What Should I Know about Abortion?

Well, you should know the truth.

Topics like abortion, racism, the homeless, addiction, sexual exploitation are topics that we just don't want to think about, talk about and we wish everyone would stop throwing them in our faces!  Why?  Because we don't know what to do about them?  I mean sure, we hate these issues.  Sure, we wish they didn't exist. But, what can I or you really do about it?  We're just one person.

First, you can't be an expert on every human tragedy and every human social cause.  But, you can pick one or two causes that you are passionate about and start with trying to educate yourself about those causes.  Then, once you have received some knowledge, decide if you still want to become an advocate for that cause.  This isn't a race where we're trying to reach some finish line.  We're just trying to participate in the fight.

Abortion is a cause that God has led me to be more involved with.  I've always believed that it was wrong, meaning against God's law to abort a baby, but it wasn't until I gained more knowledge about the abortion industry, that I realized how abortion is the legs for so many other wrongs and the culprit for so much sickness and pain.

Don't let the first part of this article scare you away from reading the last part because the last part is the good news and the good part.

I have learned in addition to the millions of lives lost every year from voluntary abortions, that abortion feeds many other wrong ideologies such as racism (eugenics, targeting black communities), such as eliminating what the world would call "less desirables" (such as those with Down syndrome...heartbreaking reality), such as sexism (aborting females over males), and other sickening trends.  In addition, abortion is used to perpetuate illegal activity such as the exploitation of children and women (using abortion to eliminate pregnancies as a result of sexual exploitation so they can get back to work).  Everything connected to this industry is ugly, tragic and wrong for not only the unborn, but for the women who are also victims to this empire.

First, let's just understand a few lies and marketing strategies that the "Pro-Choice Industry" work extremely hard to get you to "buy into."

"It's just tissue"--You see, if you can dehumanize a human, then you can justify any treatment of that human.  It's true.  When people ask the question, "How could anyone have ever justified owning a person...having a slave?"  Well actually, it's not that hard, if you are taught that that human, who has a different color of skin than yours, is not equal to you and is in fact inferior, in need of tight control, unable to govern themselves, dangerous, etc.  In fact,  you might could even convince yourself that you are actually doing them a favor by owning them.  You are protecting them from themselves and their inability to care for themselves.

When people ask the question, "How could thousands of Nazi's buy into the lie that Jews were an inferior species (not even able to call human), and that their even existence would cripple and ruin the sanctity of life for the Anglo Saxon Superior Class and their children, then sure, one is able to do unspeakable things in the name of protecting their children's future.

When people buy into the same lie, that a baby inside the womb of a mother, is not really a human at all, with protected human rights, that of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but is rather a blob of cells, then sure, those people can do anything to that baby.  That's why you will NEVER hear a Pro-Choice doctor or entity ever utter the word, "BABY," unless they slip up.

A Second lie that is the Pro-Choice industry's main marketing strategy is the HEADLINE, "A Woman's Right to Choose what she does with HER body and HER healthcare."  Oh Satan is so good!  Truly, he is.  I mean heck, that sounds like something I would be for.  I mean, I'm a woman and a very determined, independent woman at that.  Ask my husband or father.

I absolutely do not want someone telling me what I can and can't do with my body.  If I want to take Chemo if I find out I have cancer, then no one is going to tell me I can't (well maybe the insurance company will try).  If I don't want to take a vaccine, then I will not take it.  If I want to eat carbs all day, leave me alone, it's my body dammit!  Amen and Amen!

But no, if you want to go out and drive your car 60 miles an hour in my neighborhood, where my child is playing, you can't do that.  Because you do not have the right to endanger my child or anyone's child.  It may be your own neighborhood but you still can't do it.  You might say, "Well it's my children in the neighborhood and if I want to drive fast and endanger their life by my actions, that's my business."  Actually no, it's not.  You see, all people have rights.  That's why we have laws because of stupid people and careless people (I've been stupid before too), who forget others at times when pursuing their own desires.  

