Time for “The Talk” – Biblical and Practical Advise

I recently discovered a gem in the world of parenting in a new work called Time for the Talk – Leading Your Son Into True Manhood. I cannot recommend this resource enough for fathers seeking to raise godly sons in a world that distorts true biblical sexuality.  Time for the Talk is authored by Steve Zollos who is a medical doctor and a Christian dad with four sons.  He does an excellent job of walking parents through “The Talk.”  I highly recommend you pick up a copy.

Gleaning from Zollos work, I wanted to share with you some biblical and practical wisdom for parents when it comes to thinking through having the sex talk with a teen or pre-teen.

  1. When? Is your teen emotionally, spiritually, physically ready for the sex talk.  Begin before hormones kick into gear.  Continue after hormones are in gear and their bodies are undergoing changes.  For some it will begin as early at 10 or 11 and for other it may be that they’re not mature enough till 15 or 16.  Notice changes in their body and changes in their behavior/interest of opposite sex.
  2. Location. Plan an individual time with your teen.  Location is key!  The place should be relaxing, non-threatening, and not a chance of interruption.  It needs to be a significant time and your teen/pre-teen needs to pick up on this.  It should be natural (don’t have the sex talk your first time camping).
  3. Talk, not lecture. Make sure it is a conversation, not a lecture.  Remember that you are in authority over them – parent them through the conversation (don’t act like a peer).
  4. Assure them that this is normal and that they are normal.  It is a scary thing for a teen/child to hit puberty and have no idea what is happening to them.
  5. Ask me anything.  Let them ask questions.  No questions should be off limits.
  6. Maintain confidence.  Assure them of your confidence. The conversation will remain private between the two of you.
  7. Use the Bible.  Go to Genesis 1-3 to explain a biblical view of sex.  Use the creation/fall/redemption paradigm when explaining God’s creation of sex.
  8. Discuss Male and Female Anatomy.  Discuss the basics: body hair, body odor, muscles, voice, etc…  Then discuss more personal anatomy like: new body hair, male/female reproductive parts, and other pertinent information about male and female anatomy (make sure to give appropriate warnings here!).
  9. Focus on the beauty of sex & sexuality.  Always try to draw the conversation back in a biblically positive direction.
  10. Preach Self-control.  Talk about the importance of self-control with regards to our sexual nature.  Natural does not necessarily mean neutral when it comes to our sex nature.  Uses passage like 1 Corinthians 6 and  1 Thessalonians 4 to help.
  11. Discuss the dangers of sexual sin. Hebrews 13:4 is very clear about this.
  12. Discuss safe sex.  Give appropriate warnings about temptations, STD’s, birth control & abortion. Balance with joy, and God’s plan for sex and marriage.

I hope this helps!

Five Barriers to Healthy Communication with Your Teen

I’ve had the privilege and blessing of teaching a class on Wednesday evenings to parents of teenagers called Just Tell Me What to Do!  I know, I know, I set myself up for failure with a title like that.  Anyways, last week we looked at healthy communication with teenagers.  I think these tips can be helpful for both parents and youth workers.  Here are the barriers:

  1. Failure to realize you (the parent) are in charge (see Eph. 6:1).  My favorite illustration of this came from an ESPN analyst on Twitter after the PSU students rioted when Paterno was fired.  His wise words, “This is the reason why there are adults in charge of this world.”  Teens need authority.  That is the Creator’s design.
  2. Busyness!  Your business and your child’s business (sports, activities, etc…) can be a huge barrier to quality time and heathy communication.  As parents we have got to quit killing ourselves and learn to say “no” somethings (probably a lot of things).
  3. Lack of understanding/knowledge of teen culture.  As parents, we have to be on our game when it comes to social media, technology, hormones, etc…We’ve got to study and learn their world so we can reach them.
  4. Unwholesome talk (see Eph. 4:29, 6:4).  Your tone, your mood, your language, are all important factors when talking with a teenager learning to become an adult.  Are you demeaning your child in front of siblings & friends?  All of these facets are important.
  5. Lack of Affirmation.  Are you constantly negative with your child?  Is there any honesty and a sense of building-up when talking with you child?  Practice daily compliments with your teenager.  Seek to build them up!  My friend shared a great illustration of this from a Desiring God interview with Sam Crabree.  Please go to 16:40 – 19:10 on the video.  Click here!

