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10 Things Teens Won’t Tell You   Leave a comment

10 things teens won’t tell you

Published: Aug 16, 2014 8:11 a.m. ET

The secret and costly life of the American teenager

Chip Wass

1. America will look a lot different when we grow up.

Like every generation of adolescents, today’s teens have habits that are utterly unfamiliar to their parents. The roughly 25 million Americans between the ages of 13 and 18 grew up with Facebook and Netflix. They’re more likely to hang out at Chipotle and Starbucks, and less likely to hang out at the mall, than teens of 20 or even 10 years ago.

But teens’ attitudes are also being shaped by an era where people are less likely to assume that a “typical” American family is straight and white. “They’re the most socially and ethnically diverse of all generations,” says Sharalyn Hartwell, executive director at consulting firm Frank N. Magid Associates, which studies teenage demographics. While their parents saw Morgan Freeman as the U.S. president in the 1998 movie “Deep Impact,” modern teens grew up with the real-life Obama White House.

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Ready to live in a nontraditional nation.

Only 55% of Americans 18 and under are Caucasian, compared with 72% of baby boomers, according to Magid. Not coincidentally, teenagers and “tweens” are more comfortable with the country’s changing ethnic balance. Some 47% say they feel positively about the U.S. becoming more ethnically diverse, compared with 32% of boomers.

Teenagers are also growing up in a society where same-sex marriage is more widely accepted, and, as a result, television shows aimed at their age group reflect this new reality, she adds. Disney’s “Good Luck Charlie” featured a same-sex couple, ABC Family’s “The Fosters” is a television show about a family with two moms, and ABC’s prime-time comedy “Modern Family” features a male same-sex couple that wrapped its last season with a wedding.

Today’s teens and tweens are also more likely than earlier generations to be the products of a particularly hands-on style of parenting—one that involves 24/7 online monitoring and more involvement in their education. Demographers and researchers say that such tighter-knit parenting can have an impact on how these teens will perceive the world as they become adults: They’ll be more likely to be realistic about their future and to embrace change—though if the parenting was too claustrophobic or authoritarian, they’ll also be more likely to be rebellious and get along poorly with others.

Also read: 10 things Generation X won’t tell you.

2. We’re one click ahead of you online

Some 95% of teenagers are online compared with around 80% of the overall population, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. In theory, that should make it easier for parents to keep up with them and track their behavior. But teens are light on their feet, and data suggests that teens are quietly fleeing mainstream social sites that have been adopted by their parents

Snapchat

During 2013, the share of teens active on Facebook dropped by 9 percentage points, while on Twitter it dropped 3 points, according to research firm GlobalWebIndex. Teens are gravitating instead to services like Blink and Snapchat, where messages are easier to keep private. “Video apps like Instagram and Vine are also playing a much larger role with this generation,” adds Jeanne Connon, chief marketing officer of FPgirl.com, a marketing firm that analyzes fashion, technology, trends and relationships among young girls. What’s more, teens are adept at hiding apps in folders on their computers or mobile devices to make them more difficult to find.

Parents are doing their best to play catch-up, Connon says, but it’s still an uphill battle. Around 1 in 5 tweens and young teenagers in middle school have received a sexually explicit message or photo, according to a survey of 1,200 middle school students published in July in the “American Academy of Pediatrics.” Those who received such a text were also six times more likely to be sexually active.

Also see: Teens rebel against Facebook.

3. We’re sooo bored…with the shopping mall

Teen-oriented retailers, take note: Shopping may be losing its mystique among the under -18 set. The latest retailing survey by investment bank Piper Jaffray found that the average teenager spent $1,000 on fashion annually, down from $1,300 in 2006, and took 29 shopping trips a year, down from 38 in 2007. For the first time in the survey’s 13-year history, they spent a bigger share of their spending money on food than clothing (20.8% versus 20.7%).

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Online shopping may make the teenage mall-rat an endangered species.

The big issue here is that teenagers are shopping with their tablets and smartphones, rather than in person: 75% of teenage girls and 50% of teenage boys says they prefer shopping online than in-store. (They spend an average of $56.50 per shopping trip when they do make it to a brick-and-mortar store.) “Teens are browsing regularly on their mobile devices, shopping less frequently and engaging with brands on demand,” says Steph Wissink, senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray.

