HomeLife is a resource to help families build faith at home. Whether you’re single or married, have young children or are an empty-nester, you will find practical resources and step-by-step guidance to help nurture faith at home — tailored to meet the unique needs of today’s family.
Prestonwood Students and Prestonwood Baptist Church do not necessarily agree with every recommended resource listed within all the parent guides. However, there is value in considering all points of view in order to understand and empathize with other perspectives. These are elective resources for you to use as you see fit. Though they don’t cover every angle, we hope and pray these will bring your family together to talk through some of the most difficult topics your students might be wrestling with during this impressionable season of life.
There is no profile when it comes to bullying. Roy Moore, Founder and Executive Director of Be Strong, a nonprofit dedicated to ending bullying, says, “Bullying does not respect boundaries.” A petite teenage girl could actually be the one bullying a huge football player—maybe not physically, but psychologically and emotionally. Bullying is a complex issue. As such, it does not have a simple solution.
Freedom from Bullying was started by Kristin Decker as a result of her experience with bullying growing up. Having a masters degree in Social Work, she speaks to high school and college students and she has even shared the stage with Toby Mac. This is a resource she developed to help students who are struggling with this topic.
Our kids are no longer kids anymore. As high school comes to a close, marking the end of a long era of their lives, they simultaneously lament what once was and excitedly anticipate college for the promise it holds. But while they’re saying goodbye to old friends and stressing over how to decorate their dorm rooms, we parents are being much more realistic, fretting about the illegal use of alcohol, atheist professors, coed dorms, and the allure of total freedom. Ultimately, as our children leave home and our loving boundaries for the first time, we’re concerned about a much more important question: How do I help my kids keep their faith in college?
People are complicated, and romantic relationships are one of the most complex and fascinating kinds of relationships that God has given us. They’re challenging even for people working from a solid foundation. So when raising our teens, it can be daunting to consider whether or not we should allow them to date, and if we do, how we can guide them through the process well? Is it possible? Can we help our kids avoid the cesspool of “hookup” culture? Is there a “right” or biblical way to date? And above all, can we use dating as an opportunity to disciple our kids into a Christ-like perspective of others? We’ll answer these questions and more in the following pages.
Depression & Anxiety
Teens test drive a variety of emotions every day, and sometimes they have no idea how to explain or express them. We’ve all heard (or even said) something such as, “I’m so depressed! They canceled my favorite show!” or “I’m so anxious about my math test!” The language of mental illness runs rampant through our casual conversations. It’s not all that surprising, though. These days it’s as if everyone on earth has a microphone, and with the racket of everyone’s opinions, hyperbole seems a useful method for being heard. The louder the noise, the less others want to listen, so the more we use exaggerations to describe how we feel and to connect with others. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Like other Parent Guides in this series, this tool provides knowledge, references, and faith-based encouragement on the subject to help parents connect with their kids. However, since we are NOT physicians, healthcare providers, or even experts on these difficult matters, this resource is NOT a substitute for medical advice or treatment. It can accompany and support actions directed and/or confirmed by a qualified healthcare professional, but it is not meant to replace or preclude any diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional.)
Instead of being our children’s conscience for them, we want to train their conscience to think deeply about the world around them. Instead of allowing them to piggyback off our faith, we want to help them own their faith for themselves. By doing so, we will better prepare them to be responsible, kind, God-honoring adults who purposefully and happily devote their lives to doing God’s will. And we do all that through a process we call Culture Translation. It’s biblically based, centered around conversation, and can be used not only by parents, but also by grandparents, teachers, pastors, youth volunteers, administrators—anyone who has influence in teenagers’ lives. This guide aims to teach you that process so that you can implement it with your teens and preteens. We want to give you our “secret sauce” because we believe so strongly in it and the difference it can make.
Besides increases in things like anxiety and depression, today’s teens also face increasing risks of developing eating disorders as a way to cope with their reality. Because there are myriad websites and organizations dedicated to educating the public about eating disorders and to helping sufferers find lasting recovery, this guide will hopefully serve to educate you on how technology and culture contribute to the problem. In addition, we hope to provide a balanced Christian perspective on how to find true healing from a disease that affects both young and old, male and female, Christian and non-Christian alike.
What comes to mind when you think of evangelism? Going door to door? Handing out tracts? Walking through the wordless book or the bridge diagram? Maybe you think of times when you’ve had deep, positive conversations with people about your different beliefs.
