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Plan Ahead Parenting
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A good share of parenting is spent preparing our children. We prepare them for bed, for school, for outdoor play, for summer camp…. but do we prepare them enough for what they may face in life? It’s important to plan ahead for what they will say when asked to do something they know is wrong.

You can help in a fun way by sitting around the table and sharing scenarios with possible solutions. You read the scenario with solutions, and then give your child time to offer other ideas. Here are some scenarios appropriate for ages 10 and older to get you started. You can then add your own.

Scenarios

At lunchtime you go behind the gym and catch two friends smoking weed. They offer you a smoke. If you’ve planned ahead you can:
  • Say that you’re into sports and want to take care of your body.
  • Say that you don’t want to start a habit that could lead to even stronger drugs.
  • Say, “No” and go talk with your school counselor or an adult you trust.
  • Other ideas?

You’re at a friend’s house and his parents are gone. He shows you where his dad keeps beer and suggests you both have one. If you’ve planned ahead you can:

  • Say, “Let’s have pop instead. It’s better for us anyway.”
  • Say, “No” and leave. When you get home tell you parents what happened.
  • Say, “No” and stay to make sure he doesn’t drink. Tell him that even one beer can lead to becoming a teenage alcoholic.
  • Other ideas?

You’re at school with a group of girls and they start gossiping about another girl. She’s a friend of yours. If you’ve planned ahead you can:

  • Walk away without saying anything.
  • Say, “Hey, let’s not talk bad about other girls, okay?”
  • Bring up something nice about the girl, sharing a good quality she has.
  • Other ideas?

You’re at a park with friends and a boy you know tries to kiss you. You like him, but if you’ve planned ahead you can:

  • Tell him you think that you’re both too young to kiss.
  • Tell him that you don’t want your first kiss to happen when you’re so young.
  • Tell him that you like him, but starting a physical relationship would actually ruin things.
  • Other ideas?

You’re at school taking a test and a friend asks to peek at your answers when the teacher isn’t looking. If you’ve planned ahead you can:

  • Say, “No. Cheating is wrong.”
  • Say, “No” and tell her that you’ll help her study for the next test.
  • Tell her that it’s wrong to use your friendship in that way. You studied, she didn’t.
  • Other ideas?
If we can help our kids plan ahead, they won’t be taken by surprise and make poor choices. They will have a confidence that says, “I can handle this! I know what to do.” And since you’ve discussed options as a family, they’ll feel they can come to you during these tough decision-making years.

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By Nancy Canwell. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.


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