Teens’ spending may be waning because their parents are economizing: They remain heavily dependent on the fortunes of their parents, who contribute around 65% of their annual spending, according to the report. And while they do have a penchant for expensive clothing brands, there are only one or two that have a firm hold over them: 19% of male teenagers prefer Nike and the same percentage of female teenagers prefer Lululemon leggings.

4. We do drugs (but not the same ones you did)

Around 36% of high-school students report having used marijuana at least once within the previous 12 months, according to data released in July the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. That’s down from 41% in 1998. The share of teenagers who used alcohol over the past year has declined more sharply, to 51% in 2013 from 68% in 1998.

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Marijuana remains popular with teens, but prescription drug abuse is rising faster.

Use of other drugs, however, have risen slightly: 23% of teens admit to abusing or misusing prescription drugs, at least once in their lifetime, up from 20% five years ago, and one in six report doing so within the past year. Pain medications like Oxycodone and Vicodin and “study drugs” that combat attention-deficit-disorder are among the most commonly abused, according to Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. And abuse of human growth hormone (HGH)—often used by athletes seeking to add muscle—has risen among teens to 11% in 2013 from 5% a year earlier.

“They are not doing [these drugs] to get high, they’re doing it because they think they can stay up studying to get better grades, to relax and get fit,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

Also see: Cocaine use is going to pot.

5. We can’t do financial math (but neither can you)

American teens don’t fare so well on the “Program for International Student Assessment,” an international survey of financial literacy conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development every three years. The most recent version, released in July, tested more than 510,000 15-year-olds across 18 countries. Americans scored below average (492 points versus an OECD average of 500 points), finishing behind China (No. 1 with an average of 603 points), Belgium (541), Estonia (529), Australia (526 points) and New Zealand (520).

Why Johnny can’t understand derivatives

Can the U.S. improve financial literacy? We ask Education Secretary Arne Duncan.

Experts blame the system—not the students. “Teenagers don’t know about financial literacy because adults have a low level of financial literacy too,” says AnnaMaria Lusardi, a professor of economics and accountancy at George Washington University School of Business. In a 2011 study conducted by Lusardi, only 30% of U.S. adults gave correct answers to three basic questions concerning numeracy, inflation and risk diversification (versus 53% in Germany and 45% in the Netherlands). Nonetheless, 62% of teens say their parents are good financial role models, according to a survey by tax preparers H&R Block.

Some states are making efforts to fill this knowledge gap, introducing more economics and personal finance classes. For the first time, all 50 states and D.C. now include economics in their K-12 standards, according to the nonprofit, nonpartisan Council of Economic Education. Still, only 22 states require students to take an economics course as a high school graduation prerequisite, and only six states require the testing of student knowledge in personal finance.

6. Your recession-era stress is contagious

Teens report having stress levels that surpass that of their parents during the school year, a recent survey by the American Psychological Association found. Teens reported stress levels of 5.8 on a 10-point scale, compared with 5.1 for adults; those levels declined to 4.6 for teens during the summer, but that still ranked above the 3.9 score that’s considered normal. One-third of teens reported symptoms of fatigue related to their stress, more than one-quarter said they skipped meals, and some 30% said they felt overwhelmed or depressed.

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School is a drag; parental stress, even more so.

Nearly 40% of parents say their high school kids experience stress, according to a 2013 Harvard School of Public Health Survey conducted for National Public Radio. About one-quarter of high-school students’ parents said homework caused their child a lot of stress, the survey found.

But school is far from the only factor, experts say. Teens pick up coping mechanisms or a lack thereof from their parents, and they’re also more likely to experience parental divorce than children were 20 years ago, says Lynn Bufka, assistant executive director for practice research and policy at the American Psychological Association. The impact of stress over divorce and financial trouble gets passed onto children who may also feel less able to tell their parents or teachers that they’re feeling stressed out, she says. “Often times, they don’t want to add to their parents’ burden,” Bufka says. If a child has a problem turning in homework or lack of attention, she adds, parents should tell teachers what’s going on at home.