Whether you’re on family vacation or having dinner together, time with family can be uproariously fun or full of stress, crankiness, and conflict. No matter how hard it gets to find time to spend together (or to get along while you’re together), family night is something to fight for! Trust us—you won’t regret it.
Fear & Worry
Fear is real – in fact, God created it – but worry is never beneficial. By looking a little closer at the problems of fear and worry, we can learn where they come from, what they are at their root, how to overcome them through the power of God, and how to help our kids do the same.
No matter who you are or where you’re from, you need to learn how to manage your personal finances in order to survive in the real world. The same is true for our teenagers, yet schools rarely have courses that teach the basic principles. This guide is a great starting place for understanding these principles and why passing them down to our kids will impact them greatly for the rest of their lives. Learn about investing, loans and credit cards, as well as how God’s Word talks about money.
In the heart of every person is a deep-rooted question: “Who am I, and how do I fit into the world around me?” In other words, what makes me “me”? Am I the roles that I play (friend, sibling, athlete)? Am I a set of characteristics (quiet, bubbly, confident)? Am I my thoughts, emotions, body, soul, actions … a summation of these things? The question of identity shows up in which brands teens choose to wear, how they manage their appearance with friends, in their desire to get good grades or try out for sports or musicals, and in what they think about themselves and others while scrolling through social media. It can be difficult to navigate our teens’ search for identity with healthy language, perspective and grace. The Christian story for the world has a stunning message about who we are; our challenge is to contextualize that story in the modern world, the world of popular culture.
Internet Filtering & Monitoring
There’s no question that there’s a lot of filth on the Internet. And it’s pretty easy to run into it, even accidentally. Internet filters are extremely useful tools for preventing you and your children from encountering content that is harmful and disturbing.
21st-century parents have to figure out all kinds of digital technology, even if we’re not particularly “techie” by nature. It’s similar to when we worry about helping a high-schooler with algebra when we ourselves are lousy at math. We can send them to tutors when they grow beyond our experience in math, but digital tech doesn’t allow us that same luxury of delegation. It’s vitally important that we know (and keep learning) what our teens’ devices do, how they work, and how they’re being used.
Even if your kids don’t struggle with their sexual orientations or gender identities, they probably know people who do. For the most part, the way the Church has addressed these issues has been inadequate at best and polarizing at worst. What follows is what we think you need to know about what is shaping Gen Z’s perceptions of these issues, as well as how you can engage well with your teen and the LGBTQ+ community.
With more and more states legalizing marijuana, at least for medical (if not recreational) use, people of all walks of life are using it. Currently, marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the U.S. among both teens and adults. Given the widespread popularity of the drug, it’s something we should be talking about with our kids.
Parents rightfully have concerns about their kids’ time spent in front of screens, and video streaming such as Netflix invents a whole new way to binge. So how much watching is too much? How do you gain control of something that seems to be everywhere without alienating your kids? Let’s explore together.
There are few cultural issues more pressing than the problem of pornography. Though extremely damaging to us, porn appeals to powerful urges that God created as good. Sexually explicit material has always been a cultural pitfall, but the internet and smartphones have provided unprecedented access to it.
As our kids become preteens, then teenagers, and eventually adults, we, as Christian parents, desire to equip them with knowledge, truth and the ability to navigate the sexual landscape. How to do just that is a hot topic, particularly in the evangelical Protestant world. From purity rings and purity balls to books and bracelets, an entire culture has developed. But often, it doesn’t seem to have worked. Parents are left wondering where they went wrong and why their children have abandoned sexual purity altogether. Young adults feel crushed and wounded by how their sexuality was treated, often citing what’s come to be known as “purity culture” as one of the main reasons they’re disenchanted with the Church. So where do we go from here? How can we take the good from the conversations we’ve been having, reject what is wrong, and raise our kids with a desire to be pure before God?
We recognize that racism is a complex, sensitive and divisive subject. In light of this, we have sought to be as thorough, nuanced and sensitive as possible. This Parent Guide is longer and more difficult to read than most of our Parent Guides, but appropriately so, given the subject matter. Though we could not cover every angle, we hope and pray this guide appropriately challenges us while encouraging unity.
