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Another view on Raising Pure Teens

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I mentioned in my 7-quick Takes post that my two teens and I had the opportunity this week to hear Jason Evert speak about chastity.  Mr. Evert is an international speaker and has appeared on EWTN.  He is a graduate of Franciscan University and has a counseling background. He is also a an author and offered many of his books at low cost at the meeting.

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My situation was kind of ironic.  I was sitting in the church listening to this fantastic chastity speaker exactly one year after the birth of my only grand child - a little girl born outside of wedlock to my then 18-year-old son.   And that's only half of it. Two of my other sons have cohabitated with their girlfriends for years.

As I listened to Mr. Evert's talk I checked off a list in my mind:

  • Pray for my kids - check
  • Talk to them about sex openly - check
  • Explain God's plan for marriage- check
  • Lots of talks at Franciscan University's Youth weekends.
  • Love at home - check
  • Involved parents - check
  • Keeping them away from porn - check!
  • Parents who try to walk the walk themselves  - check!!
Mr. Evert does say in his book Raising Pure Teens, and he also said in his talk, that even the best father in the universe, God himself, has wayward children!  That does make me feel somewhat better. But I still think there was a missing ingredient and after some reflection I think I know what part of it might be.

The parents of the girls my boys hooked up with, did not share our world view. And I think that is what tilted the balance out of our favor even after all the training and loving faithful teaching we put into our boys.

The first set of parents was Christian but without a faith tradition or a home church.  The second set was Catholic and even sent their kids to Catholic school, although they felt their Sunday obligation was met by the school mass on Thursday. With both sets of parents, it was a struggle and almost a confrontation to get them to send our sons home at night.  We would call our sons on their cells, and then called parents, and even went over to their homes to retrieve our prodicals!  It was a constant battle with these folks and their excuses were "Well they're big kids now and we can't really tell them what to do."  

No amount of lecturing, yelling, withholding of privileges or even disabling the car was able to overcome the low hurdle that these parents presented for our sons to get to their very willing daughters. And frankly, when the first two moved out with their girlfriends AND THEIR PARENTS at least it finally brought peace to our home and removed their influence with my younger children.

The third parent was a single mom. They lived in an apartment building which threw all sorts of red flags up for me.  I wouldn't be able to drive by and make sure she was there when my son was visiting, and despite assurances that she was there when he was visiting, clearly that wasn't always the case. Every week our son would visit his girlfriend and talk about how her mother was always there because she was so tired from the work week.  But once he was in that building we couldn't go in to get him, and he wouldn't return our calls. It changed his behavior, and now we know why. 


I have three remaining children at home and this although Mr. Pete and I are continuing to all of what Mr. Evert suggested, we are doing a few other things as well.

  • No jobs in high school.  Maybe some seasonal work or Izzy could sell via her Etsy shop, but other than that, no regular part time work. I think there were a lot of influences at outside jobs for the two older boys that undermined us.
  • No going steady in high school.  I say that reluctantly because Mr. Pete and I are high school sweethearts but I just don't think that can be done in the 21st century.
  • Our house is the house for the teens to come visit.  We're making it the cool place to hang out and a safe place for the friends of our teens.
  • We no longer trust that a parent will be there. If we call, and no parent can talk to us, we're coming over and our teen is coming home with us. 
  • Houses only.  Absolutely no apartment visits. 
  • and only homes of parents we know to be practicing participating Catholics or devout church going Christians.





Go check it out at the This, That and the Other Thing Blog.


Comments

melody said…
Thanks so much for posting this. Raising teens in this culture is so rough. I am so grateful for homeschooling but there are some missing elements to the overall conversation. Your post touches on them nicely. I'm sharing this. Not to finger wag in any way but to help get the important conversations going. God bless you!
Janette said…
I don't think you mean it that way- but it sounds as if you blame the girls' parents for the journey your boys took. They have free will. They knew the "rules". They chose what they did. That does not mean that you should not minimize the temptation for your youngers. I get that.
Letting the others off the hook by blaming the parents or taking the blame on yourself is not permitting free will to work, is it?
God will use their journey (as they did use yours and He uses mine) to create the person who will glorify Him when given the chance.
Remember old Josh Harris was a very naughty boy- but never really got caught until he caught Christ.

We did most of the things you listed- but we did not plan it. We just lucked into it.
My kids "hung out" with a large group of kids- much like your youngers are doing. They ran, studied, went to dances and just had a great time together. By having that influence, they learned what they did and did not like for their future mates (while being too tired to explore other options with single partners).
Is there that type of possibility for your kids?
Thanks Melody. I agree - it's important to share information and get the conversation going!
Janette, I think there are certain recipes for disaster. Jason Evert covers a lot of those in his book, Raising Pure Teens But he hasn't raised teenagers yet and so I think he has missed the element of making sure the parents of the friends your teens hang with are on the same page that you are!

If it had ever occurred to me that parents would allow my 17 year old son to stay at their house until 2 a.m. I'm sure I never would have allowed him to visit there!! It never would have occurred to me that a mother of a beautiful teenage daughter would leave her alone for hours with my teenage son!

I guess I blame myself more for not being more aggressive in scoping all of this out beforehand. And I certainly hand a big bunch of blame on my sons too. But those parents aren't blameless and I think that needs to be understood and recognized as well. The parents of the kids your teens hang with will be your allies... or not. Parents trying to raise pure teens can't assume that those parents are always on the same side.
RAnn said…
I think the only experts on how to raise pure kids are those who only have one or two kids who just happened to do what the parents wanted (or at least gave that appearance to the parents) or people who haven't raised teens yet.