New Year Resolutions

If you are like me then you are starting to think about New Year Resolutions.  I really do believe that this is a great time to start thinking about spiritual goals for 2012.  I have a few ideas/suggestions below to help you this new year.

  • Start a Quiet Time:  My best suggestion for you is to get up early in the morning and spend time in your Bible.  I know this is easier said than done so here is what you need to do to accomplish this goal: 1) go to bed early the night before, 2) set an alarm across the room from your bed, 3) make your coffee/tea/diet coke the night before, 4) clear off a place before you go to bed to have your quiet time, 5) make a plan for your quiet time today (what are you going to read, study, mediate, etc…).  Personal experience has taught me that to accomplish this discipline I need to be more mindful about everything leading up to a morning devotion.
  • Start Discipling Your Family:  If this is fresh on your mind and heart and you don’t know where to start, I highly recommend Intentional Parenting by Tad Thompson.  This is a short and straightforward read with great advice for parents.
  • Start Family Devotions:  My best suggestion for you here is to do this after dinner (at the dinner table) or before the kids go to sleep.  Click here for some suggested material.  
  • Start Reading Good Christian Books:  There are a lot of good ones out there but I will recommend four (in order of difficult to easiest):  Knowing God by J.I. Packer; The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges; Kings Cross by Tim Keller and Vintage Jesus by Mark Driscoll.  Read for 15-20 minutes before you go to bed – you will be amazed at how much you can get read in a few weeks!  Free Tip:  move the TV out of your room – you don’t need it there – and move distracting electronic devices away from you.
  • Start Saying No:  Whether you are single or have a family, what can you say no to this year?  Better yet, what do you need to cut out of your life/schedule so that you can accomplish your spiritual goals?

I hope there are a few things to motivate/help you as you get started on your spiritual goals for the 2012!

Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love,
for in you I trust.
Make me know the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.
(Psalm 143:8 ESV)

Dads! Talk to Your Daughters.

Thanks to my brother Myke for pass ing along this video from Pastor Mark Driscoll.

Tips for Daddies

Oddly enough this well known pastor not only has take the initiative to encourage dads about talk to their daughters but he modeled this by “talking” to his own daughter and asking her, “What should daddies do?” Her suggestions are right on and biblical!

My daughter is only 2 but even now I’m seeing the importance more and more every day how much she needs me, her daddy. Even now I see that she wants me to pursue her, protect her, and love her – even if that means discipline or doing fun things together. Even now I’m seeing the important of “daddy dates.” I’m taking this message to heart and hope that all the “Poppa Daddies” will do the same.

Do I have to talk to my 5 year-old about porn?

Tips for talking to your kids about porn:  Important issues for important ages

I’m thankful for this article by David Wever because he raises some important questions and action steps for parents.  Most of us who are parents probably don’t think that we need to talk to our 3, 4, or 5 year-old about porn.  I would agree that we probably don’t need to define what porn is to a 3, 4, or 5 year-old but we do need to begin to put in place safeguards to protection our children.

Please read this article as Wever gives practical helps for parents with pre-schoolers, elementary, middle school, and high school children.

Click here!

Song of the Stars – new book to point our children to Jesus this Christmas

If you know me or have read this blog before you know that I am a huge fan of Sally Lloyd-Jones and her children’s bible The Jesus Storybook Bible.  The Bible is one of the best if not the best Bible story book for children that there is.  It is the best because is very theological sound and every story is not just some cute children’s story with no meaning – it is the best because every story literally points children (and adults for that matter) to Jesus.

Well this Christmas Lloyd-Jones has done it again with her new work: Song of the Stars – A Christmas Story.  I highly recommend this new work!  My wife and I picked up a copy yesterday and we were enamored with it immediately and cannot wait to share it with our children.

Part of being an intentional parent is being intentional about the meaning of Christmas.  This new work by Sally Lloyd-Jones will help you be intentional about pointing your kids to Jesus this Christmas.  Pick one up today!

Principle 11: Train Your Child to Redeem Their Time

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.  (Proverbs 22:6 ESV)

You may have heard the ole saying, “Idleness is the devil’s best friend,” or the old English proverb, “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” but how does that relate to our child training?

