Tag Archive for: teen relationships

Are You Ready to Allow Your Daughter to Sleep Over at Her Boyfriend’s House?

Camping couple hugging and enjoying the sunset

Sleepovers were fond memories when my kids were in elementary school.  Typically a best buddy would show up, they’d play some games, watch a movie, and camp out on the family room floor.   Harmless for the most part.

By junior high and high school, that phase of life seemed to be a thing of the past for our family.  I’m guessing I was lucky on that front.  At some point along the way my kids seemed to recognize that they needed sleep and the best buddy would be available the next day.

It wasn’t until my kids were in college that there seemed to be a radical twist to the whole sleepover thing.  Maybe it was when my college freshman started sharing co-ed dorm stories that I saw what was really happening in the young adult world.

I remember my son telling me about getting out of the shower in the men’s restroom that was down the hall from his dorm room.  Stepping out on the wet tile floor as he began to dry himself off, he spotted them–two girls who were primping in front of the mirror.  Yes! In the men’s restroom on the men’s floor.  Embarrassed and shocked beyond belief, he quickly wrapped himself in a towel and headed down the hallway.  

“Mom, it’s just what I deal with on a regular basis.  You learn to live with it.  It’s just part of life.  Guys and girls don’t share dorm rooms 24/7 but, Mom, they are sharing dorm rooms.”


And that’s how our kids become numb to all the morals we’ve tried to teach them while in our home.  They start seeing the immorality in the world as “normal”.

It wasn’t long until I started hearing moms of college students, church moms even, saying things like, “Yeah, my daughter just stayed at her boyfriend’s last night.  It was late and she didn’t want to come home because she was concerned the roads were slick.”  

“His parents don’t mind?” I asked one woman.

“Oh, he has his own place.  I know it was alright.  I’m sure nothing went on.  I trust them.”


Another mom told me how her daughter was going to visit her boyfriend who had just gotten a job out of state.  Yes, a long weekend alone in his apartment, together.  

“I trust her.  After all, she’s an adult.  It’s not like I can stop her,” mom responded.  

Truth be told, she’s right.

And typically what happens with the college crowd, starts happening with the high school kids eventually.

Eventually has arrived.

High School co-ed sleepovers are now the new rage.  Parents are starting to get the full-court press from their kids to sleep over at the boyfriend or girlfriend’s house.  After all, what’s the big deal?

“You trust me, don’t you, Mom?  What’s going to happen?  His parents will be home.”

And parents are caving to the requests.  

While these requests might seem preposterous to us as parents, know that our kids are making choices on how they will view the world.  Our response is not only important in setting the morality standard for when they leave for college as adults, but is also important in how they will lead the next generation.

If you haven’t gotten the request yet, this is your opportunity.  Start the conversation!  

Here are some pre-parenting ideas:

  1. Bring up the subject.  In today’s media culture your kids will hear about this if they haven’t already.  Ask them what they think about it.  Find out if they know kids that are having co-ed sleepovers.
  2. Listen. Let them talk without passing judgment.  Words like “Hmm…and wow…and really…” should keep them talking.
  3. Ask them to look at it through the lense of scripture with you.   
  4. Let them know why as a parent you would have to say ‘no’ to such a request without emotion.
  5. Talk about sexual temptation.

As parents, we can’t be afraid to say “no” when morality issues are at stake.  Just because their friends are doing it, just because we trust our kids, and just because we want our kids to like us is not an excuse.

Kids need limits and boundaries to establish healthy patterns in life.  They need parents who build relationship in such a way that we can influence the next generation to stop and consider good from evil.

Roman 12:1-2

Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is you spiritual service of worship.  And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Dare you to boldly start the dialogue before you get hit with the request.  Help your kids stay focused on scripture’s view of good versus the world’s view by talking about it now so you can influence your kids early.

“Let go…and let God”,



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Helping Your Tweens and Teens Deal With Those ‘Mean Kids’

Young female skater having headache outdoors

Have you ever wished you could put your kids in a bubble until they reached adulthood?  Maybe you’ve felt that if you moved to the middle of nowhere your tweens wouldn’t be hurt or scarred by those ‘mean kids’.

There was a time when I thought moving to the middle of nowhere would simplify life — that way I could be the primary influence in the life of my tweens and teens freeing them from those kids who didn’t know how to treat others.

Having survived the junior high and high school years with four children, I often wanted to run away from the culture and the people who could emotionally hurt my kids.  I remember having to deal with issues that took place in my home with people who lived in close proximity.

Like the time a 12 year old came into our home and stole a gaming system, holding my 11 year old hostage with threat of harm if he snitched.

Like the time a neighbor came over to get my daughter to show off her new birthday present and proceeded to send her back home because she wasn’t invited to the party.

Like the time my 15 year old’s best friend told him that he didn’t want to hang out with him anymore.

Like the nasty breakup where a girlfriend decided to do mean things to tear my son down.

Or the time I realized that my 11 year old daughter who was used to hanging out with boys because of her brothers was being used by a 16 year old girl to gain access to all the potential male friendships in the neighborhood–including my son.

