Useful Parenting Tips to Prepare Your Child as They Head Back to School

By Kayla Sullivan

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The start of another school year is just right around the corner. The fun and relaxed schedule of the summer will quickly fade as structure and routine settles back into households all around the world. To be honest, parents are already working tirelessly to adjust their schedules in advance of the school year’s many activities.

As a parent, it can at times be so easy to become absorbed by all of the things on the to-do list. If we’re not careful, we will miss out on the cues and subtle hints dropped by our kids who are attempting to draw our attention to something that matters to them.

Issues that Our Kids are Facing

Last year, my 7th grader came home visibly upset. Though I took notice immediately, I decided to prepare dinner first and tackle the conversation second.

Following dinner, my husband and I sat down and asked if everything was okay – it wasn’t.

We’re very open in our home, so it does not require excessive coaxing to get someone to spill the beans. I have to admit, I don’t think I was prepared for what I was about to hear.

My teen shared that some friends had announced that they were homosexual and chose to identify with the opposite gender. Chaos and confusion was circling in the mind of my child, who now was unsure of how to respond to friends and suddenly felt uncomfortable in the gym locker room.

These are real challenges that our kids are facing, and the world is quick to tell us how to handle it.

Worldly Influence

Focus on the Family reports in their booklet Equipping Parents to Respond to Gender-Confusing Messages in Schools, that students as young as pre-kindergarten are being exposed to gender diversity content. Some of the activities invite students to draw pictures of their favorite character, but instead dress them in different clothes. One example is Spiderman now donning a tiara.

Some states are also mandating that homosexuality and gender identity have to be taught in health classes.

In May 2019, CBS news reported that California agreed to change their sex education courses. Teachers are now encouraged to discuss gender identity with kindergarteners and provide advice to homosexual teens in regards to navigating relationships and practicing safe sex.

This can become worrisome and troubling, especially if a child has never encountered anything of this nature in the past.

The Importance of Open Communication

Parents, we must keep communication lines open with our children. They need to know that they can come to us with their confusion, complaints about a bad day, or anything else that is important to them.

As our kids face things that they do not fully understand, questions will most definitely arise.  They may suddenly begin questioning their identity amid the confusing influences of adolescence. Take this opportunity to talk to them about who God created them to be.

Make time to regularly dive deep into the Bible with them. Reiterate that God created man and woman, and was pleased with His creation. Share Scripture with them that speaks of God knowing us before we were born, knitting us together in our mother’s womb.  Discuss God’s design for marriage between man and woman.

Remind your kids that people, even those who do not follow God, are worthy of respect. This does not mean that your child has to agree with the choices of their peers. Instead it means that they should not ridicule, ostracize, or otherwise bully an individual whose beliefs are different than theirs.

Don’t downplay their concerns. Be attentive, listen carefully, and prayerfully respond to all that they are disclosing to you in this moment. And remember, while our mission field often is our workplaces, the mission field for our children is the hallways of their schools.

This leads me to my next point.

Remaining Proactive About Internet Usage

The internet is not only a social hub, but it’s also a go to when wanting to know information. There is a chance that your children, despite your best efforts, may already have started to investigate these terms on their own. As you can imagine, this will likely open Pandora’s Box. Be on guard!

Covenant Eyes reports that 71% of teens hide their online behavior from their parents.

Parents Television Council found that 90% of 8 to 16 year-olds report viewing pornography online, most while doing homework.

In our home, it’s important that our kids access the internet only when in a common area. While I cannot sit beside them every minute of the day, being in an open atmosphere gives me the ability to walk up behind them to see what they are viewing.

Make sure to set parental controls. Cover your bases on all devices. Contact your internet provider to see if they can offer filtering at the source. Consider accountability or filtering/blocking programs that will help monitor your child’s activity while protecting their young eyes.

Tim Lordan, staff director of the Internet Education Foundation, stated,

“Parents have to get involved. Just as they know every detail of the playground around the corner – the jungle gym, the swings – they need to know their kids’ online playground as well.”

While it is important to remain vigilant in your home, you need to also remember that pornography exposure can happen elsewhere.  For this reason, it is crucial for parents to ensure open communication with their children.

Discovering Questionable Activity

If you discover your child seeking out questionable content, take a deep breath before talking to them. Ask the Lord to give you wisdom when engaging in the conversation, and keep your anger in check. A child is most likely to respond in an environment where they feel safe instead of an atmosphere that is attacking, intense, and makes them feel shameful and dirty.

Kids are being exposed to things earlier than ever. They are now encountering issues that I didn’t give much thought to when I was in high school. This can seem scary and overwhelming, especially when we want to raise and lead our kids well.  Fortunately for parents, we do not have to try and figure things out on our own.

Thanks to great resources, such as the Conquer Series, parents can begin to understand the assault of the enemy in regards to sexuality. Topics such as how the brain begins to change through the viewing of pornography, why it’s difficult to break free, the importance of renewing the mind, and the weapons provided by God to fight back are all covered in this 10-week study.

What the Church Can Do to Help

Churches are urged to consider offering Conquer Groups this Fall.  This will not only equip parents to tackle tough issues within their family but will also help those who may be struggling in this regard themselves.  Some may even choose to offer the Conquer Series for the teens of the church and surrounding community to help raise awareness about the dangers of internet pornography and sexual addiction.

Don’t let the children of your community become another statistic.  Sign up at and plan your next small group study today!

The Conquer Series is a powerful cinematic series which is helping over 1 million men conquer porn and walk in freedom.

Get started, and order the Conquer Series today.

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