Solutions June 2016 - Page 27

Talking with Your Teen About Tough Questions: Basic Principles An adapted excerpt from Critical Conversations by Tom Gilson © 2016 by Tom Gilson. Published by Kregel Publications. All rights reserved. There is one primary thing that keeps parents from talking to their teens about issues related to homosexuality and same sex marriage: it’s awkward. But there are ways to break through that discomfort. I’m so grateful that my son and daughter, now in college and beyond, have felt the freedom to remain open with us as parents. We haven’t been perfect parents—far from it—but we’ve found ways to keep lines of communication open with them. Here are five principles I’ve learned through my own experience and the experience of others for talking with your teen about tough subjects— general principles that you can apply to much more than LGBT issues. By Tom Gilson 1. Ask Good Questions Every parent wants their teen to be open with them. One of the best ways to help them open up is by asking good questions. (Jesus was a master at asking questions!) Here are some example questions for you to consider asking your teen. •Do you have any gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender friends? What’s it like for you when they talk about their relationships or their feelings? •What do you think about gay marriage being allowed now? •Do your friends think of Christians as being anti-gay? •Do you know what you think about the whole issue? •Which gay-rights issues make the most sense to you? Which ones don’t make sense to you? •What questions have come up in school about gay rights? Have you discussed LGBT issues in any of your classes? •Does it make you uncomfortable that our church preaches and teaches against homosexuality? What would your friends say if they heard that message? Obviously some of these fall into the category of dangerous questions—dangerous for your teen, that is. He or she may wonder, Should I answer what SMG Solutions 27