One time during a ministry event I was hiking through the woods with a group of middle school boys. The sky was clear, the temperature was perfect, and there were no bugs. It was a fun middle school ministry moment. But something else about the moment made it particularly exceptional.
Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com/Diego Cervo
The boys in my group were talking! They were jabbering away— completely unprovoked. I didn’t have to do any work to sustain the conversation. I said a few things here and there but mostly marveled at observing 12 year-olds attempt to articulate their thoughts.
Teenagers by nature will push the envelope. In the process of defining their identity they may resist family rules, try a new hairdo, wear clothes they wouldn’t have dreamed about wearing a few years ago, and listen to music they know drives their parents crazy.
Photo courtesy of DollarPhotoClub.com/Ilike
Parents valiantly endure this defiance and can usually find a happy middle ground between needing to control every aspect of their teenagers’ lives and providing their kids the freedom to make their own choices. But there is one type of rebellion that is particularly frightening and arresting for parents of teens.
The National Council on Fireworks Safety
Physical touch is an important way to connect with the people in our lives, teenagers included. It is especially important for people whose primary love language is to give or receive love through touch.
Photo courtesy of dollarphotoclub.com/leungchopan
Unfortunately there are a multitude of factors preventing adults from connecting with middle school boys through physical touch. Here are a few:
This guest post is written by Jackie Tysdal
, who had a son in my ministry a few years ago. I asked Jackie to share about how her relationship with her teenage son. I respect and appreciate how she tries to connect with him in healthy, age-appropriate ways. I know you’ll benefit from her wisdom!
You know those opinions and advice you get from everyone once you have kids? When my son was 3 years old someone told me that as he gets older he is going to be more into his dad and forget about mom for a while. I thought “WHAT? Not MY son!”
The real Jackie with her real son!
That was not going to happen to us. I pray he is close to his dad but he is NOT going to drop mom! So, that was the starting point of my intentional relationship with my son. I do not want to be just a teacher and bystander in his life. I want to enjoy life with him and be an active participant on his journey. Here are 5 things I do stay connected with my teenage son:
Parents and youth workers should assume and hope for the best regarding the middle school boys they serve. However, I have seen enough young men stumble into a pornography addiction to know that even the best-behaved boys from the best homes can get caught up in it.
Photo Courtesy of Dollar Photo Club/BlueSkyImages
There is much to be said about teenage boys and pornography. However, in this post I would like to focus on the following 10 ways to help when you find out a middle school boy under your care is struggling with pornography:
Three years ago I was graduating from seminary and looking for a new project to pursue outside of work. My friends Josh and Danna strongly encouraged me to start this blog. I’m grateful for their initial prodding and for the encouragement that you, my readers, have provided along the way.
Here are some fun stats from the past three years at joebudish.com:
- I have made more than 200 posts, many of them coming from guest writers.
- Three of my top ten most-viewed posts are from guest writers. The #1 most-viewed post was one written by my friend Susan about parenting teenage boys. The most popular post that I wrote myself was, of all things, about blow dart wars.
- More than 20,000 different people have viewed my blog at one time or another and all those people have contributed more than 50,000 total page views.
- My blog readers are located in the US, Russia, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, and Japan, among other countries.
- A majority of my readers are between ages 25 and 44. Roughly half are men and half are women. I don’t know how Google Analytics can track all that stuff, but it’s fun to see the data!
I can’t explain why God has given me such a deep admiration and respect for middle school boys. All I know is that middle school is a critical stage and I love helping other adults embrace such an exciting, weird, and eye-opening time in boys’ lives!
Bert Fulks Blog
February 23, 2017
Confession: I live in a Christian bubble. I work at a church, I regularly interact with church families, and most of my close friends go to my church. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for connecting with people outside of the church. This imbalance bothers me because Jesus calls his followers to make disciples of all nations, which includes the people right in front of me. Something is out of whack if I’m not making disciples in my personal life.
Photo courtesy of Adobe Stock/Syda Productions
Over the past year, God has begun to increase my desire to make connections with people who don’t know Jesus. I sense God calling me to increase my personal level of outreach in everyday life.
“They might as well have set a stack of porn magazines in my room.” That’s what my young adult friend said as he reflected on his parents allowing him to have a computer in his bedroom when he was a teenager. Looking back, he knows it was a bad idea.
Photo courtesy of Dollar Photo Club/goldencow_images
During middle and high school he got mired in pornography for a few years because of that computer. His porn addiction made him feel gross and ashamed and he had little self-confidence. His parents’ greatest fault was providing little to no accountability with his computer use.
I know you believe and hope for the best in your middle school son, as you should. However on behalf of all teenage boys I would plead that you don’t give him total freedom with a computer, iPad, iPod, or cell phone. Don’t make an exception for your son and turn a blind eye just because “he’s a good kid” or “he’d never look at porn” or “he’s not like other boys.”