One potentially positive sign for college-bound teens: The SAT will undergo a revamp in 2016 in ways the experts say will make it somewhat less demanding.

7. Our hunger for gadgets will cost you billions

Remember when loose-leaf binders and a new backpack were all the school supplies you needed? Parents are set to spend $8.4 billion on back-to-school electronics this year, including computers, tablets and smartphones, up 7% from last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Back-to-school shoppers will spend an average $212.35 per household on electronic items.

Stanislav Komogorov/Shutterstock

Phones are a major driver of this spending: About 27% of teens owned smartphones last year, up from 23% in 2011. Howard Schaffer, vice president of retailing website Offers.com, says these mobile devices are seen as critical by parents because they allow them to keep tabs on their kids via geolocation apps like “Trick or Tracker” or “Connect.”

Some parents say they’re trying to moderate the back-to-school tech spending this year. Only 37% of parents are buying tablets or computers, compared with 61% who will underwrite clothing and 55% who will buy shoes for their kids, according to a survey of 1,000 parents by Offers.com. And 36% say they’ll spend more than $200 per child on technology, down from 45% in 2013; Schaffer says that reflects the fact that computers and smartphones are lasting longer.

Also see: 5 apps for spying on your spouse.

8. We’ll double the price of your car insurance

Adding a teenage driver to a married couple’s car insurance can be a financial tsunami for the typical family. According to a report by insuranceQuotes.com, a division of personal finance site Bankrate.com, adding a male teenager hikes premiums by an average of 92%; while female teen drivers hike premiums by 67%. The good news for parents: The older their child becomes, the lower the premium. The premium hike falls from 96% for 16-year-olds to 58% for 19-year-olds.

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Texting and driving: Bad at any age, particularly troublesome among teens.

The most expensive state to insure a teenage driver is New Hampshire, where the average premium surged 111%. Hawaii is the only state that prohibits age, gender and length of driving experience from affecting car insurance costs, so teen drivers there cost only 17% more to insure on their parents policy.

That said, more families are dodging this bill these days. There are fewer teens on the road, says Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at BankRateInsurance.com. Twenty years ago, 70% of 18-year-olds had their driver’s license, she says, but today only 54% do, due in part to the rising cost of car ownership, increased unemployment among teens, and the increased use of social media (rather than face-to-face time) for teenage socializing.

There are other ways to minimize the financial damage: For example, some cars are cheaper to insure than others. “Choose a model that has a low crash history,” says Russ Rader, spokesman for the Highway Loss Data Institute, which publishes insurance claim data. Larger, heavier family cars such as Toyota Corollas, Ford sedans or Subarus are safer for teens, and their insurance rates reflect that. Many insurance companies offer a “good student” discount for those with B averages or better, adds Phil Reed, senior consumer advice editor at Edmunds.com. “A friend of mine told his teen driver that if he got a B average, he would split his insurance savings with him,” he says. “It was good motivation and a gain for both of them.”

9. We get bullied, even when we’re popular

Teenage movies from “Clueless” (1995) to “Mean Girls” (2004) show the hazards of being on the low end of the status scale at high school. But a recent study offers evidence that popular kids get bullied, too.

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Being popular doesn’t mean they’re safe.

For the paper “Causality of Social Combat: School Networks of Peer Victimization and Their Consequences” (links to pdf), researchers at the University of California and Pennsylvania State University studied 4,200 high-school students across 19 schools. They found that students’ chances of being bullied rise 25% if they move from a group with average popularity to the 95th percentile, beyond which victimization begins to drop. (Popularity was measured based on friendship nominations among students.) Those with higher social status also experienced stronger adverse psychological consequences when bullied—because they felt like they had more to lose. More popular kids may also escape the radar of concerned educators and parents who focus on isolated students. The study also found that females are victimized 30% more often than males and “social isolates” are bullied 23% more often than others.

There has been a major push to combat bullying in recent years, including suicide prevention campaigns such as the LGBT-focused “It gets better” social media effort, which featured videos from sports stars, celebrities and politicians, including President Obama. In 2012, the Department of Education released a free training tool kit aimed at reducing bullying in schools. But 17% of students report being bullied 2 to 3 times a month during a school semester, and 1 in 10 drop out because of bullying, according to DoSomething.org, a nonprofit organization focused on young people and social change.

