Three Things This Week
1. What Teens Lie About the Most
What it is: Author and global teen expert Josh Shipp asked 1,843 teens what they lie to their parents about..
Why it’s surprising: 31.6% of teens polled said they lie to their parents about having suicidal thoughts, while only 19.6% admit lying about sex. What stresses them out the most? School. “It is not surprising the school stress is highest, given the tremendous pressures on teenagers to achieve.” Shame on us. We’ve inadvertently turned the lifelong pursuit of wisdom into an obsession over standardized tests aimed at information regurgitation, and it’s not only stressing our kids out, it’s destroying their love of learning. “Give your child a single valuable idea, and you have done more for her education than if you had laid upon her mind the burden of bushels of information.” Ask your teen what you can do to help them navigate school stress, then ask yourself if you are adding to, or helping to take away some of the undue burdens of modern academic pressure.
2. 50 Shades of Advice
What it is: The Hustle compiled 50 pieces of life advice from people over age 50 for younger generations.
Why it’s a mixed bag: The article is from a secular point of view (language) and offers both sage wisdom (“In the long run, you will not regret being honest or ethical, even if it costs you”) and not-so-wise advice. But it made us wonder: What’s the one thing you want your children to know that you didn’t know at their age, and how would knowing that change the trajectory of their life? Last week, retired MLB pitcher Rick Ankiel wrote a letter to his younger self; it’s heartbreaking and hopeful, especially if you remember his story. Read some of these pieces of advice with your children, then ask them if they agree or disagree and why, and see where it goes from there.
3. Your Guide to…
What it is: We’ve been hard at work creating a brand new resource called “Parent Guides” to help you in your parenting and discipleship journey
Why it’s helpful: Why are so many young kids sexting? How do they even know what it is to begin with?! And how can I bring up such an awkward subject with my kids? These are all things we cover in our “Parent’s Guide to Sexting.” We have other topics already available (Snapchat, Eating Disorders, & Teen Slang), with many more on the way. Each guide is packed full of info and culture translation to help you understand the world your teens inhabit and how to lovingly and graciously point them toward truth and life. Check them out here and take advantage of our introductory pricing before it’s gone!
Note: Kids need guidance about what happened in Las Vegas. Here are some age-based tips for starting the conversation.
Cash Me Ousside
Another teen has gone viral for her outrageous behavior and persona, and now she’s capitalizing on it. 14-year-old Danielle Bregoli first appeared on Dr. Phil in 2016 because her mom wanted Dr. Phil to get her to stop stealing cars, being physically aggressive, and more. Her antics went viral, and she became known for her catch phrase, “Cash me ousside” (catch me outside). Now she’s reinvented herself as “Bhad Bhabie” (bad baby), landed a record deal, and released two songs and music videos (watch at your own risk!).
And it’s working: Her two music videos have a combined 58 million views in a month, her single “These Heaux” (hos) reached number 77 on the Hot 100, and any social-media-savvy teen knows who she is.
Honestly, it’s easy to be disgusted by her persona and antics. She’s profiting from delinquent behavior, rebellion, and putting others down. And for those of us who weren’t raised on social media and self-made stars, it can be really easy to judge, condemn, and dismiss her as yet another product of our over-hyped entertainment industry.
But that would be a mistake.*
Part of the magic of translating culture is being able to look beyond the surface to the underlying, less obvious—but more powerful—issues. We try (with varying degrees of success) to do that in this email every week. Turns out, Danielle Bregoli is a perfect opportunity to do so. Watching her two episodes of Dr. Phil is quite revealing: “Bhad Bhabie” exists because Danielle is desperate for healthy attention, love, mentoring, and boundaries but doesn’t receive them at home. She’s not a product of culture so much as she’s a product of neglect.
“We need boundaries, identity, safety, and some degree of order and consistency to get started personally and culturally. We also need to feel ‘special’…We all need some successes, response, and positive feedback early in life, or we will spend the rest of our lives demanding it from others.” Bhad Bhabie’s persona, mannerisms, cultural appropriation, and “I don’t care” attitude have gotten her the attention she thinks she craves and needs. And it’s heartbreaking.
How many of us know teens like her, teens we don’t understand and get frustrated by, teens we wish would stop performing and just be real? When that’s the case, may Bhad Bhabie serve as a cautionary tale and reminder not react to the obvious external projections but look beyond the surface to what’s really happening and then speak life into that.
*We can say that because some of us at Axis—not naming names!—also made that mistake…
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