Hot Buttons is a weekly feature of chooseNOWministries in which parents are offered a strategic scenario to use as a script for discussing tough issues with their teens. This column is based on the Hot Buttons book series with the first two books, Hot Buttons: Dating, and Hot Buttons: Internet Edition, releasing on 5/1/12.
First, tell your teens this story as though it’s happening to them:
You’re at church and a few of your friends decide to run across the street to grab some breakfast instead of going to service. Your parents are in their Bible study class so they’ll never find out. If you don’t go with your friends to eat you’ll be stuck sitting alone in service with your stomach growling. What do you do?
Now, Mom or Dad, offer the following options with no personal commentary. Let your teen think about the choices and make an honest decision.
- You stay in church–it would be really disappointing to your parents if they found out you left. Plus, wouldn’t God get mad if you ditched church.
- You tell your friends you’re going to go into service but you’ll meet up with them if it’s boring.
- You agree to go with your friends since you can order the sermon on tape…not that you will.
- You want to go, but you go ask for permission from your mom or dad first.
Crucial step: Use this scenario to guide a discussion about cheating. Be very careful not to sound judgmental or accusatory. Remember, your teen is exploring thoughts and first-impressions—these aren’t actual choices. . .yet.
- Why that choice?
- Trust is very easily lost.
- You never know what could happen.
- What kind of witness would you be?
- Do you have a different view on this scenario than you did at the start? Why or why not?
- Would you like to change your answer or stick with it?
- Has this ever happened to you?