10. We don’t buy into the American Dream

Like member of other generations, most teens define the American Dream as involving homeownership, educational opportunities, a high standard of living and the likelihood of doing better than the previous generation. But teens are more likely to see that Dream as out of reach. According to a survey by Magid Associates, only 60% of teens and tweens believe in the American Dream compared with 71% of millennials, 64% of Generation Xers and 75% of boomers.

Although most teens are too young to remember 9/11, they’re not too young to recall how their parents struggled during the recession. “They’re influenced by their Gen X parents and older siblings,” Hartwell says. Many Xers were clobbered financially by the housing bubble, while millennials have more college debt than any previous generation of Americans. Older role models are “telling these kids that it’s not going to be better for you just because it should be.”

But that doesn’t necessarily make teens negative or pessimistic, it makes them pragmatic and realistic. “They still have the optimism of youth,” Hartwell says.

If you have a daughter, please have her watch this.   Leave a comment

(your sons could benefit from seeing this too) Awesome reminder of who we find our identity in.

Posted September 26, 2013 by sotpyouth in Dating, Family, Main

Three Things You Don’t Know About Your Children and Sex   Leave a comment

Hi Parents,

What follows is a blog post I found written by Anne Marie Miller at annemariemiller.com

http://www.annemariemiller.com/2013/08/19/three-things-you-dont-know-about-your-children-and-sex/

It’s a rather shocking and point blank account of what our children are facing. I encourage you to read this and have that tough conversation that we need to have with our children.

Greg

 

Dear Parents,

Please allow me a quick moment to introduce myself before we go much further. My name is Anne Marie Miller. I’m thirty-three years old. I’m newly married to a wonderful man named Tim. We don’t have any children yet, but we’re planning on it. For the purpose of this letter, you need to know I’m a recovering addict. Pornography was my drug of choice.

I grew up in the church – the daughter of a Southern Baptist preacher man with a passion for learning the Bible. I was the honors student; the athlete; the girl who got along with everyone from the weird kids to the popular ones. It was a good life. I was raised in a good home.

It was 1996, I was sixteen, and the Internet was new. After my family moved from a sheltered, conservative life in west Texas to the ethnically and sexually diverse culture of Dallas/Fort Worth, I found myself lonely, curious, and confused.

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Because of the volatile combination of life circumstances: the drastic change of scenery when we moved, my dad’s depression, and a youth pastor who sexually abused me during my junior year of high school, I turned to the Internet for education. I didn’t know what certain words meant or if what the youth pastor was doing to me was good or bad and I was too afraid to ask. What started as an innocent pursuit of knowledge quickly escalated into a coping mechanism.

When I looked at pornography, I felt a feeling of love and safety – at least for a brief moment. But those brief moments of relief disappeared and I was left even more ashamed and confused than when I started. Pornography provided me both an emotional and a sexual release.

For five years I carried this secret. I was twenty-one when I finally opened up to a friend only because she opened up to me first about her struggle with sexual sin.We began a path of healing in 2001 and for the last twelve years, although not a perfect journey, I can say with great confidence God has set me free from that addiction and from the shame that followed. I returned to school to study the science behind addiction and family dynamics.

Over the last six years I’ve had the opportunity to share my story in a variety of venues: thousands of college students, men, women and teens. This summer, I was invited to speak at several camps to both junior high and high school students and it’s without exaggeration when I tell you with each year I counsel students, the numbers and the stories shock me more and more.

There are more students compulsively looking at pornography at younger ages and with greater frequency than ever before.

This summer, by a long stretch, was the “worst” in terms of what secrets I learned students carried. After my last night speaking at my last camp, I retreated to my room and collapsed on the bed face-first. Tim simply laid his hand on my back to comfort me.

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I could not logically reconcile in my mind all the confessions I heard over the summer with the children who shared them. While every story was unique in the details, in most situations, there were three common themes that kept surfacing.

