When you have a teenager in the house, parenting takes on a whole new meaning.
That lovely little girl or boy of just yesterday seems to have morphed into a rebellious, reedy and yet excruciatingly-beautiful young human being. You so want to be a part of their world… to protect them from the nasty things that you know await them in adult life… to tell them to wait, be patient, don’t do anything you may regret.
But, it’s all so difficult. How do you communicate with a teenager who would rather text you than have a dinner table conversation? A teenager who looks at you as if you are an uncomprehending and incomprehensible dinosaur who has no feelings?
As for sexuality ... that's a whole other issue.
Welcome to the ‘whatever’ world of teenage sexuality
Your children are growing up in a world where media-savvy young ones spend over a third of their day on social media sites, mobile phones and the internet and whose language of LOL, WTF and C9 make adults truly feel aliens in their own home.
It’s a world where peer, media and internet pressure to grow up and be sexual, drives even the most conservative young ones to consider intimate sexual activities of kissing, genital touching and oral sex as something that is part of 'getting to know someone' of the opposite sex.
Add a dash of pornography-driven expectation of behaviour where the average age of first porn viewing is eleven to thirteen years and we have a toxic mix.
The amazing thing is that most teens are able to navigate their way through these years of growing up. They are digital natives with wisdom and understanding far beyond what their parents had available at their age.
Therefore, they look with understandable derision at the sexuality education programs that offer little to help them understand their feelings and desires, or deal with the important activities of negotiating the minefield of sexual activity.
They look around for role models and guidance. And when it doesn’t come from trusted adults and parents, they turn to the latest pop star, media icon or sportsman.
So what can you as parents offer your teens?
Take time to inform yourself about what’s happening in your teenager’s brain and body… the myths that surround them, the pressures to conform and to meet the standards of a pornified-raunch culture.
To help you know more about these things, check out these sites:
Reflect on your personal values and behaviours, both individually and as a couple, and discuss ways in which you can communicate your stories to your children.
Here are some more sites that address these issues:
Face the challenge!
You need to prayerfully and thoughtfully engage in shaping and influencing your children to manage their bodies, confront secular influences, and conduct their sexuality and relationships, in ways that are both godly and healthy.
It’s not for the faint-hearted, but it’s part of our calling as parents… something that we should prayerfully depend on from our heavenly father at all times, for his glory.