to share your thoughts as you consider this important issue.   

If you have any good resources about this topic please send them our way!   Email Frontline Families.

 

Image: Daniela Hartmann “Do you find my brain?" via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

 Related posts:

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Parent/Child Conversations to Have before School Starts: #1

 

 

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Conversation #2 To Have before School Starts: Lawlessness and The Great Falling Away

 

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Conversation #3: The Circle of Friends

 

Your kids' friends will shape who they become. How do we helpsoccer friends 11275093783_aa1a0dee7e them choose wisely?

How about finding a way to turn a negative into a positive?!  

As parents we are always concerned about the problem of peer pressure. For good reason.

We know what the scripture says (i.e. bad company corrupts good morals. 1 Corinthians 15:33) , and we know what happened in our own lives (i.e. we either got caught up in the wrong crowd or watched others get shipwrecked.)

But our kids will often say....

"But Mom, he is my friend!"

 It is entirely age appropriate and necessary for our children to form friendships and learn to build relationships. The problem is they are inexperienced in the process and prone to naive errors.

So .....here is our helpful conversation #3: We must teach them about the concept of the levels of friendships. Who can we borrow some expert knowledge from to help us with this task? Interestingly enough, a casual Google search proves that "levels of relationship" is a concept talked about by everyone from the marketing world to the  ministry world. I suppose everyone has their own theories and terms.

For me, a simple bull’s eye chart makes a lot of sense. Of course, it is very difficult to get all relationships to neatly fall on the classification chart, but I think you can get the idea. By way of discussion, let’s say there are 5 levels of friendships and we use these labels:

1. Casual friend
2. Good friend
3. Confidant friend
4. Mentor
5. Jesus

You may like other labels better, but pick one set and run with it. Then help your kids correctly identify the characteristics of each level and who is currently in each level of friendship. This is highly diagnostic as you check their ability to discern!

Here Are Your Tools:

 - 20 Bible Verses on Friendship

- 5 Levels of Friends Article

Facebook Friends vs. Real Friends - Podcast

- When Teens Are Lost - Podcast

- Stages of Friendship

Be prepared. They won't "get it" without your help. They will need your wise counsel to help them draw correct guidelines as they learn to manage their own relationships.

I am personally not a fan of the BFF concept, as I think it causes so much confusion and pain. Can you see a way to mature that image in their mind using this chart? And while you are at it, help them to place online friends on the chart.

We all know that friends enter and exit our lives as seasons of life change. But kids do not know this. Help them to understand that when friends leave or seasons change, it does not define them.

And here is a big one: I truly believe that siblings and parents belong on this friend chart.

Parents are to be the closest of mentors.  And as some of my children have grown and launched, they are discovering that siblings are for life (level 3)....while friends move on.

How can you help your children cultivate healthy confidant-level friendships with their siblings this school year even as they may meet other new friends?

Sincerely,

Lisa Cherry

Send us your response to this conversation and be watching for "Conversation #4" in your inbox tomorrow!

Image: “blue brothers” woodleywonderworks via Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

We just finished our summer tour and are finalizing our fall & spring tour schedule! If you are interested in having Frontline Family Ministries come to your church, school, or event please call Lucas Cherry at 618-525-0002 or email him at Lucas@FrontlineFamilies.com. Here is a link to our speaker packet: SPEAKER PACKET

Feet beach 

It was one day from my beach vantage point that I began contemplating how each of my kids will be entering into a new season this fall…

…simply because they are one year older.

I am keenly aware that back to school time is almost here.

In one sense that is exciting, but I must admit I have loved the opportunity for more relaxed days that allowed me to breathe easier and look at life from some new perspectives.

It was in this pondering posture that I asked myself a question:

"Lisa, what intentional conversations do you need to have with each of your kids as we turn into the new season?"

Many thoughts hit my mind, but five common themes rose to the top of my list.

Please note that as I share these topics you might be tempted to say to yourself, "Lisa, I have already had that talk."

Over the years I have learned an important truth: We parents think we "covered it" but our kids often say they don't remember!

I used to think that was because of selective amnesia. But actually I think it is more because of the phenomenon of growth. They hear a topic at one age....but they need it updated at the next age!

Here is my first of 5 today. As you ponder how to address this issue with each of your kids, I will share with you some thoughts and tools.

And then would you do me a favor? Would you comment back to us about how your conversation went? We can all grow when we share our collective experiences!

Conversation #1: Pornography

Here are some facts about porn:

*The average age of first exposure is 9 or 11, depending on which study you cite.

*Pornographic images in an adolescent brain are considered more addictive than many drugs.

*Nearly 9 out of 10 college age men and one third of college age women report using pornography.

 I am not an expert on this  topic.  So I am going to lean on some friends of mine who have taught me a lot.

Here are your tools:

Free E-Book: Your Brain on Porn

5 Mistakes Parents Make When It Comes to Talking About Porn

When your child is looking at porn

Caution: don’t think you can ignore this topic.  You may think you can insulate your child from porn. I have spoken with many Christian parents who were shocked to find their child was deeply mired in porn use. Even highly alert parents have wept telling how they intended to shield their children from this. 

I challenge you to have another talk with your kids about porn now.

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