We protect the rights of all people.  The right to live free of violence, theft, defamation, exploitation, etc.  We do that through laws.  Not all of our laws have been perfect.  In fact, we've had some very bad laws...ie. Jim Crowe Laws.  Did you know that it was a felony for a white person to marry a black person?  Our constitution was not and is not perfect.  Thus we have amendments.  Do you remember that women were not given the right to vote until August 1920?

So yes, just because we have a law, does not mean it's a good law.  

That little baby growing inside of a woman, is a separate human being from the mother.  He/she has their own DNA.  Their own personality, human traits and characteristics.  Can any parent deny each of their children's uniqueness that they came to this earth with?  

It is a LIE to believe that a woman, has the right to decide what happens to the life of the baby she carries inside her womb.  Once a woman becomes pregnant, there are two humans, not one.  Yes, of course a woman has the right to determine what happens with her body, but that right does not include the right to end the life of another human being.  It just doesn't.  

Before we go on to a third lie, please just consider who is selling you on the lie of getting you to believe you do have that right, to end the life of the human inside you...the very entity that makes money when you buy into that lie.  THEY MAKE MONEY AND A LOT OF IT, WHEN YOU BELIEVE THIS LIE.

A third lie:  If the child is not wanted, they are more likely to be abused, neglected, etc.  It's just a lie people.  It's not true.  There are no studies that show this.  In fact, there are studies that show women who have had a least one abortion, are more likely to abuse their children. (1)

There is no evidence that when women go ahead and birth an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy that they are more likely to abuse their children.  Just because you didn't want to get pregnant or weren't planning on having a baby, does not make you a child abuser.  That is absurd.  

A fourth lie:  Keeping abortion legal prevents "Back-Alley" abortions which are dangerous for women.  In the year leading up to Roe v. Wade, the Centers for Disease Control, reported 39 maternal deaths occurred due to illegal abortions in 1972. (2)  Any loss of life is tragic but it does not compare on any level to the thousands (over 900,00 in United States currently per year) of innocent babies, innocent lives. This is just the truth.  Please investigate for yourselves.  Find out the facts.

Let's now talk about the women.  In 2020, there were headlines all over the news and publications including CNN, Forbes Magazine, Newsweek, etc. reporting on a study that found 95% of women surveyed, did not regret their abortion.  Well so there you have it!  That should say everything right?  But then, when you dive just an inch deeper into the study, you find that these were women who had had their abortion in the previous five years.  Do I need to go into some analysis why this matters or are you smart enough to think about it? I'm going to assume you are smart enough.

Of course they never will, but here's what I can tell you I've learned as I have met women who have had past abortions.  The women that have been brave enough to speak to me about their abortion are on average between the ages of 45 and 65.  Each and every lady that has spoken to me about their abortion, has kept it a secret for most of their life.  They don't talk about it because they can't face it and the feelings that come with speaking of it.  Often, the regret has grown over time, until it is all consuming.  I met one woman who was in her 60's and had never told her husband, children or anyone in her family.  She had been carrying the painful secret her whole life and felt so burdened by it that it had robbed her of a life of peace.

You see, I'm not interested in shaming anyone for having an abortion.  In fact, I feel like most women who have had an abortion, like their unborn children, are victims to the "pro-choice" industry.  Truly, they are.  They are lied to and marketed to by a very savvy and educated and money hungry industry that preys upon their fears, their traumas and their crises to make a profit.  Women are the victims here.

Why can most women not shake the feelings of regret regarding their abortion as they continue to age and mature and distance grows between their moment of panic and distress and today?  

Because the feelings of love that mothers (and also fathers) have for their unborn children does not come from us, it comes from our Father in Heaven.  Have you ever thought that it doesn't make logical sense how we can love this person inside us that we've never even met?  No, that doesn't make sense.  

Why do mothers and fathers, grieve the loss of a miscarriage for the rest of their lives?  Because the parent /child bond comes from God. It is a gift, given to us from Heavenly Father to help us to care for his children. Why can't you stop thinking about how old your child would be today and why can't you stop wondering what they would look like and what they would be doing?  Because he/she is your child.  You are their mother.  You are their father and their life ending or being ended does not erase that fact.

