Teen Talk & Topics

Talking to Teens

To finish out 2019, I set a goal to create a short, 4 week curriculum to teach a handful of teenagers. More specifically they were, my 8th grade daughter, Ava’s friends. Ava is the youngest of our 4 kids. As I watched my older children, I noticed it was around the middle school age in which a shift took place amidst their friends. MIddle schoolers are faced with the typical temptations that have plagued teens for centuries: sex, smoking {of course it’s vaping now}, drugs; a baisc moral decline.They needed a plan to combat the typical temptations, especaily before benginning high school, where the enticement for moral decline would ramp up to a higher degree. Basically, I wanted to equip these girls with the life-tools they’d need to combat with confidence the temptations that will bombard their life.  They would need to be ready with a plan for how to fight against it. 

As parents I think we often avoid  bringing up tough topics for a myriad of reasons. We have personal shame around how we handled the temptations when we were in high school. We figure the school has it covered. We think it’s a hopeless cause. Or, perhaps the attempts created such an  embarrassing reaction from your teen, it shut the conversation down.

I don’t have the space to go over all 4 weeks of content here. However, I’d love to give you a synopsis of weekly content we covered when it comes to self-esteem, standards and relationships. Hopefully it will be a springboard to stir your own thoughts that will lead to conversations you’ll have with your teenager.  Be willing to have the awkward conversations, regardless of how your kids react. They are still listening even if it looks like eye rolling and flushed cheeks.

This content comes from a faith-based perspective. I reference prayer, Bible reading and a personal relationship with Jesus as a key component for positive self-esteem. Recognizing there is a higher power {God} who created you and has a plan for your life is the launching pad we started from.

Week 1 was all about establishing a morning routine that would set the girls up for success throughout the day and ultimately for their life.  I talk more about that here. 

The morning routine is a time where they set their intentions for the day.  Give thanks to their creator, God, for his blessings and read truth found in the Bible.  Creating a morning routine that emphasises the aforementioned content is key to personal confidence.  Personal confidence will help with the following content covered!

Week 2 we talked about standards, especially pertaining to dating.  I emphasised that the higher their standards were the fewer choices they would have to make.  We also talked about predetermining your standards and how essential that is for keeping your standards high.  Then, when you get to the party and discover there is alcohol, you aren’t deciding on the spot how you will handle it. It’s been predetermined long before you were ever put in the situation. The same goes for dating.  Deciding ahead of time what your standards will be is essential. I gave examples with fun tag lines like “hands on hands, lips on lips”.

 

Week 3 we talked about how to be a good friend.  I had them practice using their words to encourage, rather than the typical middle school girl thing to do, gossip. We went around the room and took time to verbalize the qualities we saw in each other. It was a powerful week!

Finally, week 4 we talked about what to do if you get off track.  It’s essential that our teens know how to recover from a mistake. The importance of getting back up, forgiving yourself and rerouting back to the standards originally set. We ended by writing a letter to their future self, full of encouragement. I have them stamped and ready to send out for the first day of Freshman year!

My hope in writing this is that it will spur you on to have the awkward conversations with your teen.  I can’t emphasize enough how much it doesn’t matter if they react adversely to it. Don’t give up. It is weird to have those types of conversations with your teenager. Until one day it isn’t because you’ve had so many, it’s normal!

I believe in you!  Ask your kid on a coffee date and bring up one of the 4 topics.  Don’t let it be the last time!



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