One of the unique and sometimes challenging things about today’s interconnected culture is that it allows tweens and teens to gather information and establish relationships beyond their immediate circle of home and school. It’s hard for us to monitor who our teens talk to when they’re poking at a cell phone keyboard. It’s even harder to build a connection with our kids when we’re constantly competing for their time and attention—even when they’re at home, alone, on the couch, or in their bedroom. Because they are so connected, peer influence is greater than ever before, and there are opinions and ideas flowing toward our kids all the time—some of which might not reflect our values or beliefs. On some levels, our parents had it a lot easier.
Our world was smaller back then (not so long ago). Our relationships were limited by time and geography, usually to those who had something fundamentally in common with us. We lived in the same neighborhoods. We had friends at school and church and through things like our sports teams, but when we went home, the external influences basically ceased, and our families became the center of our perspective.
Now, most parents will say that it’s hard to get teens to break away from their screens long enough to eat dinner. The word “friend” has come to mean a lot of different things. Your tween and teen may not have even met some of their “friends” in person, yet they are “together” every waking moment of the day (or as much as we allow them to be). And those friends, generally speaking, may expose your daughter or son to different ideas and lifestyles than we would have seen back in the limited time of landlines and passing notes in math class.
I wish there was a parent connectivity app that we could simply download to connect with our tweens and teens, but that is not the case. Instead, we need to be digitally savvy to engage in their world, and look for the opportunity to establish appropriate guidelines—not arbitrary rules to squash their fun and ruin their connections, but to offer important, up-to-date, realistic ways to handle their emerging sexual curiosity, unhealthy relationship choices, and casual sexual interactions. Let’s learn how to engage in their world!
|Peer and Pressure Proofing our Teens||Spring Break, Prom, Graduation, and Summer|
|Peer and Pressure Proofing our Teens|
|Spring Break, Prom, Graduation, and Summer|