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Okay, so I got asked this question recently and I’ll never forget like the mom was standing up, she had a baby in tow, she’s like rocking the baby And this is her question and I thought it was so great. She said you know, we have elementary kids and I’m noticing that some of our friends like they don’t monitor screens or anything, so should I let my kid go to their house? Like, how do I handle this?
0:01:00 – Speaker 2
Such a great question because it’s so common. I know in our circumstance. We live in a cul-de-sac with kids ranging from newborn baby up to now 18. And so we’ve got all these kids playing together and being in community together and everybody’s got different rules, standards, expectations. How do we manage that? How do we do that without burning bridges and keeping community?
0:01:24 – Speaker 1
Jo Kim, do you want to go to each of them and knock on their door and be like are you a nextTalk family? Are you a nextTalk family? You know it’s so weird, we’re so weird.
0:01:30 – Speaker 2
We’re just joking. Do not do that. We’re not doing that. Do not do that.
0:01:33 – Speaker 1
No, you can say that in casual conversation over coffee, but do not go to their door and knock on it.
0:01:38 – Speaker 2
Just stay on your nextTalk, family Well blessings from above. The Lord knows that I’m a secret hermit and I just like will close the curtains and I like my privacy when I’m at home because I’ve lived like an out and about life And some of our sweetest neighbors have been to nextTalk events and they made that connection when we first moved in and they’re like everybody guess what.
0:02:08 – Speaker 1
So they’re knocking on your door? Hey, I’ve got a nextTalk question for you.
0:02:10 – Speaker 2
They knocked on the door for me, exactly No, but they are the best. We have the best cul-de-sac and we have worked through all of these things, so I’ve got a lot to say on this.
0:02:19 – Speaker 1
Well, and I think many of us find ourselves in this situation, like we’re parenting not just screens, but all sorts of different topics. We’re parenting one way, and maybe our best friends or our neighbors where our kids spend a lot of time Like we don’t see eye to eye on things. So how do I parent this and how do I have these conversations? Immediately? what I said in response was well, you’re at this nextTalk event and this is a fantastic question. Why don’t you use this as a launching pad into a conversation? And it may go something like this I went to this event, i heard this lady speak and, oh my gosh, there’s just so much that I learned.
And now I’m reevaluating, like, how we’re going to do screens, what we’re going to allow, what. That way, you come off on a tone, because I think and I’ve been rubbed this way too sometimes when parents approach me and they don’t like how I’m parenting, they make it seem like they have it all figured out and I’m clueless And that just is not going to go over. Well, so that’s not our tone, that we want to come off on ever, because, like, we’re all learning, every day We’re learning something new, right?
0:03:21 – Speaker 2
Well, let’s be honest, even if they aren’t using that tone, we self-deprecate all the time. So someone might explain here’s what I’m doing in my family and we may receive that in the wrong way, and so you have to be prepared for that, because we’re always like am I, am I doing it right? You know, as parents, we’re always struggling am I messing it up? So it’s a delicate conversation, no matter what the tone is.
0:03:41 – Speaker 1
Well, yeah, and I think that’s why it’s so important to say you know, i’m learning about this online stuff And I think I may change up my guidelines or I think I may look at this a little differently. So one of the examples given was you know, they allow their kids to go upstairs in bedrooms, close the doors and get on screens, and so my kids are going up there with them and they’re Googling all this stuff. So that’s a perfect example of being able to say I went to this event or I heard this podcast, or you know, i was exposed to whatever, and I didn’t even think about little kids stumbling upon porn while they’re playing an innocent app. And so now maybe we need to create some guidelines around that, or that’s what I’m thinking. Would you like to do this together?
It may be fun for our families to get on the same page together and easier for our kids. And then one of the one of the guidelines that we implemented when the kids were little was just, you know, no screens behind closed doors, especially when they were small and little and they’re not sure what they’re seeing And it may make them feel weird and icky and they don’t know what to tell you. I mean, these are just. We may need to protect their little hearts. Have some more guidelines in place to protect their little hearts.
0:04:51 – Speaker 2
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, those are some of the guidelines that we have in place and our family. And I will say, if you’re already doing some of these things, let’s say you’re already a nextTalk family, like we were, and we move into a neighborhood with all of these kids and you’re like, well, i don’t want to lie and say that I went to this event, like, how do I handle it in that situation? So what I found myself doing is, as we’ve gotten to know, people and neighbors have come over and kids and new friends. As our kids grow up in school, i will text the mom or I’ll meet them out in the garage or wherever at the pickup line And I’ll say Hey, this is what we’re doing in our family. What do you think about that? I don’t say, do you want to do that, i just ask what do you think about that?
