Today I've got a treat for you! I'm part of a blog book tour for Rebecca Ingram Powell's new book: Season of Change. For those of you (like me!) with middle schoolers whose hormones are going nutty, you need this book!
I read an early copy of it and endorsed it for her last year.
Rebecca and I met when we both spoke at a parenting conference with the National Association for Biblical Parenting a few years ago, and we've kept in touch. Rebecca knows her stuff! So, without further adieu, here's what she has to say:
Hi Sheila! I’m loving (virtually) being in Canada today!
Does that mean you're going to start saying "eh" a lot and add a lot of u's to your words? Like in honour and flavour?
Anyway, on to more important stuff. In Season of Change, one of the big things you push is the need for parents to stay involved during the middle school years by staying knowledgeable about their children’s friendships. How do we do that without seeming to be nosy?
RIP: I think there needs to be some nosy-ness going on here, Sheila! As parents today, we have to be nosy as well as savvy in order to keep up with our kids’ electronically-paced world. We are the safety factor for our kids. When a middle schooler asks for a cell phone, a parent needs to understand that the cell phone is a realm of its own. You won’t know who is calling your child or who is texting them unless you ask. You have to know how to pick up that phone and scroll through the messages. This is not an invasion of privacy; this is a parent being parental!
When I was growing up, my parents recognized my friends’ voices, even without Caller ID. If they didn’t know who was calling, they asked before handing me the phone. And, btw, I am not necessarily for middle schoolers having cell phones. In fact, my oldest is the only child in our family who has a cell phone, and she got hers when she was 15. However, if you’re going to get a cell phone for your child, do so with your eyes open. And be sure your child knows it is a privilege that can be revoked!
That's really true. I know all my kids' friends, mostly because they tend to hang out at my house. And I don't let them keep the door closed very much. I know what's going on, but they don't mind. I think that takes time, though, and that's the kicker. By the middle school years, many moms are back to work, but that's when kids need our supervision even more! So we have to put our kids first.
You know what really worries a lot of parents, though? The computer. What about MySpace, facebook, and other Internet options?
I think, again, parents have to be up-to-speed. If you are going to allow an underage child to have a MySpace, then as a parent, you need to know her password, and she needs to know that you are going to be checking her messages often, as well as her “friend requests.” Some parents even set up their own MySpace accounts and thereby become a presence on the web. I think that’s great. There are inherent dangers to those Internet spaces, but there are options for setting up sites that have private access, which I highly recommend.
I set up my daughter's Facebook account, and so I get all her notifications! Which means that I can read all her incoming messages. Four guys asked her out last year (she's 13, but she's really pretty), and the neat thing was that I was able to see how she responded (she did really well). But one guy got abusive, and I had to sit her down and teach her how to delete him as a friend, and tell her how to deal with him. She was quite emotional, because nobody had ever talked rudely to her before in her life! But I don't think she would have come to me on her own. It was only because I had access to Facebook. So I totally agree here! Computers are a biggie.
But let's move on to friendships more generally. In Season of Change, you talk about the changing definition of the word “friend.” Can you elaborate on that here, and on what we need to be teaching our kids to look for in their friendships?
The Internet has given us a new definition of “friend.” Our kids think a tiny jpeg and a few pieces of trivia constitute the makings of a “friend”—when in reality, these are not friends but multiple listings of strangers! I have taught my kids to understand that their true friends are the ones who can be counted on for three things: accountability, advice, and authenticity. These qualities combine to create what I call a Triple-A Friendship.
Accountability means having a friend that keeps you honest and answerable for the choices you make. You also want a friend to whom you can go to for advice, and that means a person who is in right relationship with God, their parents, and their siblings. If they can’t manage those relationships, then they probably don’t have much good advice to give! And then authenticity simply means you’re looking for a friend who is genuine and sincere (often a rare attribute for middlers!). Of course, while you want your children to pursue Triple-A Friendships, you also want them to be a Triple-A Friend!
That's the truth! But I think that's true for us as adults, too, so that's good to think about where we're concerned. Well, Rebecca, thanks for giving us stuff to think about!Sheila, thanks so much for being a part of my Blog Tour!
To get a copy of Season of Change, just follow this link:
Subscribe to my feed by clicking above!
Labels: books, teens