ParentLife writer Tonya Grant provides 13 questions to get your preteen talking about media choices and peer influence. Try some of these with your preteen about one of his favorite media topics.
- Is it possible to be liked by everyone? (Role-play some examples.)
- How is this (activity/friend/pursuit) going to make you a stronger person? Are there any ways it could hurt you now or later?
- Will the group still like you if you choose not to participate? If not, how will you handle that? If not, what does that say about the group?
- When did this (person/form of media) start getting popular? Has it always been popular? Do you think it may one day not be popular anymore?
- Tell me some reasons you like this (song, style, movie).
- What do you know about the example this (music group, actor, person at school/church) sets? Do you aspire to act like that or have a similar reputation?
- Do you think I would allow this star to babysit (you or younger children)? Why (not)?
- Do you think how this person acts is okay? Why (not)? What do you think are the long-term effects of choices, behaviors, and lifestyles like this?
- What do you think Jesus might say if He was sitting down having a conversation with this person you admire?
- Have you read any review of this movie? (Direct your child to a trusted site like pluggedin.com; read and discuss the information presented there.)
- How do you feel when I tell you “no” about this, but your friends are allowed to participate in it? What would make you more willing to feel that way?
- Is this person’s main message in agreement, opposed to, or neutral about our Christian values? How can media that is strongly opposite our values affect our thinking?
- How do you want to be remembered?
Initiating conversations like these will not only guide your preteen in his decisions, it will also help your know his heart better. Be open to having your mind changed as well; but remember, you are the parent. You have the right to lay down the law in your home.
What topics have you struggled with when it comes to talking to your preteens?
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