Where kids actually adopt their values

“My 16-year-old wants Instagram and I won’t let her have it. Is that bad?”

It was an honest question from a mom after one of my recent parent workshops.

“Why don’t you let her have Instagram?”I asked.

“Well… it’s social media, and that’s bad… right?” She replied indecisively.

“When she’s 18 and she goes off to college, do you think she’ll get it?”

“Yeah. Absolutely.”

I decided to respond with a rhetorical question: “And then she’ll have to navigate the world of social media on her own?”

This mom isn’t alone. Parenting the smartphone generation isn’t easy. We want to protect them from many of the potential dangers that truly exist, but the question we need to ask is, “Will they ever learn if I keep making all the decisions for them?”

Where will your kids adopt their values from, our bonding time with them, or our boundaries we impose?

Think about it. Because it’s probably the biggest question Christian parents struggle with today—raising kids in the truth when they’re surrounded by lies. And the go-to response for many panic-stricken parents is to “tighten the grip” to protect their kids. Tighten up on the boundaries.

One problem.

It doesn’t work.

No, I’m not telling you to let your kids do whatever they want. Far from it. I’m just emphasizing two truths:

1. We can’t protect our kids from everything!

We can buy every porn filter, phone monitoring software, router based filtering systems… or even ban our kids from all entertainment media! But if they have friends, play sports, or go to school (yes, even Christian schools)… they will be exposed to enticing imagery and ideas. All the parental controls in the world aren’t substitutes for conversations about truth.

2. Our kids glean more from our conversations than they do from our rules

Which do you think has a bigger impact on our kids’ lives? Our banning them from using Instagram, or our conversation where we asked them:

“When it comes to posting pics, what kind of pics do you think come back to harm young people today?”

Here’s the scary truth about the boundaries many of today’s parents impose on their kids. They think rules and restrictions allow them to parent in autopilot mode. Newsflash. There is no autopilot in parenting. Parenting takes a lot of work.

It’s waaaaaaaay easier to just tell our kids “no R-rated movies, but PG-13 is okay,” than to have a conversation where we ask, “Do you think you should watch this?”

Conversations are where our kids glean wisdom and values.

And here’s the kicker. When I surveyed hundreds of parents for my new book, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, asking them about their biggest parenting regret… the overwhelming majority said it was in the area of bonding. Less than 2 percent of parents said they wished they had imposed more boundaries.

Don’t underestimate the impact of bonding.

For more about this struggle, take a peek at the brand new article I just posted on our TheSource4Parents.com “Parenting Help” page, Bonding or Boundaries: Which do you lean toward?

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face to face and hashtag evangelism

A live evangelism training that will create Gospel conversations both in person and on social media?

Yeah… God can absolutely pull that off, and no better person to work through than Greg Stier.

If you’ve been in youth ministry more than a minute, than you probably have seen Greg’s training videos, or heard him teach either at venues like the National Youth Workers Convention or at one of his Dare 2 Share events to a stadium full of teenagers passionate about sharing their faith. Greg is all about sharing the good new of Jesus and equipping other to do it.

And so am I. That’s why I’m super excited about the potential of

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A remarkable man

Last weekend I encountered a man so remarkable, the experience was life changing.

I didn’t expect it. I was visiting Maui by myself for the quickest trip to the island I’ve ever had, there and back in just a weekend for a friend’s wedding (not the choice way to do Maui). The ceremony was ocean-side in the beautiful Kahanu Gardens in Hana, a truly precarious drive, but breathtaking scenery.

As we were waiting for the ceremony to begin… this man caught my eye.

He was Hawaiian with a chiseled jaw, a tribal tattoo on his left cheek, and his grey hair pulled back tightly into a bun. He was probably one of the eldest people at the wedding, but no doubt one of the most physically strong. He was perfectly composed

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Porn in plain sight

We’ve all been in the grocery store line at one time or another where we glanced to our peripheral only to see provocative images and headlines paraded across the front of a magazine cover. Of course, now these same periodicals offer online versions as well, clickable from frequented locations like Snapchat (the overwhelming favorite communication choice of young people today, by a landslide).

Do you think your kids ever peek at these?

I asked a handful of kids last week. “When you’re browsing Snap stories and you see an interesting Cosmo or Daily Mail headline… do you click on it?”

Every kid I asked said yes.

Do you have any idea what your teens and tweens are reading?

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Posted in Parenting, Sexuality, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Youth Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The rise of the non-believing Millennial

What do you think of when you hear the word “Christian”?

How do think most college kids would answer if you asked them that question on a University campus?

A couple weeks ago Chance the Rapper burst into Christian worship at the Grammys… and people didn’t know exactly how to respond. It honestly seemed out of place to see Christ glorified in a setting where He is typically ignored… even shunned.

If you watch any TV these days, it’s rare to see faith or religion thrown into the mix. Sadly, if it is, it’s often in gest, particularly portraying Christians as hypocritical or judgmental. If TV was the mirror of our society, then the majority of our population would probably be

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Social media making kids less “social”

My friend Ryan brought this YouTube video to my attention… a creative insight into how social media is making us less “social.” It’s super short, incredibly insightful… and guarantied to provoke conversation.

Here’s the video and some followup questions to engage in meaningful conversation with your kids:

Questions you could ask

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Posted in Discussion Ideas, Entertainment Media, Internet, Smartphones/Cell Phones, Social Media, Youth Culture | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Engaging kids in conversations about “Stranger Things”

I’m loving this new Netflix Discussion page!

Yeah! Using Stranger Things to discuss Luke Chapter 11. Whodathunkit?

A few months ago we announced a brand new resource on our TheSource4Parents.com page … our brand new Netflix Discussions page. The page gives parents ideas for dialoguing about what they watch with their kids on Netflix.

No, we don’t expect moms and dads to sit their kids down and

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Mom, is Chance the Rapper a Christian?

It’s not something anyone expected to see at the Grammys—a rapper leading worship.

As millions of Americans gathered around their flatscreens this week for one of the most anticipated award shows of the year, they had no idea what was about to take place. One moment Gaga was singing with Metallica. The next moment one of the countless young ladies with a distractingly plunging neckline introduced Chance the Rapper… and a hush fell over the crowd as an angelic voice began singing the words, “How Great is Our God.”

“Pinch me Mildred, but did someone just switch the channels?”

If you missed the moment, then you not only missed Chance the Rapper making history

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Your stars

As one of my loyal blog readers, you know I love giving you free stuff and rarely ask you for anything in return.

Today I ask for one simple thing… your stars.

Okay… I guess I’m actually asking you to read my newest book (hundreds of you have already bought it), because that’s the only way you can give it five stars. I’m talking about my brand new parenting book, If I Had a Parenting Do Over. Amazon has it in stock now and I’m asking my readers to simply pop onto Amazon and post a quick review after you read the book.

Here’s what others are already saying about it

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Teens and Sleep Infographic

Did you know that kids using electronics during bedtime are 200% more likely to be excessively sleepy during the day?

Last month I just posted some eye-opening research about social media keeping teens awake, and now TeenSafe has created a nice little infographic on the subject. Take a peek

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