Why will you never hear these conversations from the Pro-Choice Industry?  You know why!  

When I hear people and organizations speak of how they are going to help women equality and women's rights by providing more affordable and more available abortions I want to SCREAM!!!!  

Stop!  Don't!  Wait!  It's a lie!!  

Playing a role in helping a woman end her child's life will not do what you want it to do. It will only imprison most women to a life a shame, guilt, sadness, self loathing, and even anger which cripples a woman's ability to be truly free and happy.

Empowering women means helping women to live lives of freedom!!  

When we choose to disobey God's law, and devalue any human being, inside or outside of the womb, it will only hurt us in the long run.  None of us can escape the penalty of sin.  I know the Pro-Choice Movement does not want us to speak of sin, and in fact, they use that Pro-Life argument to spew words like, "Judgement," "Condemnation," "Hate," and "Fanatics."  

But this isn't about judgement.  God is the only judge.  The rest of us on this earth are supposed to love one another.  Because I love you, I want you to know the truth.

Please, don't take one word in any sentence I've written as truth, until you find out for yourself.  I'm not perfect and I can see for myself that I don't write perfectly.  I ask that you pray with real intent and ask Heavenly Father to help you to understand what is true and what is not true.  Ask him to help you to discern his will regarding this important cause.  

That is what I have done.  I have had questions regarding this issue.  I have needed clarity for certain circumstances.  I have received answers as I have sought out truth.  

If you have had an abortion, may I leave you with the most amazing and wonderful news. 

Your Father in Heaven loves you so much.  The abortion you had has not affected his love for you in any way, nor could it.  

He wants you to be happy and to have peace in your life.  There is a path to peace always.  The path however does not include secrets.  Secrets destroy from the inside out.  May I suggest that you reach out to a trusted friend or family member.  May I also suggest that you reach out to your clergy.  Then, may I suggest that you reach out to a support group.  I will list a couple below.

In my own life, I have found that for me to heal from past choices I've made, it has helped me to take what I've learned from my own pain and experiences and use that wisdom to help others.  It's very healing when we do that, regardless of the pain.

I believe in you.  I believe in the sanctity of life.  I believe that the only answer to solve all of the heartaches, injustices (especially towards women), inequalities, abuse and exploitation of women, is to cling to the truths that come from God.  Therein lies all the answers.

If you have questions, comments, or need to reach out privately, please do so.  My email is:


Resources for Support for those who have had an abortion:




1. Priscilla K. Coleman, Charles D. Maxey, Vincent M. Rue, and Catherine T. Coyle, "Associations between voluntary and involuntary forms of perinatal loss and child maltreatment among low-income mothers." Acta Paediatrica 94, 2005

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Abortion Surveillance--unites States, 2004."  Surveillance Summaries Nov. 23, 2007. MMWR 2007;56 (No.SS09). Table 19. www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss5609a1.htm

#abortion #RightoLife #abortionquestions #sanctityoflife #MonicaIrvine #TheEtiquetteFactory

How Do I Teach My Child Integrity

 Teaching integrity does not have to be difficult but it does have to be consistent.  Children develop the skills of integrity the most, when day in and day out they witness their parents living lives of integrity.  

This means that every day, we have the opportunity to show our children in small and simple ways how one chooses integrity, even when making the choice is difficult.

I  was in Hobby Lobby the other day (love that place), and I all of a sudden heard a crash.  I looked back and saw a woman with two young girls (maybe 8 and 10) picking up a reindeer that they apparently had knocked off the shelf.  I went on about my shopping.

Then, I turned back to go look at something and I saw this woman and the two girls again. This time, they were still dealing with the reindeer.  It looked like they were trying to put a broken antler back on the head of this reindeer but to me, it looked broken. I paid a little more attention because I was kind of intrigued about what they would do.  Sure enough, they managed to prop this antler up on the head of this reindeer and then they quietly walked away.

