What are Hot Buttons?Well, in the broader sense, the phrase Hot Buttons means a lot of different things, anything really, that can get a rise out people. Something that charges them up and receives an intense reaction. For the purposes of Choose NOW Ministries, I've defined hot buttons as those tough issues that teenagers face--the things parents are often more afraid of and most hesitant to talk about. Some examples include:
- Internet Activity
- Faith Matters
- and more
Why press the Hot Buttons?Why not just leave it alone and let the kids figure it out? We can pray for them and trust it all to work out in the end. In some ways it does work itself out, true. Circumstances happen, pressure hits, relationships change. . .and your teens gets to figure it all out. In the heat of the moment. On their own. Hopefully they'll make the right choice, but it's really hard to know what will happen when the prep work isn't done. Take an issue like dating--we talk about the boundaries. We set rules for curfew and other things. We even make sure we apprrove of the date and talk about saying no to sexual advances. Right? And that's great. It really is. But there's something missing. Our teens need to know what to do and what not to do, and what we expect of them, but they also need to understand why that's going to be difficult for them. How does the body respond in ways that make it tough to say no? What will the feelings be like that make it difficult to leave the room or douse the proverbial flames? You see, if we don't hit those truth head on before they become an issue, our teens will think it's a secret, it's specific to them, and we really don't know what we're asking them to say no to. But, if we press those hot buttons in advance, if we have the difficult conversations, then our teens will enter those pressure-filled situations armed with understanding and equipped with the words to say to stay true to their commitments. With every hot button issue, someone is feeding your tweens and teens information--do you really want that someone to be anyone other than you?
How do I press the Hot Buttons?Now that you've made the decision to be proactive about helping your tweens and teens battle peer pressure, I love to share the principles behind the Hot Buttons book series and the method of communicating with your teens it prescribes. Each book is topical based on a single Hot Button issue and its surrounding sub-topics. For example, the Hot Buttons Internet Edition deals with social networking, pornography, predators, cyber bullying, and more. The goal isn't to convince parents to keep their kids off the net, but rather to arm them with the tools they need to navigate it in a safe and healthy way. Same with the Dating Edition. It covers early relationships, physical boundaries, date rape, and more. Instead of just handing down rules, parents need to walk their teens through the details and equip them with the understanding of what's out and how to rise above the peer pressure.
How does Hot Buttons work?
Each book is designed the same way. The first few chapters discuss the hows and whys of tackling hot buttons early and effectively. Part two dives into the topics with statistics and information that every parent should know. Next are the application portions of the book. This is when you put into practice the principles we discuss early on. Strategic Scenarios (up to 15 per book) allow you to walk your teens through a fictional situation and then offer options, choices, as to how they think they'd respond.
Here's an example of the way a Strategic Scenario works:
- He obviously like you best and telling him no isn’t going to make him like your BFF. You might as well go out with him and deal with her later. What’s she going to do about it anyway?
- You’ll go out with him, but only secretly. Hopefully she'll never find out.
- You thank him, and tell him you need a day or two to think about it. Time to have a heart-to-heart with your friend. If she’s okay with it, you’re in!
- No, too much is at stake. Your BFF will tell you she’s fine with it, but you know it will break her heart. Then what? It wouldn’t be the same again. Plus, you’re supposed to be the Christian; you need to put her first.
- BFs come and go; BFF last a lifetime
- What would Jesus do?
- How would you feel in your BFF’s shoes?
- Talk about this sort of thing ahead of time. Don’t wait until it’s a real issue. Clear the air.
- Loyalty and honestly are qualities of Christ.
- A year from now, when you look back on the situation, which choice will make you proud?
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 7:12, NIV)