Raising Bully-Proof Children

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A friend of mine (a mom I met at a GOV event) has a dear 12 year old boy who stole my heart the first time I met him. He has dimples when he smiles, is rarely at a loss for something funny to say, cannot contain his energy, and genuinely cares for other people. I am convinced he is going to grow up to be a mighty man of God. But a while back he told me he was being bullied at school and that all of his friends tease him constantly. I watched the pain flicker across his face when he admitted this to me. I think the reason it’s so painful for him is because, like I mentioned, he is a genuinely caring person who makes an effort to help other people feel comfortable. He’s not perfect, but the fact that other kids could go out of their way to make him feel bad is probably baffling to him.

“Why would anyone purposefully be mean to you?” I thought as my friend’s son disclosed this information. I think this is the question most parents ask when they realize their child is being bullied. No one knows the exact answer to why kids pick on each other (sometimes to the point of serious damage), but one thing is certain: bullying is not about a flesh and blood battle. Especially when it comes to bullying, we need to keep in mind Ephesians 6:12:

“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

What Ephesians 6:12 says should comfort us. Because the good news is, mom and dad, there is a lot you can do in the spiritual realm to help your child affected by a bully. This is where you can roll your sleeves up and DO something.

I’d like to propose a tactic parents can use to respond in the opposite spirit of bullying. It’s so simple you can do it with your child before he or she leaves for school or meets the bully at the playground. You ready for it? It’s speaking and praying words of blessing over your kids. It sounds simple, right? Yet it can have a profound effect. If kids know the truth about who they are in Christ, they won’t believe the lies other people say (implicitly or explicitly) about them. They won’t listen to Jill or Jimmy when they say things like “You’re stupid” or assume they are unworthy of friendship when they’re given the cold shoulder on the playground. Instead, they’ll remember the scriptures you read about them and who they are. They’ll remember your words of blessing spoken in love, and they’ll choose to believe those words instead of the negative ones coming from their peers.

Here is a list of scriptures to get you started. For more ideas an practical tips for blessing your kids, please check out Project Blessing. I think you’ll find incorporating scripture into your prayers for your children gets easier the more you practice. My suggestion is to pick a few key verses that speak most specifically to your child’s situation and start by praying those over him or her.

Scriptures about a person’s identity in Christ (AKA: who they are, really):

  • I am made in God’s image (Gen 1:27)
  • I am God’s child (Galatians 3:26)
  • Jesus loves me (John 15:9)
  • I am Jesus’ friend (John 15:15)
  • I will bear fruit for Christ (John 15:16)
  • The Lord delights in me (Psalm 149:4)
  • I am accepted into the body of Christ (Eph. 1:6)
  • God is not partial. He loves me just as much as He loves anyone else (Acts 10:34)
  • I have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16)
  • God is willing to forgive me (1 John 1:9)
  • My first priority is to please God, not other people (1 Thessalonians 2:4)
  • I am not condemned (Romans 8:1)
  • I don’t need to be afraid because God is with me (Isaiah 41:10)
  • God will never leave me or forsake me (Deut. 31:6)
  • I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  • The Lord is my defender (Psalm 18:2)

Here is an example of how you can incorporate scripture into a prayer of blessing for your child being bullied:

Dear Lord, I pray your blood and hand of protection over (child’s name) heart, mind, and body today. Lord, I pray you would cause (child’s name) to know who he/she is in you and what you say about him/her. (Child’s name) is your child, Lord (Galatians 3:26), and he/she is very precious to you. You have made (child’s name) to have your mind (1 Cor. 2:16); you have made (child’s name) in your image (Gen. 1:27); and you are very proud of the man/woman (child’s name) is growing into. I pray you would help (child’s name) to feel your presence as he/she goes to school and interacts with the other children there. I ask you to help (child’s name) build good, healthy friendships that please you, Lord. Please protect (child’s name) if any negative words are spoken or actions taken toward him/her. I pray that you would help (child’s name) refuse to believe any lies from the enemy but choose instead to believe your word and what it says. I thank you, Lord, for sending (child’s name) to our family. We are blessed by (child’s name)’s presence. We’re so thankful for him/her. Lord, your word says you will never leave or forsake us (Deut. 31:6), so I ask you please send your Holy Spirit with (child’s name) as he/she goes to school. In Jesus’ name, Amen

Click here for the printable version of this prayer and the verses.