Yes, it makes us want to run away and hide.  We want to protect our children from the horrible things called life.  But, we need to remember what scripture says…

John 16:33

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Rather than put them in a bubble or move to the middle of nowhere, I believe there is a better way.  After all, our kids are going to encounter difficult relationships — for the rest of their lives.

I’ve discovered that by the time my kids hit junior high, it’s not mine to fix.  Even though I’d love to take my kid’s problem to the other kid’s parent or talk to that mean kid myself, tweens and teens need to learn to deal with the difficult people in their lives on their own.  I’ve also discovered  that pain brings teaching opportunities–and maturity.  If we can look at the offenses made against our kids as a launching place for discussion, it can help us be the safety net our kids need against a cruel world.  It helps them connect with us.

Truth is if you find that place in the middle of nowhere, or could put your kids in a bubble, they would grow up, but would they be mature adults?  At some point we all have to deal with the real world.

Home should be a place of refuge from the storms that can derail our kids.  Our job is to be there to soothe the emotion and help them deal with the pain.  We should also give them some skills for action.

So what are some of the ways we can help our kids when they encounter those ‘mean kid’ moments?

  1. Let them vent and work through their emotion.  A shoulder to cry on assuring them that you’ve been there and understand will go a long way.
  2. Ask your child how they think they should handle it.  Encourage them to deal with it rather than avoid the situation.
  3. Offer up other suggestions if they seem open to your input.  
  4. Resist the urge to fix it yourself or let your child talk you into fixing it.
  5. Role play different scenarios with them.  Let them try their conversation with you playing the ‘mean person’ so that they feel prepared to deal with the issue.
  6. Let them know you will be praying for them to have a good conversation and that God will intervene.

Helping our kids face those mean people in their lives will help them mature and be ready to work through emotional relationship issues with their co-workers, bosses, spouses, and friends as they move into adulthood. Know that the God of the universe will allow our children to experience things that He can use for His purpose in future times.

Dare you to equip your kids in solving their relationship problems.  If you do, you’ll gain stronger relationship with them and they’ll see you as a source of wisdom.  Not only that, but you’ll equip them for their future as mature adults.

“Let go…and let God”


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How to Keep Your Kids Connected at Church

Cute teens with headphones showing thumbs up and smiling at camera

One of the things our family struggled with over the years was trying to keep our kids connected with other kids at church.  Since we didn’t live in the community surrounding our church, our kids didn’t have the opportunity to see other kids who attended unless there was a 30 minute drive involved. We had tried churches close to home, but nothing fit for us.  Hence, the drive.

What we experienced during those junior high and high school years is probably even more prevalent today.  With the megachurch model more families are making a longer commute to church which can sometimes make it more difficult for kids to connect.   With kids attending several schools rather than the typical one or two represented in a smaller community setting, teens tend to congregate with the kids they see more than on Sunday morning  leaving many to sit back on the fringe.

If we want our kids to remain in the church through the junior high and high school years and then into college, they need to see the church as a basis for friendship and the benefit of connecting with other Christians.  Modeling that for our kids means we see the importance of church friendships for ourselves as well rather than just Sunday morning acquaintances.

Shaunti Feldhahn’s research in For Parents Only confirms that our teens need to feel accepted, included, and that others want to be around them. That’s why if we connect friendship to the church we have a better chance of keeping our kids engaged for the long haul. For us as parents, it means we need to connect with other parents with kids our kids’ ages and get to know them as well.  Making church activities central in planning our lives helps our teens see the relevance of church in our lives.

So what can we do to help our tweens and teens feel connected to other church kids?

  • Encourage your kids to invite church kids over.  Use this as opportunity to get to know the parents.
  • Plan a hangout date at the pool or some other popular location with friends from church.
  • Encourage your kids to text or call kids during the week.
  • Be willing to drive. 
  • Offer up your home as a place for a youth group activity.

Another great way to get our kids connected is to send them on retreats or to youth conferences with a group from church.  Not only do these conference typically speak to our kids spiritually as they see thousands of other kids in worship and praise but it allows kids to be in a different environment where deeper relationships can be cultivated.  If your church doesn’t typically do this, do some research on options for conferences and consider taking a group of teens yourself with a few other parents. 

One summer my high school senior had planned to go to a conference with the church youth group.  The conference was held several weeks throughout the summer, but as luck would have it, the youth ministry had decided to only take the junior high kids that year.  Since we knew this was the last year my son would be able to attend, my  husband and I got a group of high school kids together and went down to the conference in Florida on our own.  Not only did these kids get to interact with other Christian kids for a week, but we got to know the teens in our group really well.  My son would say it was one of our best vacations ever!  It was almost as if we created an extended family for him.

Four years out of high school those are the kids he is still connected to even though each of them has gone their separate way.  Re-connection for them is like a church homecoming and the friendships quickly start up again just where they left off.  When they come home during the summer sometimes they’ll grab high school kids from church just to go hang out with them.  They’ve discovered the importance of peer relationships in cultivating their faith.

How well are your kids connected to their peers at church?  What steps do you need to take to get your kids more engaged?  I’d love to engage with you on this topic.  Hope you’ll comment.

“Let go…and let God”,