Tough Conversations

Posted by  | Monday, October 26, 2009  at 5:00 AM  
It’s my turn to start off our week with a new topic. This week’s topic is Keeping Kids Safe. When I was assigned this topic I thought I really wouldn’t be able to post on things that would relate to moms in the states because our “safety” where we live is much different than in the states. Actually, on a day to day basis in our country I feel my kids are much safer than in America. But that’s not what I am going to post about. I decided I would post a little on other types of safety measures we can take as our children grow older in this ever changing sinful world.

I am going to break this safety post into two categories:
1. Movies/TV
2. Friends

Movies/TV- We do watch TV and we do watch movies in our household. But we do have a safety guard for both. I don’t know if you know this or not but just because a show is a cartoon or just because a movie is advertised as a children’s movie does NOT mean that is true! :)

TV…Know what your children are watching! I am sure many of you have had the experience of walking in the room while a cartoon was playing and hearing cuss words, rude language, or even back talking children to their parents. We watch a show with our kids several times to make sure there are not attitudes, words or actions that we would not want them to mimic. If something does come up, we talk about it. We say things like, “Oh wow! That little girl is not respecting her mom and dad. We don’t act like that at our house, do we?” And then, we don’t make a huge deal about NEVER watching that show. We just find something else for our kids to do during that time…a fun chore is always an option. :) (side note: Don’t just leave emergency numbers with your babysitter. Make sure any babysitter you have is aware of what you allow your children to watch.)

Movies…This gets more complicated as children get older. Our oldest is 13 now and there is always a fine line about what she can and cannot see. We use a website called to screen movies before we allow her to go and see them. Now, this is where it gets tricky. By the time our children are 13 they are not under us at all times…sometimes they are at parties and sleepovers. There have been times when our daughter has informed us when she got home about what movies she watched. These have not always been my choice of movie for her but we talk about it and deal with the issues that came up in the movie. (side note: Don’t panic or go bananas when your child tells you they saw something you wouldn’t necessarily approve of (unless you have specifically told them not to watch something)…calmly talk about it and use the conversation as a teaching time just like when they were little.)

Friends…When I was in the 3rd grade a friend of mine gave me a picture of a naked girl lying on top of a van. I took that picture home to my mom. She said, “Where did you get this picture?” I told her who gave it to me. She said these words that I will never forget, “Stacey, this little girl is going to be trouble as she gets older. You can be nice to her at school but you will not go to her house and she will not come here. This is not someone that you are going to be good friends with. Do you understand me?” That girl did turn out to be BIG trouble and as I grew up I was so glad my mom didn’t let me “hang out” with her.

KNOW your child’s friends and their families! We teach our children to be a friend to all but they know there are boundaries to each friendship and we are very open about the why’s and why not’s. Open conversations about details such as sexual touching, inappropriate language, disrespectful words and actions to adults, drinking and unapproved TV/movies are important in our house. We try not to sugar coat things and try to keep it real with our kids. That doesn’t mean we have the same conversation with our 13 year old and our 7 year old. We have learned we have to tweak these conversations for the age differences.

For example, our middle daughter has a friend who always demands her way with her parents. We talk to Madison about this attitude. We say, “Madison, we don’t talk like ________. That is not how Jesus would have us treat our parents.” Again, as they get older the conversations get “stickier” and more complicated and might I add, HARDER! Our 13 year old traveled to the states without us this past summer. Before she left we had some real “heart to hearts” with her. She’s a great kid and loves Jesus so much but we knew she would be confronted with many things. We were very open about topics such as sexual touching, revealing clothing, movies, etc….They were tough conversations to have but we felt it was necessary and it was what God desires for us to do with our children….”Train them in the way they should go…” All in all, we try not to lay down legalistic rules with our children. We tell them daily to “just love Jesus with all your heart in all you do and say.”

Many times it makes me mad to have to have these conversations with my kids. But we live in a fallen/sinful world and we are sinful people, so it is what we must do. Jesus desires to be glorified in all we do…let’s glorify HIM in how we choose to keep our kids safe in the sinful world in which we live.

What about you? Do you have open conversations with your kids? Did your parents keep a tight lip with you and allow you to figure things out on your own? Give us your wisdom on the kinds of conversations that go on at your house!


Keri said...

What safety gaurd do you have on your tv? I would really like to get one but I am not sure what to get. Thanks!

KC said...

My parents were always open with me and my sister. We knew that we could ask/tell them anything and we'd get an honest response. Like you said, it was always age appropriate, but we felt comfortable talking to them b/c they were honest. This helped a lot as we became teenagers.

Chris, Crystal, and Weston said...

My mom talked to me about EVERYTHING from a very early age, so it didn't really get "akward" for her to talk to me about more serious things. I didn't realize that not everyone had this "comfort level" until I was older and started talking to other women. I hope I'm just as successful with this "route" as my little ones grow into pre-teen and teenage years.

Thanks for the post, Stacey!

Matt and Stacey said...

we don't actually have a physical "safe guard" for our tv here. We did use one called guardian tv when we were in the just bleeped out bad words. Now we are usually in the room or our 13 year old is...she's a great tv guardian! :)
yes KC and Crystal...starting early with those open conversations makes the harder ones that happen in their teen years so much more natural.

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