I haven’t written a blog post since Feb 2016 because I was busy writing a book!
It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life. I wanted to quit often. There were tears. I talked myself out of it more times than I can count.
I wrote for about seven months. My goal was 50,000 words, but I ended around 77,000. When the draft was finished in August, I thought it was done. This newbie author was so naïve. Little did I know that my editor, who has been in the publishing industry for more than 30 years, was going to challenge me at every turn. Can I tell you a secret? Editors are behind-the-scenes heroes in the publishing world. Heroes. She questioned every cite, quote, statement and word. She was patient with me and all my comma splices. I’m so grateful for her and the entire publishing team. After another five months of editing and proofreading, it is finally ready!!
So, what is this book about? I’ve been on a crazy journey. It started four years ago. I’m continuing to learn, but I write in real-time about what I’m discovering because it’s so critically important.
Parenting has undergone a seismic shift, forcing us to address issues that previous generations of parents never encountered. No matter when you decide to give your child a phone (and that is entirely your choice), we all must recognize that online exposure has changed the entire landscape of parenting. If your kids don’t have their own devices, they interact with kids who do. My daughter, who did not have her own phone at the time, was given details about a pornographic video when she was nine years old. Yep, fourth grade. We must face this new reality of cyberparenting.
In part 1 of the book, we dive into the emotional roller-coaster ride of my own cyberparenting journey. In my search for answers, I made so many mistakes. I felt like a failure. But that search led to a deeper walk with God and an amazing discovery that transformed my approach to parenting.
I recognized that monitoring and restrictions are great tools, but they’re not THE answer. Open communication is the secret weapon. It isn’t about family meetings or formal discussions; it’s about creating a healthy, ongoing dialogue between you and your child. It’s a practical, proactive, on-the-go approach to parenting. Amazing things happen when parents and kids begin to talk.
Open communication isn’t as simple as it may sound. It’s a complicated process that requires time and hard work. In part 2, I unpack four key steps that will help you pave the path for open communication in your family. This section is all about grit and facing it. God showed me that He wasn’t going to change my whole family dynamic without requiring me to look in the mirror first. Ouch!
In part 3, we address some of the most difficult topics parents encounter today, and I share how I handle them with my own children. I also offer some ideas for conversation starters and taking things deeper after the discussion gets going. I created this section as a topic list for easy access so that when you’re dealing with a specific issue and need a refresher, you can quickly flip to that chapter. Here are some of the questions we’ll be addressing:
- When should my tween get a phone?
- How and when should I warn my child about pornography?
- How am I going to monitor social media?
- How and when should I talk about sex with my tween?
- How do I respond to questions about homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender?
- How do I address mass shootings and terrorism?
- What do I say about addiction? Do I have to worry about screen addiction?
- How do I start the conversation about cyberbullying and suicide?
- How in the world do I talk about all these difficult topics without causing confusion and fear?
No topic is off limits.
The whole idea of the book is to bring awareness to the new challenges of cyberparenting and create more open communication in families. I’m not an expert telling you how to parent. YOU are the expert on your child. I’m a mom, in the daily trenches, trying to figure out how to address complicated issues at earlier ages because of online exposure. In reality, I’m just trying to answer my kids’ questions over here!
In regard to how I address specific topics in our own family, I do write from a Biblical perspective because that’s how we parent. BUT, please hear me on this: I state throughout the book that it’s your family, your choice.
We may come from different faith backgrounds. That’s okay. We can model mutual respect, even when we disagree. We need everyone, regardless of their beliefs, to be engaged in this conversation and aware of the shift that’s taken place in parenting this generation.
Can you tell we have a lot to talk about?
You can order the book here: TALK: A Practical Approach to Cyberparenting and Open Communication