  1. Google is the new Sex-Ed: Remember the first time you, as a parent, saw pornography? Likely it was a friend’s parent who had a dirty magazine or maybe you saw something somebody brought to school. Now, when a student hears a word or phrase they don’t understand, they don’t ask you what it means (because they fear getting in trouble). They don’t ask their friends (because they fear being ashamed for not knowing). They ask Google.Google won’t judge them for not knowing. Because of our short attention spans and desire for instant gratification, they don’t click the first link that shows up – they go straight to Google Images. In almost all of the stories I heard, this is how someone was first exposed to pornography – Google Image searching. The average age of first exposure in my experience was 9 years old.Google Sex Image Search
  2. If Your Child was Ever Molested, You Likely Don’t Know: Another extremelycommon theme was children being inappropriately touched, often by close family members or friends. When I was molested at sixteen, I didn’t tell a soul until I was in my twenties. I didn’t tell my own mother until I was twenty-eight. The stigma and shame of being a victim coupled with the trauma that happens with this experience is confusing to a child of any age: our systems weren’t made to process that event. Many things keep children from confessing abuse: being told they’ve made it up or are exaggerating, being a disappointment, and in most cases, getting the other person in trouble. While a child can look at pornography without being abused, children who have been molested by and large look at pornography and act out sexually. 
  3. Your Child is Not the Exception: After speaking with a youth pastor at a camp, he said most parents live with the belief their child is the exception. Your child is not. The camps I went to this summer weren’t camps full of children on life’s fringes that one would stereotypically believe experience these traumatic events or have access to these inappropriate things. You must throw your stereotypes aside. Most of the children at these camps were middle class, mostly churched students.Let me give you a snapshot of a few things I heard from these students:
  • They’ve sent X-rated photos of themselves to their classmates (or received them).
  • They’ve exposed themselves to strangers on the Internet or through sexting.
  • They’ve seen pornography.
  • They’ve read pornography.
  • They’ve watched pornography.
  • The girls compare their bodies to the ones they see in ads at the mall or of actresses and keep those images hidden on their phone (or iPod, or whatever device they have) so they can try to imitate them.
  • They question their sexuality.
  • They’ve masturbated.
  • They know exactly where and in what movies sex scenes are shown and they watch them for sexual gratification.
  • They’ve had a same-sex experience.

And they’re terrified to tell you.

(Update: The focus of this article is on the conversation, not the action, though as parents, you need to be aware of the fact young children are experiencing these things. I feel the need to clarify none of these actions make someone a “bad” person. While this specific list does contain things many people with a Christian background consider to be sin, it is lack of communication that makes this dangerous at this age. Most of us go through exploratory phases before sexual phases: a three year old masturbating because he knows it feels good and a seventeen year old masturbating to porn for a sexual release are two different things. If your child is uninformed or uneducated about things they need to know based on what is appropriate for their age and sexual development, regardless of your beliefs, it leads to shame and self-doubt.)

But maybe you’re right. Maybe your child is the exception. I would argue at this juncture in life, being the exception is as equally dangerous.

At the end of every session I presented I intentionally and clearly directed students to ask me or another leader if they didn’t understand or know what a certain word meant. “Donot go to the Internet and look it up.”

Sure enough, there is always the child who stays behind until everyone leaves and quietly asks what the word “porn” means or if God is angry because that boy or girl from down the street told them it was okay for them to touch them “down there.” There is the child in the back row who leans over to his friend and asks, “what does molest mean?” and the other boy shrugs.

This summer, I am beyond grateful that mature, God-fearing adults were available to answer those questions with grace and tact and maturity; that we were in a setting that was safe for questions and confessions. It was entirely appropriate. Not every child gets that opportunity. Most won’t. Most will find out from the Internet or from a peer who isn’t equipped to provide the correct answer in the correct context.

Parent and Child

As the summer camp season ends, I feel a shift in my heart. For the last six years, I’ve felt a calling to share with students how God has set me free from the shame and actions of my past and that they aren’t alone (because they truly believe they are). One college dean referred to me as “the grenade we’re tossing into our student body to get the conversation of sex started” because they realized how sweeping these topics under the rug caused their students to live trapped and addicted and ashamed. I will continue sharing my testimony in that capacity as long as there is a student in front of me that needs to hear it.

