Recommended at age 13+
Prepare and challenge your child to cherish and commit to purity.
We all want our kids to walk with integrity. We want them to make good choices. But, we can’t control the decisions our kids make. They are facing a complicated world with many temptations. What can we do as parents to prepare them for a life of integrity?
It’s important for our kids to know their integrity flows from their personal relationship with God. We want our kids to find their identity in Christ, to know they are God’s child. They are not a Christian because of the choices they make. They are a Christian because they’ve accepted God’s gift of salvation. God’s spirit lives in them and guides them. We can encourage our kids that God is faithful to help us make tough choices, face temptation and live a life of integrity.
There are many areas of whole and holy living we can talk about with our kids.
For middle school students, school becomes more difficult and cheating can be more common. There may be times it’s very tempting to cheat on a test or copy homework. Something in our heart is off if we are ok with the dishonesty of cheating.
The Bible places an important value on our sexuality. It’s a powerful gift, meant to bind two lives together. We can have integrity in this area of our lives by
- Honoring yourself – you are worthy of love and respect.
- Honoring others – each individual we encounter is worth of love and respect. Our language
- Honoring God’s plan for intimacy and sex. Marriage is the safe design God has created for sexual intimacy.
The Bible also gives us many warnings about the love of money and dealing fairly with people.
We can live with financial integrity by stewarding our money wisely and never cheating anyone.
As a Christian, we want to honor God with everything we view and read. Ask yourself before you view or read something, does this honor God? How much time an I giving to this? Does what I’m doing harm others or warp my own perceptions?
What other areas of your life can you think of that require integrity?
Keep An Ongoing Dialogue
These areas of integrity aren’t one and done conversations. These weighty issues need to be revisited as kids get older and face different circumstances. Your level of comfort discussing these issues will create a safe place for kids to bring questions and doubts.
Use Failure As An Opportunity For Learning
It’s a not a matter of if our kids will fail, it’s when. Think back about some of your failures growing up, how were they received? Who could you talk to? When kids fail, our reactions and conversations will have a big impact. We might be disappointed or angry in the moment about our kid’s actions, but having a plan ahead of time about how you want to respond can help. These failure moments can be an opportunity to demonstrate forgiveness and an opportunity to discuss with your kids a better way.
You Are A Helpful Role Model (both in your success and mistakes!)
Sometimes as adults it’s hard to have these conversations because we feel like we’ve failed in areas of integrity. While our kids may not need to know every detail of our mistakes, the more we can model living with integrity as well as modeling humility and seeking reconciliation in our mistakes, our kids will learn how to walk with God in our best and worst moments.
Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, by Carey Nieuwhof and Reggie Joiner
Good Sex, by Kara Powell