Sabbath & Rest
Whenever “keeping the Sabbath holy” is presented as an arbitrary command, God quickly turns into a dictator whose job is to invent rules to make us miserable. In the New Testament, Jesus often broke the Sabbath to prove to law-keepers that they had missed the whole point: God has a vision for human flourishing. God has a specific shape of life in which we can be blessed—and believe it or not, resting is part of this. In fact, teenagers (whose whole goal in life is to sleep in as late as humanly possible, amiright?) might be better Sabbath-keepers than we parents. Let’s explore the “big picture” of God’s design for human flourishing and, from this, begin to understand why the Sabbath is relevant (and even fun!) for families today.
Today’s culture teaches teens that rebellion is part of growing up, that hiding one’s actions from prying eyes is normal, and that sex is no big deal. Because of that, sexting has become normalized—everyone does it! Right? Whether your teens attend public school, private school, or homeschool, they are not immune to the influence of culture, thanks to the ubiquity of the internet and smartphones. At some point, they or their friends will be tempted by the ease, seeming playfulness, and safety (no risk of pregnancy OR face-to-face rejection) that sexting offers. May this guide serve as an education in its appeal, its prevalence, its danger, and the underlying heart issues to begin addressing with your teens.
The phone used to be a device whose main purpose was communication. Now, smartphones help us do just about anything: shop, socialize, read a book, do our devotions, take care of finances, date, and maintain our health, to name a few. They are shaping the world in unexpected ways. It’s easy to react out of fear of the challenges that smartphones present. It’s also easy simply to mimic the habits of those around us. Neither of those responses is healthy. Instead, we need to recognize the legitimate benefits and dangers of the smartphone and assess those within a biblical framework while teaching our “digital natives” to do the same.
Snapchat took the world by storm, capturing teens’ attention like Facebook did in its infancy. And while its popularity remains high, adults everywhere are still scratching their heads as to why. Now with more features that increase its popularity and continue to be mimicked by other platforms, it’s important that we parents understand how it works, why it’s so popular, and how to have formative conversations about it with our teens.
This guide will hopefully help put parents back in the driver’s seat because children still need guidance, wisdom, and yes, sometimes even boundaries to keep them healthy and safe on social media as they learn and grow. Though trying to write the Parent Guide to Social Media is, as one Axis employee put it, like trying to write the Parent Guide to the Entire Internet (#impossible), we hope to offer a big-picture perspective, conversation starters, and ways to train them to make wise decisions. It’s easy to try to be our kids’ conscience for them, especially if we’ve already seen them make poor decisions, but it’s better in the long run to do the hard work of training their conscience properly so they can flourish and thrive the entire time they inhabit our social-media-saturated world.
Suicide & Self-Harm Prevention
This guide helps parents know more about the troubling incidence of suicide and self-harm
in the lives of young people. Like other Parent Guides in this series, this tool
provides knowledge, references, and faith-based encouragement on the subject to help
parents connect with their kids. However, we do not pretend to be physicians, healthcare
providers, or even experts on these difficult matters; as such, this resource is NOT
a substitute for medical advice or treatment. It can accompany and support actions
directed and/or confirmed by a qualified healthcare professional, but it is not meant to
replace or preclude any diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional.
Axis cannot be responsible for actions taken without professional medical guidance.
TikTok (formerly Musical.ly) has rapidly gained popularity among teens and tweens since its launch in 2016. As “a destination for short-form mobile videos,” users upload videos of themselves lip-syncing, telling jokes, dancing, etc. For parents of teens and tweens who use the app (or keep asking to), it’s helpful to know what it is, its pitfalls and dangers, and how to talk to them about it in order to help them pursue abundant life in every area of their lives.
Understanding Gen Z
How well do you know your teens? What influences them? How are they different from Millennials or other generations? If the generations have ever confused you, this guide will walk you through them and what you need to know about Gen Z.
If you’ve ever wondered how teens can spend hours upon hours watching random videos on YouTube, you’re not alone! YouTube is a phenomenon that has bypassed many of us adults to win over Gen Z. As the social network they “can’t live without,” we need to know all about it so we can help them think about it biblically.
Check out these additional resources and consider subscribing for helpful information.
- Freedom WKND 2022 Parent Session
Jimmy and Kristin Scroggins: “Full Circle Parenting”
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ effectively.
- Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey Podcast
Upbeat and in-depth, Relatable with Allie Beth Stuckey breaks down the latest in culture, news, theology and politics from a Christian, conservative perspective.
- Christian College Resources & Information
NACCAP (North American Coalition for Christian Admissions Professionals) developed BLUEPRINT as a resource for the Christian community. NACCAP collaborates with hundreds of Christian Universities and Colleges in order to promote Christian higher education.