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3 Tips for Having Hard Conversations

Porch Swing

“Hey bud, you ever hear the word ‘sex’ at school?” Imagine the gasp, the darting eyes, the thoughts of wanting to escape to anywhere but this conversation with Dad!! Well, these kinds of conversations between a parent and a child are SO needed. Sean gives us the why and the how. Let’s be brave!

Scripture

“Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” 

Proverbs 22:6

Reflect

There are few things more cringe worthy than an awkward conversation, complete with uncomfortable silence, deliberate fidgeting, and eyes frantically looking anywhere except the other person.  There is something about having these conversations that can make even the most talkative person clam up. 

And it seems, in my experience, this can be doubly true with kids and teens who might have less desire than anyone to have them!  And yet, this makes it all the more important to talk about difficult issues: underage drinking, sexuality, and the like. 

Here’s why it’s important and a couple ways to go about talking about hard or awkward topics with your kids.

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind…” – Romans 12:2 (ESV)

  • If not you, then who??  Well, the answer to that is easy: someone else.  The average age a boy is exposed to pornography is 12 years old.  (FYI that is an increasingly prevalent issue for girls as well.)  I personally was around alcohol and cigarettes in sixth grade.  Be it through people, media, culture, etc., everyone is potentially being “discipled” by something or someone.  As much as it is in their control, parents have the opportunity to be the primary disciplers of their kids.
  • Don’t just make it about the “do’s/do not’s.”  John 10:10 is a great Scripture to teach to your kids: “The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy.  I (Jesus) came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  The goal isn’t necessarily to get them to look or act a certain way, but to experience the joy that comes with a deep relationship with Christ, and in turn, to avoid the sorrow that comes with believing the enemy’s lies.  If you approach these conversations with that in mind, it’ll hopefully make it a little easier to go for it.  Speaking of going for it…
  • Be bold and push through the awkwardness.  Ignorance is bliss…until it isn’t.  It is way easier to just hope, pretend, and even assume that everything will turn out fine.  But as the adults, we have the responsibility to rise above the awkwardness, not just turning the conversation back to our favorite sports teams or celebrities.  The more you do it, the easier it will become, and hopefully your kids will one day thank you for it.  Maybe, if nothing else, you’re raising up young men and women able to have hard conversations of their own for the sake of loving Christ and loving each other.

May we be parents who share Truth with our kids, no matter how uncomfortable the conversation, asking God to use that for the good of our kids.

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