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If you have tweens or teenagers you have mostly likely had a debate or two with them about curfew, choices in academics or friendships, or even politics and religion. As my children have grown older I have noticed a trend that I know didn’t exist in my circle of friends when I was a youth – tweens and teens questioning and challenging the parents of their friends. I recently had a 14-year-old friend of my kids question me about my views on creation and evolution, when he knew our views wouldn’t agree and wanted to debate me on several points. Frankly, I don’t expect my kids to be questioning their friends’ parents in ways that incite disagreements.
First of all, let me be clear that these are discussions that parents should be having – with their own children. Religion – For many families religion is a core central belief that develops over time as a process of parents sharing ideas, morals, values, and beliefs with their children. Politics – Political values and opinions are often tied with religious and moral beliefs within families. Sex – There can be nothing more difficult for parents to discuss with their children than sex and intimacy and all that it entails.
Gossip – Whether it is about the neighbors or the science teacher, gossip is that ratty, unbecoming of ragging on others without giving them the opportunity to respond. Now consider these topics and consider another adult discussing them with your children, without your knowledge, input, or consent.
Before your teen gets stressed out or frustrated with their homework and research projects, let's offer them some tips to help them have a productive and successful school year - in school. Sue ScheffBroward County Parenting Teens ExaminerSue Scheff is an Author and Parent Advocate.


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THINK Summer Institute: A unique opportunity for gifted teenagersThe Davidson Institute is offering an intense summer learning opportunity for gifted 13- to 16-year-old students. These are your children with whom you struggle to lead without smothering, and into whose hearts you try to impress your values and expectations. I have been on the receiving end of these discussions, from everything to religion to finances, and it never ceases to surprise me that children are so comfortable engaging adults in debates about topics that were once taboo. More importantly, I don’t think that adults should be having these conversations with kids without the involvement of the other parents.
The issues arise when adults choose to discuss these topics with the young friends of their children. The foundation for those discussions often rest heavily on the foundations of religious and moral standards. If it makes your skin creep just a little as you wonder what they might be saying, that is the thin, grey line between appropriate and inappropriate conversations. She is also on an incredible journey as she home schools her 4 children, and is supported through it all by her husband of more than 15 years, Steve. How do you handle it when their same-aged friends attempt to have these same discussions with you – the adult and the parent of their friend?
While I am the first proponent of raising independent thinkers and children who stand up for their values, there is a grey line that keeps appearing in my relationships with the friends of my kids, and between other children and adults. Certain things are just off-limits when it comes to appropriate conversations to have with the friends of your children.


There are certain topics that are on the thin grey line when it comes to things we as parents should be discussing with the friends of our children. Make sure you remind your kids, too, about the real world differences between their viewpoints as a child and those of the parents of their friends. Provide a space for homework, stocked with necessary supplies, such as pencils, pens, paper, dictionaries, a computer, and other reference materials. Help your child focus on homework by removing distractions, such as television, radio, telephone, and interruptions from siblings and friends. Consider doing some of your work, such as paying bills or writing letters, during your child's homework time. They can find their favorite videos on any screen device and FaceTime with grandparents pretty much on demand.
When is it OK to debate and discuss certain topics with children, especially other people’s children? At the beginning of the year, you may want to ask your child's teacher these questions: What kinds of assignments will you give?



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