Not My Kid

Teenagers-SmartphonesOn Saturday I showed parents a glimpse into the world of today’s youth culture… and on Sunday a mom pulled me aside. “I have to tell you a story.”

It’s funny, but whenever I spend a weekend teaching parents at a church, the same thing happens. As I show parents samples of pop culture media and discuss the attitudes and trends prominent in the lives of young people today, parents always seem to think, “This is interesting, but I’m glad my kids don’t do these things.”

Then in the next week they discover, “My kids do these things!”

It happened again yesterday. After teaching parents in Jacksonville Friday and Saturday, a mom shared what happened when she left my Parenting the Smartphone Generation workshop.

“I was in the car with my kids later that night and they asked me if we could turn on the radio. I did, and that song was on.” She laughed. “When you played a sample of that awful song in your workshop, I honestly thought, I’m glad my kids don’t listen to that!

I laughed too. I knew the song she was talking about, and unless her kids never left the house, they’ve heard the song! You can’t go to school, walk into Wal Mart, hang out with friends, or play sports, and not hear this song somewhere.

“So the chorus comes on,” she continued, “and my kids all started singing it.” Her eyes got really big. “They all knew the song!”

Then she clarified. “But I remembered what you said, so I didn’t overreact, instead I tried to interact by asking them questions.”

I was pretty ecstatic that she had listened. She was practicing what I taught literally step by step. Instead of freaking out, she decided to use the moment as an opportunity for meaningful conversation. Right then, on the fly, she asked her kids questions:

  • What do you think he’s saying?
  • What do you think he means by that?
  • Do you think that’s true?

Instead of lecturing, she listened and learned.

If you’re curious where to take the conversation from here, take a peek at the last two Parenting Help articles on proving you with a few skills designed to help parents engage in meaningful conversation.Get-Your-Teenager-Talking


About Jonathan McKee

president of The Source for Youth Ministry, is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices, If I Had a Parenting Do Over, 52 Ways to Connect with Your Smartphone Obsessed Kid; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He has over 20 years youth ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers and parents on his websites, and You can follow Jonathan on his blog, getting a regular dose of youth culture and parenting help. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.
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