Jennie and Scott Milne have raised 3 lovely children who are now all in their 20's. I knew that with their vast experience of parenting and advocating for families that they would have some great viewpoints on this hot topic, and I wasn't disappointed. They had heaps of great ideas to share with us and lots of funny and poignant examples of situations they had faced whilst parenting in the teenage years.

 I loved that the first thing they said was not to buy into the notion that the teenage years were one big drama. Whilst they experienced bumps long the way, they mostly really loved this part of parenthood. They explained that teenagers want a sense of belonging, to be trusted and to feel useful.

I thought I would share a couple of the highlights for me: 

They talked about picking your battles. If something was morally wrong or life threatening, this is more important than say,dying your hair pink! They encouraged us to 'hold the line' with certain things and stick with it. This is particularly important if you have more than one child. Their third child didn't bother trying to push the boundaries which the first two couldn't break. Sometimes we may be counter cultural, but we need to explain to our children why we hold the beliefs and opinions that we do and why we won't be swayed in certain areas.

I loved their encouragement to talk through the big issues around the dinner table. Find out their attitudes about sex, drugs, alcohol and pornography (eek!) Tell them the hard facts and get across your main points through these family conversations. Let them practice responses for tricky situations and let them blame us for not being allowed to do things.

They explained that our standards or expectations about an issue will impact our children's behaviour and they won't want to disappoint us. I love that having a home group of like-minded adults who love and pray regularly for my children widens their 'village'.  

I left feeling that it was important to keep involved with my children and their friends: managing the soccer team, helping on the PTA, helping at church etc, so I can keep my ear to the ground so I know what their friends (and their parents!) are like.

I felt happy that my children are in a strong faith community where they hear the message of unconditional love and that no mistake is fatal.

My husband James said that he hoped Scott and Jennie would do this talk again next year, and that he would encourage every parent whose child is heading off to intermediate school to head along to hear some top tips. We appreciated the hot choccy intermission to warm us up and it's always great to chat with other St Paul's parents without the children milling about!

Thanks Scott and Jennie!

Linda B
Ministry to Preschool Leader