And that has opened up so many great conversations. Most of the times they say you know, i never thought about that, or tell me more about it, or why do you do that? And then we’re able to kind of come to an understanding together And it’s not just me telling them this is the law at my house And it’s been really good. I haven’t had any pushback yet And of course there’s. There’s going to be at some point, i’m sure, but so far most families are like, okay, i see where you’re coming from And I’m okay with that. Well, again.
0:05:58 – Speaker 1
I think it’s the tone that you’re saying. Kim, if you were like this is right and you are wrong and did it, did it, there would be push because that’s like everybody wants to rebel against that. That’s not a good way to approach something right. But you’re approaching it as I’m still learning. But this is something we’ve done, that I’ve seen, that’s beneficial And it’s helpful, And I worry less than about what could be going down behind the closed door kind of thing.
Another thing when my kids were little and I did this probably through seventh grade I would text or email like if I was hosting a birthday party or whatever. I would text or email, you know, the invitation to the parents And then I would put a little thing on there, like, if your kids have phones, just FYI, i’m going to ask them to leave it on the kitchen island because I want them to just be present and have fun at the party. They can check it at any time that they need. You know it’ll be right there on the kitchen island.
Um, and I was kind of scared when I started doing that that people would be like you are such a weirdo, what is going on? But I actually had two different moms that I didn’t know contact me and say, oh my gosh, this is so amazing. I’m going to start doing that. So you never know. Also, when you do something or when you have a guideline, that somebody else may see it and be like I’m going to try that. That’s cool. Clearly communicating your expectations are very important here, especially when you’re hosting things at your home.
0:07:22 – Speaker 2
Yeah, Um, and I found that a lot too. The the old, you know compliment sandwich has worked a lot with raising my kids with their friends, who have different guidelines. So I mean, I know that’s old school, but it works still. Like I’ll say, I love how y’all are doing this with your kids, Like this is really cool. That’s something I hadn’t thought about. You know, recently we started doing this and I’ve noticed the impact on their friendships, like less screen time or I feel safer when others are over And being able to say that. And then, and oh you know, last time when my kids were over, they said that how much they enjoyed the fact that you had arts and crafts out instead of doing video games. Like that whole compliment sandwich idea works in this space too, Because it makes this parent feel like, okay, I’m doing something right, And then they’re more open to hearing what you’re doing also.
0:08:08 – Speaker 1
Well, i think the bigger conversation is here is we’re all insecure in our parenting. We’re all trying to figure this out. If we’re all honest, we all take a deep breath and say is this going to work? Is this, is this going to turn out okay? Like, am I really messing my kid? Like we’re all feeling that way, right?
0:08:23 – Speaker 2
Should I start saving money for therapy now?
0:08:25 – Speaker 1
Yeah, Well, it’s just. I mean, what we don’t want to do is again I’m not going to say that We’re all going to be in that tone of like we have it all figured out and we’re right and they’re wrong, because we’re all learning from each other, especially in this new era of screens everywhere and all the information that’s available to our kids. I mean it is we say it all the time complete new territory. So we’re all figuring it out together. It’s so funny you say that, kim. I joke with my 18 year old. You know I’m like we started nextTalk when you were nine. You were like an experiment and we had some rocky times and some good times and all the time you know that everything I did wrong with you. Now I’m telling parents not to do that. You know we like laugh all the time. You got a poor kid. I mean, who knows Who knows Right Your sacrifice is not in vain.
Thank you for being an experimental job. Anyway, yeah, and you know, i also want to say you know I use the story of like when you’re hosting, setting an example, kind of thing When they get older. You got to be real careful with this, because you can’t be a crazy mom about this or it just gets real weird as they get older. I know for a little while, like older middle school and early high school, my kids would actually communicate with their friends. Hey, let’s try not to be on our phones. Like I want to go outside, i want to, you know, and I would let them communicate it, but we would be having conversations in the back about you need to communicate your expectations. What do you want out of this party? What do you want to do? Are you going to be upset if everybody’s on their phone And so you have to communicate that now because you’re old enough. I can’t call the parents, that would be Crazy.
And then, as they got older, i let them figure it out, you know, and so I did it first, and then I talked them through how to communicate with their friends. And then, as they got older, i let and we did have some parties where it went south And I’m like well, did you communicate? I mean, oh, you know. No, i got to figure that out, you know, because when they have people over, they want to do fun things. I do have a really cool story. One time I think it was 16 or 17 year olds I had a house full of them. There was this moment where they went outside at night to play flashlight tag And it I was like this is amazing. This is amazing that they’re able to communicate with their friends and say let’s not just sit around on our screens while we’re here, let’s do something fun. So again, those conversations go a long way.
0:10:49 – Speaker 2
Gosh, what a great life skill.
