Fight for Your Teen’s Life
- Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Teach your teen to honor God online. Realize that your teen is vulnerable to being corrupted by dangerous websites. Set up a system for safe Internet use by writing a family contract that establishes guidelines to follow. Place all computers in a high-traffic area of your home, limit the amount of time your teen can spend online, use a filter, and check your computer's history regularly. Ask your teen questions often about what he or she has done online lately, and encourage your teen to live as faithfully online as he or she tries to live offline.
Help your teen escape the trap of pornography. Acknowledge the prevalent danger of pornography, which traps many teens - sons and daughters alike - in addiction. Explain to your teen that pornography makes them view people merely as a means by which desires can be fulfilled, rather than the way God sees them. Encourage your teen to confess struggles and mistakes with pornography, remove the source of the pornography from your home right away, and help your teen resist future temptation.
Encourage your teen to make wise choices about dating. Let your teen know that it's just fine not to date. But if your teen really wants to date and you think that he or she is mature enough, ask your teen to articulate his or her reasons for dating, and then set up clear and specific boundaries to safeguard your teen (such as who he or she may date, where to go, and what physical acts to avoid). Stay informed about your teen's dating life, and pray regularly about it.
Talk to your teen about sex. Don't hesitate to discuss sexual issues with your teen. If you don't talk about them, your teen will search for answers elsewhere. Clearly communicate what you believe about sex and what you expect regarding your teen's sexual behavior.
Talk to your teen about drinking. Ask your teen to promise you that he or she won't drink or try drugs. Be alert to any warning signs, such as a sudden change in mood or attitude, a drop in school performance, and secrecy - and confront your teen if you notice them.
Get to know your teen's friends. Spend time with your teen's friends and get to know their parents, too. Urge your teen to constantly ask: "Do my friends push me closer to, or pull me away from, God?"
Urge your teen to bring secrets out into the open. Help your teen honestly face any secrets he or she has been keeping, identify the triggers behind the secret behaviors, and talk with you and others about them.
Encourage your teen to go public with God. Help your teen write his or her personal testimony and learn to share his or her faith with others. Ask God to use your teen to shine His light into the darkness of our world.
Adapted from The Fight of Your Life: Why Your Teen is at Risk and What Only You Can Do About It, copyright 2009 by Jeffrey Dean. Published by WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, Colorado Springs, Co., www.waterbrookmultnomah.com.
Jeffrey Dean is the author of Watch This, This Is Me, and the One-Liner Wisdom books for Multnomah. The founder of Jeffrey Dean Ministries, he speaks to more than 150,000 teens each year about teen issues and culture. He lives in Nashville with his wife and family.
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