Ugh!!  How sad.  Now, I don't know their situation and I don't know why they chose to handle it the way they did.  It did make me a little sad however, because from the outside observer, it looked like a missed opportunity to teach children what integrity looks like.

I know when I look back on my days of mothering children at home, I missed some opportunities too.  Sometimes I think, "Why did I do that!!"  "That was so dumb of me."

The important thing for today, is to try to pay attention and realize that each day, we have numerous opportunities to teach our children integrity, compassion, empathy, non-judgement and many more such character traits.  I hope we pay closer attention and may we always know that each decision we make, has the potential to impact the kind of humans our children become.

Our children need to hear and see us be 100% accurate in our words, our stories, our actions, etc.  They need to watch us go out of our way to be honest, regardless whether or not that honesty brings about negative consequences.  However, even when being honest, we can strive to make sure that kindness precedes every honest remark. 

Today, show your children what integrity looks like.  Live it.  

Monica Irvine

How do We Teach our Children To Give Others the Benefit of the Doubt?

 As with any matter of the heart, it’s difficult for children to learn and practice a principle that they do not see modeled in the home.  So, our first order of business is to assess what kind of example we are to our children in helping them to see the good in others, doubt the bad, assume the best, and discard the unpleasant.  

Seeing the good in others…begins by discussing and committing to that very purpose.  One thing I think we can all agree on is that we tend to find what we’re looking for, whether that is something good or something bad.  If we have a relationship with someone that tends to “get under our skin” due to their constant talking, then I assure you, every time we are with this person, that’s all we will observe.  However, if we tell ourselves that today, when we are with this same person, we are going to figure out one thing that this person has, that we could use a little more of in our own life, then I promise you, you will find something.  It’s a matter of purpose.

We can teach our children to focus on what people have to offer, as they hear us continually pointing out the good in others.  There is no better training ground for them than listening to their parents exhibit this compassionate and empathetic skill.  

For example, perhaps our daughter might ask: 

“Mom.  Why is Grandma always complaining about everything?”

Mom—“You know honey…I think because of her age, Grandma just doesn’t feel good most of the time and I think that makes it difficult to be really positive.  But, did you know that Grandma let both her mother and her mother-n-law live with her for the last few years of their lives, so that she could take care of them.  She is such an amazing lady.”

 Perhaps, our son might say:

“Dad.  I don’t like to go outside when I see Mr. Smith outside next door, because he always has a cigarette hanging out of his mouth and I can smell the smoke.”

Dad—“Well, I’m sure Mr. Smith is not aware that his smoke is bothering you but I can tell you this, that is the hardest working man I know and he’s also a war hero.  We owe him our deepest gratitude for the sacrifice he made on our behalf.”

Parents, can you see the opportunity here?  Can you hear the power that is within our lips to profoundly impact how our children learn to see others?  It’s so exciting!

What about the bad?

Sure, we want our children to be cautious and to understand risk and dangers, however for the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume those are not the situations we are speaking about.  For this discussion, we are speaking about the negative things about others such as past mistakes, personal weaknesses, character flaws and less than honorable moments.  It’s easy to talk about these things when it’s someone else we’re speaking about, but what if someone wants to talk about our past mistakes, personal weaknesses, character flaws and less than honorable moments?  Are you as interested in that conversation?

No, I didn’t think so.

You see, for us to help our children learn to refrain from focusing on such things, we must not fall into the trap of doing so ourselves.  I appreciate a few concepts I’ve learned over the years: #1, just because someone has a bad moment, doesn’t mean they’re a bad person and #2, since God loves us even though he knows our flaws perfectly, shouldn’t I do my best to love others despite what I think I know?

Here’s what I do know.  We are not a sum of our mistakes.  We do not have to be defined by our mistakes.  You and I don’t want this so shouldn’t we do our best not to label and define others by their mistakes?  Here’s an example of two conversations that teach children two different ways to view others.