Like, yes, we train them up and we were an example, not just for the neighbors and the friends, but for our own kids on what these conversations look like.
As we’re talking to them in the background and behind the scenes, and as we’re processing with them through these different situations, they’re getting to see like, okay, this is what this looks like. You know, when they’re young, this is what this feels like. And then they get to an age where you’re they’re still under your roof, so they can fail and you can walk them through it. They can fall and you can help them understand what went well and what didn’t. And then, by the time that they’re ready to launch, like your daughter is, you feel like, okay, we’ve covered all this, they’ve learned, they’ve walked through the good and the bad and now they know how to do it well. Like that’s just like a full circle kind of moment in these types of conversations. But I do think it’s important to look at the other side of it, because in a perfect world, everybody would be like, oh my gosh, that’s such a great idea We’re going to totally implement that at our house too.
But that’s not going to happen every time. You will have families that are like you know, we’re comfortable with them having, you know, screens in their bedrooms And that is their family, their choice. They get to do that And we get to choose for our family. And so then comes the rub like what do we do, if our kids are good friends with a family who has different guidelines, that isn’t willing to change your flex? I know for us we haven’t had a lot of that, but the one time we had a little issue, i had to decide what was more important for the age of my kids Their integrity, keeping their heart and mind safe, my role as their mother, protecting them, or my friendship with this other mom and their friendship with those kids. And that’s not an easy decision. It really isn’t.
I don’t take that lightly. It was a lot of prayer, a lot of conversation And God was really good in the fact that I met with that mom and I said you know these are some of my concerns And I really understand where you’re coming from And I completely honor and respect your choice. But I’m not comfortable with these things. And I was very specific and gave her examples And I said, if you know, we can’t get on the same page, i think we’re going to just have to change the dynamic of our time together as friends and with our kids. And she respected that And we ended up changing the dynamic. It was that when her kids and my kids wanted to play, they came to my house only because she was not willing to have guidelines at her house And we worked it through. That’s not going to happen every time, but the conversation needs to. You have to be honest, straightforward and willing to explain where you’re coming from if it gets to that point, and be willing to stand up for your kids.
0:13:19 – Speaker 1
Well, i love this example, Kim, because one of the things that I’ve been talking about with my older teens recently is, when you’re a Christian in this world and you have clear boundaries and guidelines, there’s always going to be a rub, and you got to figure out how to handle that. And a lot of people don’t handle it well And then they become angry, bitter Christians that we, you know. You see that you don’t want to be a void. They avoid, they don’t talk, they, you know whatever. And so I have been talking to my kids about how to love like Jesus, but also not waiver. And what does that look like?
And it is a messy on all different kinds of conversations, not just screens in bedrooms, all different. And it is a life skill that our kids need, because what’s happening is either Christians are totally avoiding these conversations because they don’t want to have them and they don’t want to ruffle feathers, or they’re totally switching their beliefs And they’re like whatever, just go with whatever, because it’s too hard. And so this messy middle is where we are, and I love your example because it’s so true There’s going to be a rub if you’re going to be a Christian in this world. What better way to start out like you’ll like your kids if they said to you why can’t we go to their house?
This is a perfect conversation that you can say without shaming them. They have different rules, they have different guidelines, and what’s really important to me is to protect your heart and mind. I have to be careful, i have to be aware, and this is why we’re in this kind of middle ground. But look, i still love her. She’s still my friend. We’ve just decided this is how it’s going to work, and what a great teachable moment for your kids, right?
0:14:55 – Speaker 2
Oh, my goodness, so many good conversations. and with that friend, because I think it surprised her that I stood my ground but also loved her through it. And as time went on I’d say about a year and a half later conversation opened up again. but tell me a little bit more why you believe this, and I think that’s how God works sometimes on people who are just rejecting the gospel or struggling with having clear guidelines. If they see someone standing their ground, at first they may back off, but later on, if they see they still love me and they’re standing for what they believe in, it just is this beautiful space where conversations get to happen that wouldn’t have before.
0:15:36 – Speaker 1
Sometimes, you just have to trust God, even when you have to have a very difficult conversation and you’re like, oh, i don’t want to do this, i don’t want to say this, i just want to ignore the issue. But if you dive into it, man, look what God can do. So be nice, be kind, love no matter what, but also stand up for what you believe in And have the tough conversation. hey, i’m learning a lot. This is something we’re implementing. What do you think about it? Or maybe your kids are so young that you could say what if we tried to do this together? What if we band together? And then I wish I would have had that. I didn’t have that when my kids were little, because I was just starting to figure this out. So, pray about it, think about it, just whatever you do, be kind, be nice and pray and decide what’s best for your family.
Transcribed by https://podium.page