One of my children’s favorite books these days is The Berenstain Bears Go to Camp.  My boys are fascinated by the outdoors these days and this books wows their imagination.  As I’ve thought through this story, little did the author of this book know that he was teaching about idleness.  The book starts off with Brother Bear and Sister Bear excited that school was out and now they were going to sit around and do absolutely “nothing.”  Thankfully Momma Bear had a plan and it didn’t involve doing nothing.  Momma Bear hands them a brochure for summer camp and so the dreams of doing nothing quickly turn into days filled with fun and adventure; anything but idleness.

Ryle points out that “No created being was ever meant to be idle.”  What he means is that God simply designed us to work.  Left to ourselves we are weak and sinful and we need something to do or we will naturally become idle.  We need something to keep us active or we will find our selves in unhealthy state of mind and being.  Again Ryle exhorts, “We must have our hands filed, and our minds occupied with something, or else our imaginations will soon ferment and breed mischief.”  It doesn’t take long to see a child’s mind “breed mischief” when he or she has nothing to do.

Ryle believes that idleness can lead to more sin than almost anything other habit we could develop.  He goes so far to say that idleness may very well be the mother many of sins: adultery, fornication, drunkenness, and many other deeds of darkness.  “It is still water which becomes stagnant and impure: the running, moving streams are always clear.”  When our minds are active and moving, they are hard targets for the devil to hit.

As parents we are called to set these things before the minds and hearts of our children.  As parents we are called to teach our children the value of time and to be good stewards of the time that God gives them.  Teach them to glorify God and enjoy Him through work: missions, serving others, cultivating the earth, and yes, even play.  Children, as all human beings, are called to redeem the time.

If we are to love our children well, we are to teach them that idleness is a sin.

Practically speaking, this warning against idleness is not to be used as a reason to over-schedule our children with so many activities and sports that the worship of God and the beauty of the Sabbath is neglected. Rather, encourage your children to give themselves whole hearted to pursuing a relationship with God and to glorify God in their play.

Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12 for further biblical encouragement on this matter.

This article has been adapted and updated from J.C. Ryle’s work “The Duties of Parents.”  It is part of a series of articles that look at the practical parenting applications of Proverbs 22:6.

Frantic Family Model

From time to time in our family life we have found it necessary to step back and focus on certain goals.  Many times those goals center around discipleship and how we need to incorporate the means of grace more into our individual lives and the lives of our children.

A great help to this approach of stepping back and examining our goals and striving to accomplish these goals is the Frantic Family Model by Patrick Lencioni.  I highly recommend this tool.  It will help you slow down and figure out what to do with your “frantic family.”

Download the Frantic Family Model

 

For more information about The Frantic Family click here!

More Parenting Help from the Proverbs…

When talking, teaching, and learning about parenting, a conversation that always comes up is, “How do you discipline your child?”  This is a tough question that gets a ton of different answers.

First and foremost we want our parenting to be biblical … What does the Bible say about parenting?  In this case, what does the Bible say about discipline?

It is important to remember that discipline is not aways correction with force – it primarily means to teach or to instruct.  Our children need to be corrected and instructed in the “way they should go” (Prov. 22:6).  At times this means correcting with corporal punishment.  Now there is a word that gets people upset!

Corporal means of or relating to the body.  Corporal punishment then is to punish a wrong-doer by means physical punishment.  In the world of child training, this most often means a spanking (or a “pop” in my house).

At risk of saying too much, I invite you to study what the Bible says about this matter. Please see the attached study on Biblical Discipline in the Proverbs and ask God to teach you about this very important area of child training.

Biblical Discipline in Proverbs

Parenting Help from the Proverbs

I’m a big believer that parents should be life-long learners of how to be effective and biblical parents (at least while all the children are at home). To me, this means constantly reading and studying about parenting.  It could be as simple as taking a couple of passages in the Bible about parenting and spending some significant time meditating on them.  It could also mean reading a good book on biblical parenting (see a list here).

A friend of mine recently passed along to me another exercise that I have found to be extremely helpful, practical, and fun.  Please see the attached document Parenting from the Proverbs. This is a simple study of God’s Word that encourages parents to dig into God’s Word and seek His will from the Holy Scriptures.  This is a great way to start being a “learner” when it comes to parenting.  I encourage you and your spouse to dive into the exercise and see what the Holy Spirit will teach you about biblical parenting from the Word.  Enjoy!

Please visit my post on Proverbs 22:6.

Attachement:  parenting from the proverbs