It’s quick, it’s simple, and it is guaranteed to have a positive effect (Isaiah 55:11).

It’s a good idea to let your child read these scriptures (or read them to him/her) if they tell you of a bullying problem. Having your child read the scripture will show him or her that the things you are asking for in Jesus’ name are things we are instructed to ask for. It will also build their faith in God and help them to see how the Bible applies to our daily lives.

Another idea is to pray for God’s protection over your child while he or she is at school. Perhaps you know the hour your son or daughter shares a class with the bully. You could set an alarm to remind yourself to pray during this time. Another idea is to leave hand-written notes to your child in places where he or she will find them at school, like inside a pencil box, lunch bag, notebook, etc. These notes could include some of the scripture you prayed over him or her before leaving for school. They could also be quick notes of encouragement that say things like “Mom loves you!” “You are my favorite 8 year old!” “I can’t wait to see you when I get home!” “I hope you’re having a good day. I love you!”. My mom did this for me when I was going to school. What a bright note those were in the middle of an otherwise mundane or hard day!

The bottom line, mom and dad, is you want to counteract the negative messages your kids are receiving with positive messages. And if those positive messages come from scripture, they will have even more punch.

May the Lord equip you as you undergo this spiritual battle.

– Megan Briggs

Megan joined the Generations of Virtue team to become the Product Manager, a position which keeps her busy researching, reading resources, managing inventory and speaking to young people.

The Supreme Court Ruling: 3 Ways Parents Can Respond

KeepCalm-1If you’ve seen any of the articles online about the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, you’ve probably sensed the issue is emotionally charged. People are so happy. And others are so mad. This is a critical time for the church and for Christian parents. What should we do in light of this ruling? Things are getting confusing. We’ve put our heads together at Generations of Virtue to give 3 ways parents can respond and help their children navigate this confusing time.

1. Talk to your kids about homosexuality. If you haven’t explained homosexuality to your children and they are at an age where they are starting to key into all the hype in the media (and possibly among their peer groups), now is the time. This is your opportunity to communicate what God’s word says about homosexuality. Our kids need to hear the truth from God’s word about this lifestyle. Some key verses to start with include Leviticus 18:22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-28. Another point you might consider making with your children is that even though the Supreme Court made the choice to legalize gay marriage, it does not mean that this was the right choice. It’s an unfortunate truth we have to share with our children, but governments and rulers don’t always make the right choices (shocking, I know). Finally, tell your children the truth about the differences between men and women and why God designed a family to be a man, a woman, and children. (I’ll list some resources below to help with this discussion). It helps children to know this truth from a young age given all the press in our media trying to convince them of the virtues of alternative lifestyles.

2. Show your children how to show the love of Christ to gay people. We should take a lot of comfort in the fact that it’s not our job to judge people. When I was in university, I took a job where my immediate superior was another student who identified himself as a homosexual. I asked the Lord how I should interact with my new boss. He told me to be his friend and to respect the authority of his position. I did that. I became his friend and we got along wonderfully. The truth was, he was really good at his job, and it was easy to follow his lead because he was doing a great job. I don’t think we should be afraid of befriending homosexuals or teaching our children how to befriend them in healthy and beneficial ways. It’s true that we need to approach friendships carefully (whether they be with homosexuals or heterosexuals) and who we allow to spend time (especially time alone) with our kids. This is a topic for spouses to discuss. But please don’t let fear steal a chance to show a homosexual Christ’s love. The truth is, homosexuals are hurting people who need the truth of the Gospel. They are living a lifestyle of sexual immorality – the consequences of which are devastating. At the same time, I know many heterosexual Christians who are living in a similar state of sexual immorality. And as the church we embrace them.

3. Don’t be intimidated. Like I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of emotional hype in the media right now concerning this decision. Don’t let it take you for a ride. Keep calm and parent on. The truth is, God is on His throne and He still calls the shots. A couple months ago I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Michael Brown speak in Singapore. He had a great insight about the LGBT agenda in the U.S. As a way of paraphrase, he said we shouldn’t fear the separation that will come between the people who interpret the scripture (about homosexuality) through the lens of culture and those who will follow God’s word in spirit and in truth. There is some separation happening in the church right now. Which side do you want your family to end up on? Finally, don’t let the enemy intimidate you by the Supreme Court’s decision. Instead of responding in fear, take this opportunity to ask the Lord how to respond. And finally, speak to your children. Help them to know the truth of God’s word and what He has to say about homosexuality. Let them know the truth and let the truth set them free from all the confusion encapsulating this issue. To quote Rick Warren, “truth, is still truth, no matter how many people doubt it. I may deny the law of gravity, but it doesn’t change gravity. And just because we break God’s laws, does not invalidate them.” Don’t be afraid to share the truth with your kids. Kingdoms will fall and rulings will be forgotten, but the word of God will stand.