However, I am more aware now more than ever before in my ministry how little parents know about what’s happening. And because I’m not a parent, I feel terribly inadequate in telling you this.

But I can’t not tell you. After seeing the innocence in the eyes of ten year olds who’ve carried secrets nobody, let alone a child, should carry; after hearing some of the most horrific accounts from students I’ve ever heard this year, I cannot go one more day without pleading with you to open up and have these difficult conversations with your children. Would you prefer your son or daughter learn what a “fetish” is from you or from searching Google Images? Talk to them about abuse and yes, even trafficking.

Just this month I met a relative of a girl whose own mother was selling her body from the time she was five until now, when she’s sixteen. This was not in some drug-infested ghetto you’d see on a news story. It was in a very upscale town in a very upscale state known for its nature and beauty and summer houses. Abuse does not discriminate.

Your children need to know. If not for them, maybe for a friend. Maybe they can help bring context or see warning signs.

Ask them what they know. Ask them what they’ve done. Ask them what’s been done to them. Show grace and love. Stay far away from judgment and condemnation. If you feel ill equipped, ask a pastor or counselor for help. If you hear an answer you didn’t expect and your first instinct is to dismiss it – don’t. Find a counselor. Look for resources. Continue following up. If you struggle with this (and let’s admit it, statistically, a lot of us do), get help too.

Do the right thing, the hard thing, for the sake of your children. If we don’t do this now, I am terrified of how the enemy will continue stealing hope and joy from our youngest generation and how they’ll be paralyzed to advance the Kingdom of God as they mature.

We cannot let this happen on our watch.

*Specific details that could identify children have been changed in such a way that it does not affect the story and only protects the children. Mandatory Reporters reported confessions that involved abuse or neglect or situations that indicated a child was in any type of danger by using proper state laws and procedures.

Posted September 6, 2013 by sotpyouth in Family, Main, Technology

How Do You Know Your Child Isn’t Having Sex?   Leave a comment

young couple
IS YOUR CHILD HAVING SEX? ARE YOU SURE???
The truth is that we really don’t know. Especially if we’ve never talked to them about it. Friends, I hate to say this, but Middle School and High School students all over are engaging in sexual activity.
This is about having “the talk” with your children. Quite honestly, there are about 500 painful things I would rather do than talk to my children about sex. I’m sure you’re right there with me. It’s important, though. Our children need to hear from us, their parents, about the correct information about sex and casual hookups can lead to a lifetime of pain. They definitely should not be hearing what the entertainment industry (TV, movies, magazines, etc.) thinks they should learn about sex. If you think your son or daughter is too young to learn the truth about sex, think again…If they watch TV, go to the movies or read magazines, they are learning about sex. But, is is what they should be learning?
Here are a few things to ponder:

  • Among kids ages 15 to 17, 44% of boys and 39% of girls have engaged in some kind of sexual activity with an opposite-sex partner. (CDC)
  • Although 73% of mothers tell researchers they’ve talked with their teenager about sex, only 46% of teens strongly agreed they had. (Girls Uncovered)
  • More than 80% of parents who have sexually active teenagers know that their kids have had intercourse, but only 45% of parents whose teens said they’ve had oral sex knew it. (USA Today)

Again, although these are things we would probably not like to know, those statistics you have just read show alarming reasons why we parents need to have “the talk”. And not just the “mechanics” talk. We need to have the “I am concerned about how our culture says that casual hook ups are ok/you don’t find your identity in how you look and how good you make someone else feel/I am going to fight for you to have a healthy mental state, healthy attitude about sex, and have a disease free future” talk about sex. It’s not teaching our kids about remaining a “technical” virgin until marriage. It’s about deciding to live a pure life so that our kids don’t have to worry about engaging in dangerous, casual sex hookups and the emotional and physical damage that can happen from them. It’s so important for our kids to know that their identity comes from their creator and not from what some boy or girl thinks about them because they won’t give in to the pressure bestowed upon them.