First One

Child—“Mom, I really like my math teacher, Mr. Green.  He’s super fun and really laid back.”

Mom—“Well, I just found out that last semester, there was a disciplinary hearing for him because of how he spoke to a student, so let’s hope that taught him a lesson.”

Second One

Child—“Mom, I really like my math teacher, Mr. Green.  He’s super fun and really laid back, but I heard from a friend today that he got in trouble last semester for how he handled a student.”

Mom—“You know honey, it’s not polite for people to spread gossip (whether true or not), announcing mistakes that someone has made in the past.  That did not involve us and we don’t know any of the facts so it’s best to just tell your friends that you’re not interested in stories that shine a poor light on others.”

Now I realize, you may be thinking right now, “But Monica…sometimes people need to know information that could protect them or others.”  Once again, of course.  That is a different conversation and one we must have with our children, but that’s not what we’re talking about here and the truth is, that’s not the more common situation.

It’s never ok to assume the role of informing others of other people’s unflattering moments.  Truthfully, it’s a backwards way of trying to build ourselves up but in reality, it’s an ugly behavior that shines very poorly on ourselves.

At the “end of the day,” I know you want what I want for my own children.  I want them to be kind, compassionate, empathetic.  I want them to refrain from judging others and from assuming the worst in people.  I want them to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and look for the good.  Why?  Because this helps them to live happier lives.  It helps them to have healthier happier relationships.

May you and I be more careful with our own conversation.  May we continue to look for opportunities to teach our children to notice the good in others.  In doing so, we will raise better human beings.

Monica Irvine


How to Handle Unwanted Physical Affection

We teach our children to be kind, to be polite, to not hurt others feelings. Then, all of a sudden, our children become adolescents and often, someone starts attempting to give them physical attention. In the back of our child's mind they might be thinking, "I have to be kind. I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings." 

This places them at risk to accept the physical affection because they don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or make the other person feel awkward. 

Parents, this is dangerous. We can't expect our children to know how to react in these situations if we don't have serious discussions with them and make sure they know what is appropriate. 

Of course, we teach our children to be kind but we should also be teaching young boys and girls that your body is your private personal space and no one should cross over into it without your permission.

Etiquette rule: A lady and a gentleman do not show physical affection to someone of the opposite sex in a casual relationship without the other person's permission.

I once was teaching a group of young teens and we talked about this etiquette skill in the class. Afterward I had a young lady come up and ask my advice on a situation. She told me, “Every Wednesday night I go to my church's youth group and at the end of the service the minister stands at the back door where we all leave and he gives us all a hug goodbye. I know that he's just trying to show how much he cares about us and he doesn't mean anything inappropriate by doing so. But, I don't like it and it makes me uncomfortable.” 

She truly believed he had the best intentions but she said, " I don't know how not to when everyone else is doing it."

This is such a common question I get from teenage girls, women, and even young men and husbands.

How did I answer that young girl? I told her that her minister shouldn't be doing that. It's not appropriate. I told her that next time her minister tried to hug her, all she had to do is take one step back and extend her hand for a handshake. Or, if she would rather, she could give him a "high five." There would be a chance that there would be an awkward moment and the minister might say something like, "What? You don't like hugs?" 

There is always that chance but we have to teach our children to have confidence and be brave.

What helps children have confidence is understanding that it's not impolite for them to refrain from hugs. That it's their decision what they want to do with their body and the other person should respect that.

Parents, we have got to equip our sons and daughters with the confidence and the skills to be able to know how to handle unwanted physical affection. 

For more resources and a more in depth discussion on this and more check out our Dating Guide for Ladies and Gentleman HERE.

Finding Nemo Introduction Game

Start by teaching the 4 points to a proper introduction.

These are taught in more detail through our Life Skills For You course as well as in our etiquette camps.