One final thought: be prayerful as you address this issue with your children. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and answers. Ask Him how your family should respond to this ruling.

Below I’ve listed some articles and books I’ve found really helpful in discussing the issue of homosexuality in light of our current culture. I hope you find them helpful!

Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage by Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet
God’s Design for Sex Series by Stan and Brenna Jones (Book 3 – What’s the Big Deal – has a chapter specifically about homosexuality)
Focus on the Family’s How to Talk to Your Kids about Homosexuality
Interview with John Stonestreet webinar by Generations of Virtue
Short video with Dr. Michael Brown explaining the context of the Levitical scriptures

– Megan Briggs

Megan joined the Generations of Virtue team to become the Product Manager, a position which keeps her busy researching, reading resources, managing inventory and speaking to young people.

Jenner, Gender, and What Parents Can Do

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Parents – there is good news! Amidst the headlines, trending articles, controversy, and hashtags you have an opportunity to equip your kids for the very real issues they may have to face in culture. We don’t have to take Bruce’s advice and “just call me Caitlyn”. Let’s go a step further.

It is evident by so many headlines in our culture today that merely looking good on the outside will not keep sin at bay. Going to church or having 19 kids will not guarantee healthy families. But before we get off-topic, let’s take a look at 3 ways you can use the Bruce Jenner situation to your advantage.

1. Define

The power of a word lies in its definition.

With all the various opinions being expressed, sometimes we are all at risk of losing sight of the original definition of male or female. Words like “gender” get thrown around so much we begin to assume you can choose it like you choose a necklace. That your “sexual orientation” is merely a matter of choice and the results of that choice are no more than a label on a bathroom door.

It says in the beginning that God created man and woman and it was good. Contrary to Facebook, there are not 58 genders to choose from. And actually – gender isn’t a matter of choice. We are created, knit together as either a male or female and God says “It is good.” Use this opportunity to explain words like gender to your young children. Address the classic questions like “Why are boys and girls different?” by giving clear definitions and age-appropriate explanations. A great resource for this is the God’s Design For Sex series which has different books to help you discuss this at various ages. (Bonus: Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book explains how gender is not just a matter of genitalia. Males and females actually have different brain functions. Check it out here.)

2. Affirm
As adults we are well aware of the crazy amount of messages just in advertising telling you “you’re not right”. It is safe to assume that anything that gets this much press and media coverage has multiple agendas backing it up. One of those agendas is to create confusion in our children’s identity. Confusion and lack of self-esteem can be a breeding ground for suicide, drugs, and other high risk behaviors.

During a recent informal survey our team conducted, we found the top lie believed by youth was either “I’m too _______” or “I’m not _______ enough”. When a wave comes through our culture offering true happiness by changing the very fabric of our created being, it is time to get back to truth.

Affirming the gender of our children is such an important part of building their self-esteem. According to Psychology Today, self-esteem will actually drop at various ages throughout our child’s life. However, there is good news:

[Self-esteem’s] existence and utility is inferred through actions and expressions considered evidence of its presence.

Which means you can practically build your child’s self-esteem! As someone who sees your child on a regular basis, use your opportunity to build self-esteem into his/her life. The value your child places in their male or femaleness is one of the contributing factors in them growing into a strong man or woman of God.

This doesn’t have to be awkward or obvious. When you see your sons doing something to be considered “manly”, affirm that. When you find your daughter doing something considered “feminine”, affirm that. These affirmations can be as simple as “You’re such a gentleman!” when you son holds the door for someone else, or “You look beautiful” to your daughter when she’s all dressed and ready for school. For more practical ideas on helping our children survive the gender blender check out Secure Daughters, Confident Sons.

