Dear Friends, Especially parents and grandparents,
Dr. Kevin Leman spoke on a recent Focus on the Family radio broadcast about helping your middle school child, (aged 12-16), through this transitional period from early childhood to high school. He suggests parents focus on three important pillars he calls the “ABCs of parenting.”
1. The first letter is “A,” which means to make certain your child feels Accepted by you. Most children face judgment of some kind from fellow students every day at school. Everyone is either too tall or too short or has body parts that are too big or too small. That’s why the home must be a place of respite, of acceptance, and of true love.
2. “B” is for Belonging. Kids will do almost anything to fit in. That can be a scary thought for parents. Your child is growing up. Their hormones are emerging. Their body is changing at warp speed, and they’re taking notice of the opposite sex. Put all of those things together, and it’s combustible. But you can’t pull away from your middle schooler in the midst of all of that confusion. You have to step toward them, be present, and be engaged.
3. The “C” is for Competence. It’s really important that your children feel like they’re somebody. For some kids, it’s on the football field. For other kids, it’s in the classroom or their art class, or they can play an instrument well. Having someone who has their back and believes in them can transform their lives. Kids do best when they know their parent is their cheerleader. Focus on the Family radio, Dr. Kevin Lehman speaker http://jimdaly.focusonthefamily.com/what-your-middle-schooler-needs-from-you/?utm_source=nl_focusenews&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=338503&refcd=338503
Middle school aged children need careful guidance. They need very clear expectations from you; set them high. Be sure to tell your children that even if they make an unhealthy decision, that’s not going to compromise your love for them. Tell them you believe that they can and should avoid risks that could cause lifelong consequences. These early teen years should be a season where smaller mistakes can be made while being guided and nurtured.
Carefully choose your rules for teens; Insist on good personal hygiene, cleanliness, modesty and joining you in corporate worship rather than on their choices of costumes and hairstyles. Guide them in their choices of ‘screen’ time and music. Guard them by making rules about overnights and friends. Meet with their friends’ parents and know their families well before allowing lengthy visits or overnights. Make certain that they are getting the right amount of sleep and rest rather than pushing them to be over committed with activities you want to have them involved in.
‘Equipping Youth with Powerful Choices’ lessons assist parents in coping with this sometimes difficult period. Our Biblical Applications for this curriculum have been written for you. There are 10 lessons useful for parents to study with your teen. Please e-mail us for more information.
The majority of teens have not had sex, and those numbers have actually been moving in the right direction over the last two decades, … In fact, over the last 20 years, we have seen more than a 15 percent increase in the percentage of teens that are not having sex. …Current sex education classes put much more of an emphasis on normalizing sexual activity among teens, basically telling them, “Hey, it’s OK for you to experiment sexually. Just make sure that you are ‘careful,’ and don’t get pregnant, or cause a pregnancy.” (So ascend did a recent survey conducted by Barna), Among 18-19 year-old teens that have not had sex, we asked them what compelled them to wait. And interestingly enough, it wasn’t the fear of sexually transmitted disease, and it wasn’t a fear of becoming pregnant or getting someone pregnant. The top two reasons really should be encouraging to us. One was their own personal values and the second is they don’t want to just have casual sex. Teens want to make sure that when they have sex, it’s within the context of a committed relationship.
Ruskin, John: On Teens Making Wise Decisions About Sex, January 7, 2016, http://www.ncfamily.org/on-teens-making-wise-decision-about-sex/
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Thank you for caring, Ruth Anne Eccles, MSN for the volunteer staff and Directors of Equipping Youth