How many of us really enjoy having hard conversations with our kids? The conversations about peer pressure, pornography, relationships, abortion, eternity, and more? I’m guessing not many of us. 

So why bother? Isn’t it enough that we homeschool and protect our children from many of the evils out there? I wish it were so. I wish the beliefs, values, morals, and character traits that we would like to see in our children would just automatically develop in our home-educated children, but it just doesn’t happen that way. 

Our teens especially need these conversations. We may only have a few short years left with them in our homes—this time is precious. You may be scared or nervous about the awkwardness of bringing these topics up, and that’s ok. I am right there with you. However, when you take a look at our society, the decisions young people are making, and the destruction that is resulting, I hope you will realize that it is worth all the awkwardness in the world to talk about these hard things and prepare our children to face them with truth and humility and courage. 

Let’s dive into some of these hard topics.

Peer Pressure

Yes, even homeschoolers face peer pressure. Most of us are involved in various activities with our children. Whether they have close friendships with peers or are just casually around others with your family, peer pressure is there. Your teens could be comparing clothes, popularity, who does and doesn’t have phones, who has their future all figured out. Insecurities are a part of growing up and maturing, and as parents, we can be there for our kids to talk them through these things. 

Don’t be afraid to be proactive and ask very direct questions in a loving way. Talk about the beauty of each person being a unique creation with a special purpose. Praising your teen frequently will help them feel more secure, but even more important is teaching our teens that their true identity comes from God and what He says about them. When they are tempted to believe the lies that come from the world, their peers, or even themselves, help them refocus on the truth. 

I love the truths shared in this article: 12 Truths to Teach Kids Godly Self-Confidence

Technology Traps

Teenagers a generation ago certainly had plenty of temptations and traps to beware of, but technology traps like we have today were not one of them. Have you talked to your teens about technology addiction, the harmful effects that social media can have on self-image, the relationship between screen time and our focus, emotions, and sleep habits? Whether your teen will admit it or not, they need your help to develop self-control and implement limits when it comes to screen time. This is a chance for you to show love by pointing out the dangers and teaching them how to avoid them. 

Need some tips for managing technology in your home? I love this article by Cosmo Technologies: 5 Simple but Powerful Ideas to Help Homeschool Families Navigate Technology

I know no one wants to talk about pornography, but friends, it is real, and it is easier to access today than ever. Pray about when to start discussing this danger and temptation with your child. Discuss the harmful effects. Tell them about the lives that are ruined by this temptation. It’s hard, but again, the loving thing to do is to prepare your child for this. 

If you are still unsure about bringing this up with your kids, check out this great article from Focus on the Family: Equipping Your Child to Resist Pornography If your child or teen has already been exposed to pornography, Sam Black has some words of wisdom: 3 Steps to Take When Your Child Sees Porn

Relationships & Marriage

God made us for relationships. They are meant to be so fulfilling, and yet sometimes they can be disastrous. Cultivating healthy relationships with the opposite sex is an area where our teens need us the most, but many parents are staying silent on the subject. What does your family think about dating? Are you talking to your children about how they can honor and respect the opposite sex? Hormones are working overtime in our teens, and they need our loving support and guidance more than ever. 

A Biblical view of marriage can’t be taken for granted any longer. Are you discussing God’s plan for marriage with your children and teens? Your own marriage can have the greatest impact on your children, so let them see you and your spouse honoring, loving, and serving one another on a daily basis. Let them see that sacrificial love is very different from society’s version of “love.”

Here are some questions to guide your conversations:

  • What does God have to say about relationships and purity?
  • How can I honor the opposite sex in my relationships?
  • How am I treating someone else’s potential future spouse?
  • Am I praying for strength to turn away from temptations?

Jim George and his wife Elizabeth George have written two excellent books, one for young men and one for young women. These books can be read by the teens alone, but personally we have loved reading these books together with our tweens and teens. 

For the young men: A Young Man After God’s Own Heart: A Teen’s Guide to a Life of Extreme Adventure

For the young women: A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart: A Teen’s Guide to Friends, Faith, Family, and the Future

Societal Issues

The big wide world out there is racked with tough, controversial issues. Our children will have tough situations to face and challenging decisions to make in the years ahead. Right now they are protected from many horrors out there, but soon they will encounter friends, co-workers, and neighbors who have different views on abortion, end-of-life care, drugs, alcohol, promiscuity… The list could go on and on. Their worldview will determine how they approach many of these issues. 

How will you teach them about the sanctity of life in all stages, the dangers of addiction, and the value of purity? Please don’t assume your teens will know the right decisions to make just because they were raised in a Christian home, or just because they have been “good kids” so far. That just isn’t the case. Yes, it’s awkward to bring up some of these topics, but it will pay off when your teens and young adults can articulate their beliefs and convictions and stand solidly on the truth.

This article can help get you started talking about abortion: Raising Pro-Life Kids: Four Ways to Teach the Sanctity of Life

God & Eternity

This topic may be last in this list, but ultimately none of these other issues matter if we don’t understand who God is, what our purpose here on this earth is, and where we are going after we die. Children are instinctively curious about where they came from, why they are here, and where they (and their pets) are going when they die. If we don’t have these conversations with our own children, they will go seeking the answers elsewhere. Do we really want them finding the answers to life’s most important questions out in this post-modern world that views truth as relative? Here are some tips for talking with your children:

  • Be sensitive. Look for times when your children are open to spiritual conversations.                                                                                                                                                                                                             
  • Be truthful. If you don’t have all the answers, determine to discover the truth with your child.
  • Be prayerful. God hears your prayers and knows your child better than you do. Trust Him.

Check out these other tips in Preparing Your Family for Eternal Life. Remember, you don’t have to wait for your children to approach you. Try initiating conversations with your children about spiritual matters. Israel Wayne has some helpful questions to get you started: Apologetics Begins at Home

You can do this mom and dad! I know you love your children dearly and want the best for them. Talk about the hard things. You won’t regret it.