3. Educate
The gender identity crisis is not going away. In fact, just last month the headlines also included this gem: “NHS to give sex change drugs to nine-year-olds”. As parents, your job is not just to bring up your children and protect them from dangerous lies of the enemy, but also to equip them to stand strong for the truth. This education has to go deeper than “because I said so” or “you’ll understand when you’re older”. Now is the time, whether your child is 2 or 12, to step up to the plate. Commit to learn for both of your sakes.

Here are some more excellent resources for parents:

Secure Daughters, Confident Sons
Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage
Why Boys and Girls Are Different
Who Switched Off Your Brain? Solving the Mystery of He Said/She Said

Lastly, the challenge I would leave you with is to help your kids love. People who have identified themselves as transgender (or any other alternative gender) are no less God’s children. Teach your children to be ambassadors of God’s love. Keeping in mind that loving someone does not mean blindly accepting them or having them be alone with your children. But don’t treat them as “less than” just because they are different than you. We all need grace.

-Courtney Alberson

Courtney is Generation of Virtue’s lead solutions specialist. Which is a fancy way of saying she handles the team’s many IT needs and spends a lot of time in Photoshop. When she’s not finding solutions to problems, Courtney enjoys communicating God’s truth about love and relationships to teenagers and…drinking coffee.

Parenting, Perseverance and Porn

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If there is one virtue parents need when they decide to help their children pursue a lifestyle of purity, it is perseverance.

Recently a parent confided that despite her best efforts to keep her child away from pornography (teaching about the harmful effects, installing filtering software, being careful with media choices, etc.), she discovered her child had in fact searched for it. Thankfully, this parent had monitoring software installed on her child’s device, so she was able to tell quickly after the incident happened, what had actually happened. (For a good monitoring software, please check out our top pick: Covenant Eyes)

This parent was wise in her reaction. She didn’t respond in anger or shock, but waited a little while until she could calmly talk to her child about it. As she recounted the story, she was visibly upset. And rightfully so. It’s so traumatizing to know your child has searched out porn. It is shocking and very sad. It can make you feel like you have failed. Especially if you were taking steps to prevent this occurrence.

The temptation is to throw in the towel and say “well, I guess it didn’t work”. Please don’t do this, mom and dad. This would essentially be communicating to your son or daughter that he or she is not worth fighting for. It would also reinforce the myth that pornography addiction is not something you can overcome. Your kids need you to fight for them. They need you to roll with the punches and get back up when failure comes. They need you to remind them that there is nothing Christ has not forgiven and there is nothing that He did not overcome. And this ability to overcome He gives to us, too. Your kids need you to have relentless hope for them. They need you to pray for them and believe the best for them even when they can’t believe it themselves.

Perseverance is an essential element of relentless hope. When you hope for the very best for your kids, you start thinking that despite all the circumstances, despite what I see, despite all the evidence stacked up against me and my children, I choose to believe that we can pursue God’s holiness. We can seek to be like Him. We can overcome everything that is causing us to stumble. We can do this because of the blood of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

There is a promise in scripture I encourage you to pray over your situation if you find yourself struggling to persevere. Galatians 6:9 says “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”

I pray the Lord blesses you and keeps you and helps you to persevere as you raise your children. I am convinced you will reap a very great harvest if you don’t give up.

– Megan Briggs

Megan joined the Generations of Virtue team to become the Product Manager, a position which keeps her busy researching, reading resources, managing inventory and speaking to young people.

4 Steps To Equip Your Tween Against Bullying

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Recently our team conducted a session for 11-14 year olds and spent a section specifically addressing online bullying. Unfortunately this issue has become even more rampant since the wave of seemingly “consequentless anonymizers” like Snapchat have taken center stage.

In today’s anonymous world youth are encouraged to dissociate themselves with negative behavior and instead cling to their anonymous label that grants them access to the “waves of culture”. Instead of strength of character we see a growing epidemic of mean behavior amongst those that should be brothers and sisters. We’d like to share a few practical steps you can share with your tween to help them in bullying situations.

Step In

Oftentimes adults are somewhat in the dark about how prevalent this issue is in their tween or teen’s world. Step one to combat this is to step in to their world. The easiest way into the world of tweens is by connecting with your child in familiar non-threatening conversations. These conversations can be started with simple questions like “Who is your favorite person at school?” or “Who is the most popular?” Make an effort as these conversations progress to take note of your child’s reactions and responses. Even jot down the names they mention on your phone. It will mean a lot to your child when you are able to follow up and ask how their peers are by name and not just description.