Check out what the February 2013 issue of “The ParentLink” from Group Publishing says about our “hookup culture”:

happy_couple_2TACKLE THE LIES OF OUR HOOKUP CULTURE
Casual encounters have replaced dating among many young people, as glamorized in movies such as Friends With Benefits and No Strings Attached. These promiscuous “hookups” accentuate the devil’s diabolical skills:

  • Mental impact—Satan uses the false promises of promiscuity as a primary temptation to overcome a low self-image: “If you can get a guy or girl to sleep with you, it proves you aren’t as [ugly, fat, awkward, unpopular, generally undesirable] as you think you are.”
  • Physical impact—God created sexual foreplay and intercourse as a celebration of unity between a man and woman who’ve vowed to stay together forever. But the devil flaunts sex as just something physically fun to do—a recreational pastime with no downside.
  • Spiritual impact—Satan promises relationship through physical intimacy but leaves us with only wounds and damage to our ability to be in relationship with God and others.

The hookup culture is so enticing that conventional approaches to helping kids avoid its traps are nearly useless. Young people need to hear about positive relationships, about how God treasures them as his children, and about his limitless forgiveness.

It’s probably wise to think about the following questions to ask yourself before you have “the talk”:
  • How has the hookup culture affected your kids’ attitudes about sexuality? How has it affected your views?
  • For you, what’s the most challenging aspect of discussing sexuality with your teenagers?
  • What’s the most important message you’d like to convey to your kids about sexuality—and how can you do that?

Lauren Surprenant, a ministry director for Youth for Christ, suggests these redemptive approaches to engaging with young people on the topic of sex:

  • 65e27476Ignore the awkwardness. Instead, open your mouth and start talking. Kids may giggle, but they’ll still talk to you. So be adult enough to tackle the topic. You won’t be a magnet for tough questions until you’ve proven you can navigate choppy waters.
  • Be “for,” not against. Rescuing kids from the hookup culture is centrally about being for the beauty and power of a redeemed relationship with God.
  • Move from the givens of promiscuity to the starting point of “asexuality.” Calling kids into a commitment to asexual behavior (no sex) generates more interest and discussion than does the use of churchy words. The asexual standard isn’t simply targeted at intercourse. If kids wouldn’t want Grandma watching them do something, then it isn’t “asexual.”
  • Cancel the condemnation. Share the good news of the redemption behind Jesus’ sacrifice. No matter how destructive and repugnant the behavior, it isn’t an impediment to God’s grace and mercy.
  • Speak the Truth. If teenagers are turning to sex to fill their God-shaped hole, then they haven’t yet discovered their place in that epic adventure. Remind them that they’re in the story.

A Template for “The Talk”

Expert Insights for Parents of Teenagers

By Lauren Surprenant

Use this guide for discussing sexual choices with teenagers. Also pray for the Holy Spirit to give you the words he wants you to say to your kids.

young love 1

  • I’m not going to preach at you; I just want to help you understand the long-term ramifications of sex-too-soon with someone besides your spouse.
  • First, you could get pregnant—and you won’t be on a TV show that pays all your bills. Having a baby won’t provide you with someone who will love you unconditionally. (If that’s what you want, get a dog.) If you’re a girl, look at your relationship with your mother; for boys, look at your father. You’ll be just like her (or him), and your child will be just like you. Your child will always have greater struggles, and your life will be over because you’ll exist for your child. And if you think using birth control will prevent these consequences, you’re wrong.
  • Next, consider the impact of intimacy and how your sexual involvement will impact your future spouse. The level of intimacy you have with your sexual partner should enhance a life-time commitment. When you save that treasure for the soul mate you marry, sex isn’t a heat-of-the- moment act but a true expression of love. When you hookup as a teenager, however, you will be having an awkward conversation later with the person you’d like to marry—and that could be a deal-breaker.
  • Premarital sexual involvement also leads to drama and damaged reputations. Don’t give people “something to talk about.” And don’t do stuff that will come back to haunt you in the future.
  • Finally, remember that Jesus sees you as wholesome, valued, and pure. He knows what’s best for you, so consider trusting him by doing things his way. Step away from “sex too soon” and live a life of purity, repenting and walking away from sin.