How to play:
One person will be secretly chosen to be “Nemo” at the beginning of each round. Explain that Nemo must introduce themselves as their actual name to 3-4 people before revealing that they are Nemo. Then everyone goes around practicing introducing themselves to each other until Nemo reveals themselves. At that point whoever was shaking hands with Nemo puts their hands on Nemos' back conga line style. Everyone else in the room must then do the same forming a line behind Nemo. Last person in the line is out so you must be quick!

Do this for a couple rounds and then you can add on to the game for older kids.

Once everyone is comfortable with the game, pick someone to be “Bruce” at the same time you pick a new “Nemo.” Remember to keep it a secret. Bruce doesn't reveal that he is Bruce until the very end, after everyone is in the line. Anyone who is behind Bruce is out.

The key is allowing children to practice and become more comfortable introducing themselves to others in a positive environment. This will bring more confidence in real life as they make new friends they will be prepared and know what to do.

Advice That Saved my Marriage

Years ago, Charles and I had not been married that long, and we were struggling. I won't go into the details of that struggle, but we were struggling. When I look back at that period of time, I'm so embarrassed because I realize now that I was so selfish. I was in a place mentally and emotionally where I didn’t even want to be married anymore. I didn't like some things that Charles did and I didn't like some things that were going on in our marriage.

I started saying to myself, “Monica, you don’t deserve this, he’s not doing this or it would be so much better if he were doing that.” Of course these thoughts were coming from the adversary, but all I cared about was my happiness and what was and wasn’t being done for me and to me. 

I then got some really good advice from my grandmother. She told me to, “for a period of time, stop trying to fix Charles, stop focusing on whatever he's doing that you dislike.” She said, “I want you to just ignore that for a little while, and forget about it. For right now I want you to focus on what you need to fix. Identify some areas that you could improve on and for the next month or two, I want that to be your focus.”

I thought she was a lunatic for suggesting that to me and I thought there was no way this plan would work. However, my grandmother had been right about quite a few things in the past, so I decided to at least try. I picked up the scriptures and started reading them because I really didn’t know what else to do. I didn’t know how else to start identifying my faults. I mean, I knew there were some things wrong with me, I just didn’t know how to organize those thoughts and begin this process of fixing myself. So I thought I would start by turning to the word of God. 

God’s not going to lay everything out for you and tell you all the answers right as you open the scriptures.What happens is when you expose yourself to the word of God, you expose yourself to the spirit. The spirit softens your heart and by doing so, increases our ability to listen to God.

As I started taking the time every day to spend some time in the word of God, my heart started softening. Well, the bad news about this experience is that I started seeing my own weaknesses, and my own failures in my marriage started becoming more evident to me. At some point this list got to be so big that I started feeling overwhelmed. All of a sudden I was realizing that God's world is really black and white and I had been living in mostly grey. Things are either of God or they aren’t. I realized that I had somehow been justifying a lot of behaviors in my mind because I was hard-hearted and trying to get away with doing things not of the Lord. With this new mindset of things either taking me closer to God or further away, I became overwhelmed with how far I had slipped away from God. 

Nevertheless, the Lord helped me to slowly start working on these things. What happened was exactly what my grandmother said would happen. I got so caught up in my own mess and trying to worry about all the things that I needed to improve that I completely forgot about the things that I had wanted to fix in Charles. What also happens when you spend time with the word of God daily is you start recognizing his hand in your life. You start recognizing the good in others more easily because you’re looking through more Godlike eyes. You start seeing people as God sees them. 

Just like when we become parents we love our children and want others to love them as well. We know our kids can be rotten at times, but we love them because we also know how wonderful they are and we can see their potential. That’s how God looks at you and me and our spouse and I can only imagine He wants us to look at our spouse the same way. He wants us to love them, and help them, and be forgiving and patient.

Now I am in no way talking about in any way accepting verbal abuse, physical abuse, or any type of abuse. I will never suggest that anybody should endure those things. I'm simply talking about trying to learn to see and love our spouse the way the Lord does. That's what happened for me and by following my grandmother's advice and turning to the Lord I was able to soften my heart and learn to have a greater love for my husband.