Parents’ reactions to difficult situations will shape the way our kids relate their world to us. Kids often feel that they exist within two or more “worlds” and do their best to maintain a positive atmosphere in all of them. There is the school world, home world, and various game or online worlds that add to this. As a parent you need to be willing to step out into their other worlds. That may mean sitting in on a gaming session, asking for a tour of their Facebook or WhatsApp, or visiting them for lunch at school (if appropriate). Do whatever you need to in order to better understand where they live day to day.

Step Back

Try to always remember the old saying “hurt people hurt people”. It seems simple enough, but it is imperative to remember that the one hurting others is usually trying to cover their own wounds. By jumping into a situation too quickly you can re-victimize the participants and thus get yourself excommunicated from their world quite quickly. Remember to keep your cool in these situations and make a concentrated effort to examine the situation from an unbiased perspective. Lastly, be sure to involve leadership that knows both parties well in the conflict resolution stage.

Step Up

Tweens especially are in a time of transition. Amongst their peers many social roles are established simply by who is willing to step up. Encourage your children in leadership roles that compliment their personality. One of the slogans we use with the teens is “Don’t be afraid – be a friend”. This may be a good memory verse to share with your child if they find themselves involved in a bullying situation where they need to step up:

Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Step Over (not on)

Once I saw a video on a nature channel about a mother bear and her cubs. I vividly remember the look in the mother’s eyes and body language when she realized the camera crew was stepping closer to her cubs. She had been grazing behind them comfortably, but seeing the possible danger she moved to step over her cubs and re-situate herself between them and the camera man. If you notice your child is the target of bullies, don’t be afraid to step between them and the bully to bring balance and protection to the situation.

“Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

This definition by Albert Einstein of insanity could easily be applied in this arena as well. We cannot continue moving in the same direction and stay in the same patterns but expect things to change. Sit down with your spouse and then with your tween and figure out as a team what steps you all need to take regarding your specific situation. Step one should always be to our knees in prayer as we seek first the Kingdom.

-Courtney Alberson

Courtney is Generation of Virtue’s lead solutions specialist. Which is a fancy way of saying she handles the team’s many IT needs and spends a lot of time in Photoshop. When she’s not finding solutions to problems, Courtney enjoys communicating God’s truth about love and relationships to teenagers and…drinking coffee.

 

 

SEX ED FOR SINGLE MOMS

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I recently received this testimony about Passport 2 Purity (P2P) from a mom who attended one of my parenting sessions. It was so good I had to share! I sincerely admire this mom who is determined to share the truth with her son, despite the difficulties of being a single mom. Way to go, mom!

I came across the P2P kit when I attended a Generations of Virtue parenting talk in March 2014.  As a single mom, I was fretting about how to have The Conversation with my son (then 14 years old), and thought that P2P would be a good tool.

When I opened the kit, I was overwhelmed by the planning and preparation that was required! I thought to myself – “it’s too much work.  I don’t think I can find a suitable destination or a fun activity that would fit the purpose.”

Nonetheless, I took time to read through the notes not once, not twice, but several times – digesting it, thinking about it.  Specifically, I prayed to God to help me plan for this, to show me how to do this, and to prepare our hearts for this.  Slowly, a plan took form.

I decided not to follow strictly to the schedule recommended.  Instead, I planned it into our family vacation to Gold Coast, Australia in June 2014.  It was significant as it was the first time he and I were going on a vacation, just the two of us. Until then, vacations were always with friends or the extended family. It was also his 14th birthday present.

I gathered the materials needed for the activities and packed them into the luggage, without him knowing.  The audio tracks were downloaded into my phone for easy playback, along with headphones.

We did our first session on the flight out to Gold Coast.  The rest of sessions in the evenings were spread out over the next six days – usually in the evenings, when we are back from the day’s activities.  Being away really helped as it took us away from our daily routines and distractions.  Both of us were relaxed, enjoying ourselves tremendously and not worrying about chores/schoolwork.

There were some awkward moments (at least for me), when instructions were given to “talk with your dad” and during topics of physical changes/masturbation.  However, these moments passed quickly.  The main benefit of P2P was that it provided a clear, structured framework to discuss the various issues relating to puberty, sexual purity and dating.  The questions provided a great start to otherwise awkward conversations.

