Being parents to teenagers

The more speaking engagements I do, the more convinced I am of the important role parents play in their teenagers sexual education…in fact, every part of their lives.

As a parent of teenagers myself, I feel ‘in the thick’ of it every day; the emotions of their stage of life, the joy and pain, the confusion and the hormones, the importance of friends, of belonging, of boundaries, and the influence of peer pressure.

Some days my teenage kids come home with stories of friends who are involved in self-harm, disordered eating, thoughts of suicide, bullying, ‘sexting’, pornography and more.

On days like these I am grateful for my training in youth ministry and experience in counselling to be able to guide my own children and provide answers in such full-on and often confusing times.

I also realise that not all parents are youth counsellors or specialists and can often feel lost with how to respond when topics like these come up.

Below are two key principles that will put the power back in your court as the parent of a teenager.

1) Stay engaged!
If there is anything we can do as parents, it is to not disengage!

There is often a strong temptation around the ages of 8-12 to start to disengage. This is because now that they can feed themselves, dress themselves and go to the toilet by themselves, it seems like they don’t need us as much.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. They still need you! Just not in the same way as a toddler or pre-schooler. They now need you more emotionally, to help them make sense of the world, to interpret what happens to them at school, to tell them it’s going to be OK.

This is a crucial time when our voices as parents are still louder than that of the media and society, so don’t lose this opportunity to speak to them about all you value and believe. Continue reading

Kym Keady shares from her own personal experience and draws upon Church teaching to speak to young people about God’s amazing plan for their lives.

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