This story and many more can be found in my book, "Raising A Generation of Ladies & Gentlemen"-- a 52 week (one year) study guide for you and your spouse to read together to get on the same page and gain all the skills needed to be the best role models for your children.

Thank you for reading this blog and for being open to new thoughts and ideas. We all can learn from one another's experiences. It's the beauty of sharing ourselves with others.

4 Ways to Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Teen

There's so many different things I could talk about when it comes to raising teens. When it comes to parenting, I like to focus on our relationships. I know that our happiness in this life is completely wrapped up in our relationship with God and our relationship with our family. My goal is to help you build and strengthen your relationships with your teenagers. They are growing up and forming their own thoughts and opinions. This causes some tension between children and parents as this is a big transitioning phase. These are some tips to make sure your relationship stays strong throughout these moments.

1. You are Your Child's Biggest Cheerleader

Now let's think about a Football game. What is the cheerleaders purpose? To bring motivation and strength and cheer on the players. This should be your role as your children go through the game of life. They need you because in the game of life, it gets very difficult and there's lots of challenges and  surprises and things that set you back. That's where you come in cheering “You got this!” letting your children know that you are here for them, through thick and thin, through all the setbacks and losses. You are here to support them.

A cheerleader is someone that brings joy. Is that how your children envision you, as their cheerleader? Are you the one person always pulling for them no matter what? Are you there building them back up and always ready to comfort? Are you doing this with joy and positivity? 

2. Criticizing vs Counseling 

Being critical damages relationships while counseling strengthens trust. We all know what it feels like when someone is critical of us. Being critical means to condemn, to insult, to point out someone's flaws for no other purpose, but to point out someone else's flaws. Sometimes, as parents, we mix up being critical with parenting. 

Parenting is to counsel and correct our children, but we should never correct without showing a better way. There should always be a purpose behind our correction. 

When I think of counseling, I think of someone who gently makes suggestions to me and helps me talk through the decisions I make. That's our role in our child's life, to be good listeners and then ask really good questions to help them sift through their different thoughts. That is so important because, especially with teens, it’s important for them to become independent thinkers. That’s divine design. God created us all to be independent thinkers and to have free agency. 

3. Help Teens Plan Fun Activities

Teenagers enjoy spending time with their friends and I don’t blame them. That's exactly what I wanted to do when I was their age. The problem lies in periods of time where there are too many unplanned activities. Meaning, we want our kids to be actively engaged in any activity. 

For example this was a conversation my son and I would have often.

This happened a lot. I would make little suggestions and then my son would go and have fun with the idea.

Why is this important? Planning fun, safe activities help our kids learn to be responsible and how to follow through with things. For instance, going along with the bonfire example, my son now feels in charge of and responsible for the activity. Then, next thing you know he’s got to collect firewood and make sure the outside chairs are clean and possibly setting up a screen for a movie. 

It would always end up being a much better experience when everything was planned out. The more planned an activity, the safer it tended to be. My son and his friends never had much money so they had to get a bit creative with what they planned. A lot of their ideas I have incorporated into my book Dating Guide for Ladies & Gentlemen. 

4. Get To Know Their Friends

Now parents, we can't do this unless we spend time with them. That's where we have to make a commitment to create a home where our children and their friends feel welcome. That may look like having a shelf in the kitchen designated only for cheap snacks so when friends come over, there's planned snacks. (Trust me your pocketbook will thank you.) 

Beyond that, we need to talk to them, really talk to them. When is the last time you sat with your child's friend and asked them what's making them happy in life? What is stressing them out?  What are their goals? Really knowing his friends well, made it easier to sit down and talk with my son about his life and the people in it. We would talk about what his friends were up to, what they were going through and ponder how we could help them. 

Sit down and discuss with your spouse how you can make your home feel welcoming and make sure your kids friends don't feel like a burden when they visit but rather cherished and loved. It will make all the difference and greatly affect how much time your children spend in your home.

For more suggestions listen to my podcast HERE I give even more examples and stories to help you be the best parent you can be.