At the end of it, it was not just my son who benefited from it.  I too gained a deeper understanding of my teenage son. I feel P2P has also brought us closer. My son is not shy to come to me with issues or concerns he is having about his growing up, how he relates to his peers, even how to start a conversation with a girl!

 In fact, I’m planning to do a “refresher” course with him this year, focusing on setting boundaries, and dating. 

Julie Hiramine

Julie Hiramine is a mom, author, and the founder and executive director of the ministry Generations of Virtue. As an internationally noted speaker, she has ministered in many nations to thousands of parents, teens, and young people. Julie believes the key to turning the tide of an immoral culture is to equip parents to empower their children to be pure.

One of Julie’s main inspirations (besides the Lord’s calling, of course!) is her own children. In fact, the ministry of Generations of Virtue came about largely through Julie’s prayers for a strategy she could use with her own children. Julie and Kay have 5 children, whom they have homeschooled and taken along on numerous ministry trips around the U.S. and overseas. When not ministering, one of Kay and Julie’s favorite activities is cooking gourmet meals (much to the delight of the Generations of Virtue team). The Hiramine family lives in Colorado and western New York when they are not on the road.

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4 Things to Keep Your Teen Safe during Party Season

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When I was a teenager, my parents told me “It’s not that we don’t trust you, it’s that we don’t trust everyone else” whenever they put some kind of curfew or driving moratorium on me. This happened like clockwork on certain nights of the year: New Year’s, 4th of July, Christmas Eve. They were serious about those curfews! They didn’t want me out on the road late on a public holiday. And with good reason: Drunk drivers usually owned the roads on those nights.

At the time, I felt their curfews and rules were lame. Really, really lame. But now that I am older, I see the love and care behind their rules and all their concern.

My parents were very strategic in talking to me about what I would be doing, how to respond in certain situations, and what to do if ever I found myself in trouble. In light of end-of-school-year-party-season, I’d like to share some of the conversation points to use as your own teenagers head off to parties or friends’ houses:

First, start with some questions:

  1. Where are you going? (It’s ok to ask for an address of a friend’s house, the name of the restaurant, etc. Have your teen tell you all the details.)
  2. When are you leaving and when do you plan on being back? (Obviously if you have set a curfew for the night, you will need to communicate this very clearly).
  3. How are you getting there and getting home? Will you be driving to different locations? If so, who will be driving? (This was my parents’ FAVORITE question. Sigh)
  4. Who is going to be with you?
  5. What will you be doing?
  6. Do you have any concerns about the evening?

Secondly, set some guidelines for how your teen can respond if a situation takes him/her by surprise. Some strategies to go over include:

  • What to do if alcohol is involved
  • What to do if you feel unsafe when someone else is driving
  • How to suggest different activities if the ones offered are inappropriate or make you feel uncomfortable
  • What to do if someone pushes your physical boundaries (This, hopefully, has been preceded by a discussion about what your teen’s physical boundaries are. If this discussion hasn’t taken place yet, Mom and Dad, there’s no time like the present.)
  • Have an escape plan (This is a good time to tell your son/daughter if they ever need you to come get them, you will.)

Thirdly, set some clear expectations about what you require your teen to do. You might consider the following (again, taking a cue from my parents):

  • I expect you to call or text me when you arrive at the party, letting me know you got there safely
  • Please communicate any change of plans with me
  • Please provide the mobile number of a friend or parent who will be with you, just in case something happens to your phone
  • Please send me an all’s well text a couple hours after you get there
  • Don’t be afraid to tell me something is wrong. I’d rather you call me over a false alarm than feel like you can’t call and get into a dangerous situation.
  • Let me know when you are on your way home

*I should note that my parents threatened to show up at the party if I failed to tell them I arrived safely, or if I didn’t send the all’s well text halfway through, etc. That threat alone helped me to remember all the steps!

Finally, pray for your teen before he or she heads off. Ask for God’s protection and for a really good, positive time. Remind your teens that sometimes situations come up where you have to be the “odd one out” and do something different than everyone else. It’s ok, really. They might feel ashamed or uncomfortable if they have to do something like that, but they’ll be glad they did later. Let your son or daughter know that you trust him/her to make the right decisions. Your confidence in your children will communicate a lot to them and could potentially give them the courage and motivation needed to make a good choice in a sticky situation.

– Megan Briggs

Megan joined the Generations of Virtue team to become the Product Manager, a position which keeps her busy researching, reading resources, managing inventory and speaking to young people.