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Safe Haven Family

Rebecca Hagelin

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from the book 30 Ways in 30 Days to Save Your Family

Understand How Marketers Target Your Children

Challenge: "Today's kids are the most marketed-to generation in history. They spend an estimated $200 billion a year of their own money and are very profitable targets for exploitation and manipulation. Combine this with the frequently manifested modern parental desire to be their children's friend, and you can see why marketers compete like never before for the attention of these sophomoric spenders.

"So fierce is the competition for their cash that modern marketing techniques have become, in many cases, insidiously evil. Selling to tweens isn't about finding out what they want-it's about figuring out how to manipulate their minds" (p. 37).

Tackle This Today: "Don't walk silently past that Victoria's Secret display at your local mall. Tell your kids why it's wrong. Ask your children pointed questions about the TV shows and movies that interest them. Find out what they think-so you can spark discussions that will give you a chance to tell them what you think-and why" (p. 43).

Create Family Time

Challenge: "Do you know your family? You may think that's a silly question. 'Of course we know each other,' many parents would reply. 'We live under the same roof. We see each other daily. We go on vacations together. How could we not know each other?' Some research, however, suggests many parents and their children are, in an important sense, almost strangers.

"One major study, sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, comes from the UCLA Center on Everyday Lives of Families. It paints a portrait of family life in crisis. It reports the time many families spend together is crammed with wall-to-wall activities. Mothers and fathers ferry their kids feverishly about-a play date here, a practice there, not a moment to spare-tethered by cell phones and sustained by meals on the run. You can't really know your children if all your time with them is spent running to and fro in a frenetic whirlwind. Genuine intimacy is impossible under such conditions" (pp. 57-58).

Tackle This Today: "How do we restore balance to our frantic family lives? Make a point of injecting some downtime into it by scheduling it. Go for a walk-not a power walk, but a slow one. Play a game together, preferably a board or card game, with everyone sitting around the table and interacting. Realize, too, not every activity must involve the whole group. Take that walk or play that game with one son or daughter. Give everybody a turn. In time, you'll find yourself having real conversations with the people who matter most. And don't neglect your spouse! A regular date can really help strengthen your marriage" (pp. 60-61).

Write A Letter To Your Teen

Challenge: "As children turn into teens, many parents find it difficult to express the deep love, warmth, and vision they have for them. The fact is, a sullen teenager is hard to connect with! As moms and dads, we often forget what our teens crave more than anything is genuine love, thoughtful words, and encouragement from us. The hopeful news is that research shows teens desperately want parental affirmation, approval, and love. Although they may appear to be like bricks- cold and indifferent to your advice and counsel-they are actually more like seeds capable of tremendous growth when planted in a nurturing environment and constantly watered with words of love, encouragement, and counsel. Such words are never more powerful than when they are written down. How many parents have ever written their child a single letter? My guess is most moms and dads have never penned more than a few words on a birthday card. As valuable as those cards may be, they are not enough" (pp.85-86).

Tackle This Today: "What should your letter include? Here are a few thought-starters:
* a clear statement of your love
* your vision statement for their future
* a prayer for them
* a warm memory you have of their childhood
* positive words about them as people
* any admissions of your mistakes or failings in your relationship with them
* a strong commitment to be there for them, regardless of the circumstances the future may bring" (pp. 87-89).

Obtain A Reliable Internet Filter

Challenge: "According to a study by the London School of Economics, nine out of ten children who go online (by the way, many of them do so just doing their homework) will view pornography. A 2006 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation shows seven out of ten view the porn unintentionally-at least the first time. Think about it-90 percent of all kids on the Internet will be subjected to the sexual images and values of perverted pornographers rampant in the e-world. And, tragically, according to a 2006 report by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, one out of three children who view pornography does it intentionally.

"I believe there should be a protected space in childhood where kids don't have sex forced upon them-physically or mentally. If you as a mom or dad aren't building that space in your home, how can we expect them to have it anyplace else? Let me be clear: If your kids consume hard-core pornography in your home via the Internet, you are to blame. The fantastic news is this is one problem you can easily fix" (pp. 233-234).

Tackle This Today: "There are several reliable, inexpensive filters you can download in minutes to your computer. Go to Focus on the Family (www.focusonthefamily.com/), the American Family Association (www.afa.net), or Web Wise Kids (www.webwisekids.org). I've researched many filters and one of my favorites is available from www.bsafe.com. It only takes a few minutes and some keystrokes to download the filter directly onto your computer. The cost is about $50 a year, and the system is updated constantly so it stays ahead of the porn industry's attempts to outsmart filtering systems. Think about it: we go to great lengths as parents to secure our doors and windows at night. Yet, for far too many parents the open portal of the Internet allows every kind of perversion to enter their homes and attack the innocence and sensibilities of their kids. So what are you waiting for?" (pp. 235-236).

© by Rebecca Hagelin


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