(Group magazine)

Holding_Hands
I close with this thought – If God were to give you an item, say a really cool watch or something, and He said “I want you to take special care of this. I am sharing it with you, but you need to follow my directions in taking care of. Don’t let it get dirty, and don’t break it. I need it stay as new as it looks now. Someday I will come for it and give it to someone else, someone very special who will then take care of it for you”, wouldn’t you treat it like the priceless gift it is and follow God’s instructions to the letter? That’s what He did with our children. They are not ours. They are His and we are charged to take care of them in any way we can until the day comes that He gives them to their bride or groom. That just might mean having an uncomfortable talk with them.

Posted February 27, 2013 by sotpyouth in Dating, Family, General, Main

Glee Goes All the Way… Again   Leave a comment

by Jonathan McKee at TheSource4Parents.com

This week Doug Fields posted an article of mine on his blog encouraging parents to use the “pause button,” the “fast forward button”… and even the “off button” on their TV remotes as they co-view media with kids. Which button does Fox’s Glee require?

This week Glee featured two of the show’s teenage couples each losing their virginity, a homosexual couple (Kurt and Blaine), and a heterosexual couple (Finn and Rachel).

Parents that took time to even notice the show’s content this week are debating the appropriateness. The PTC is outraged (as always), and articles are beginning to emerge asking relevant questions, like this article from Time, What Teen Sex on Glee Really Teaches Kids.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen Glee address the subject of teenagers losing their virginity. In the 15th episode of Season One, an episode titled “The Power of Madonna,” Glee introduced the same scenario when three couples faced the decision to lose their virginity (the episode was watched by 12.98 million American viewers and was critically acclaimed). After a dream sequence performance of Madonna’s Like a Virgin, two of these teenagers took the plunge and “went all the way” (Finn and Santana), while others didn’t (Rachel, for example). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted November 10, 2011 by sotpyouth in Dating, Family, Main, Music, School

What Can We Do About Dating Violence?   Leave a comment

Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to what we can do about dating violence.

The first step, though, is to realize that it does happen, and it can happen to your child.

It is important to understand that the more you try to pry your child away from the situation, the more she or he will run to it.

Nothing will happen until your child realizes on their own that the abuse she or he is facing is not love. That can come from flyers, magazines, websites etc. Why not find a couple of flyers with a hotline on them and leave them lying around? What about leaving the name of a website around? Here are a few that I find are extremely focused on helping your child:

From Liz Clairborne(click on the image): LoveIsRespect.org is probably my favorite site to give to people about teen dating violence. A young person can come across this site and learn what abuse is, what you can do if you are being abused, even what can you do if you are an abuser. Please use this site. It is simply there to help your child.

Another one from Liz Clairborne, but for parents –

This one is good to help kids respond to bullying, violence, text harassment etc:

 

Please use these if you need to. Pass them on to your kids. Pass them on to your neighbors and friends. Remember that violence and bullying happen.

 

Peace,

Greg

Posted June 8, 2011 by sotpyouth in Dating, Family, Main, School

11 Facts about Dating Abuse   Leave a comment

 

 

 

  1. Only 33% of teens who were in an abusive relationship ever told anyone about it.
  2. Teen victims of dating violence are more likely to abuse drugs, have eating disorders, and attempt suicide.
  3. A recent survey of schools found there were an estimated 4,000 incidents of rape or other types of sexual assault in public schools across the country.
  4. In a study of gay, lesbian and bisexual adolescents, youths involved in same-sex dating are just as likely to experience dating violence as youths involved in opposite sex dating.
  5. One third of high school students have been or will be involved in an abusive relationship.
  6. Dating violence is the leading cause of injury to young women.
  7. Nearly one quarter of girls who have been in a relationship reported going further sexually than they wanted as a result of pressure.
  8. About 40% of teenage girls ages 14 to 17 say they know someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.
  9. Approximately 70% of young women rape victims knew their rapist either as a boyfriend, friend or casual acquaintance.
  10. Six out of ten rapes of young women occur in their own home or a friend or relative’s home, not in a dark alley.
  11. Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk for intimate partner violence.

Posted June 7, 2011 by sotpyouth in Dating, Family, Main, School

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