Prom is over. Final exams and AP tests are done. Schools, scholarships, grants, sports
teams are all determined, and one thing is certain: Our kids are no longer kids anymore.
As high school comes to a close, marking the end of a long era of their lives, they
simultaneously lament what once was and excitedly anticipate college for the promise
it holds. But while they’re saying goodbye to old friends and stressing over how to
decorate their dorm rooms, we parents are being much more realistic, fretting about
keggers, atheist professors, coed dorms, and the allure of total freedom. Ultimately, as
our children leave home and our loving boundaries for the first time, we’re concerned
about a much more important question: How do I help my kids keep their faith in
People are complicated, and romantic relationships are one of the most complex and
fascinating kinds of relationships that God has given us. They’re challenging even for
people working from a solid foundation. So when considering our teens, it can be
daunting to consider whether or not we should allow them to date, and if we do, how
we can guide them through the process well. Is it possible? Can we help our kids avoid
the cesspool of hookup culture? Is there a “right” or biblical way to date? And above all,
can we use dating as an opportunity to disciple our kids into a Christ-like perspective of
others? We’ll answer these questions and more in the following pages.
Depression & Anxiety
Teens test-drive a variety of emotions every day, and sometimes they have no idea
how to explain or express them. We’ve all heard (or even said) something like, “I’m so
depressed! They canceled my favorite show!” or “I’m so anxious about my math test!”
The language of mental illness runs rampant through our casual conversations. It’s not
all that surprising, though. These days it’s like everyone on earth has a microphone,
and with the racket of everyone’s opinions, hyperbole seems a useful method for
getting heard. The louder the noise, the less others want to listen, so the more we use
exaggerations to describe how we feel and to connect with others.
An Important Note:
This guide helps parents know more about the troubling incidence of depression and
anxiety disorders in the lives of young people. Like our other Parent Guides, this tool
provides knowledge, references, and faith-based encouragement on the subject to
help parents connect with their kids. However, we do not pretend to be physicians,
healthcare providers, or even experts on these difficult matters; as such, this resource
is NOT a substitute for medical advice or treatment. It can accompany and support
actions directed and/or confirmed by a qualified healthcare professional, but it is not
meant to replace or preclude any diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. Axis cannot be responsible for actions taken without professional medical
Instead of being our children’s consciences for them, we want to train their consciences to think deeply about the world around them. Instead of allowing them to piggyback off our faith, we want to help them own their faith for themselves. By doing so, we will better prepare them to be responsible, kind, God-honoring adults who purposefully and happily devote their lives to doing God’s will.
And we do all that through a process we call Culture Translation. It’s biblically based, centered around conversation, and can be used not only by parents, but also by grandparents, teachers, pastors, youth volunteers, administrators—anyone who has influence in teenagers’ lives. This Guide aims to teach you that process so that you can implement it with your teens and pre-teens. We want to give you our “secret sauce” because we believe so strongly in it and the difference it can make.
Fear & Worry
Fear is real—in fact, God created it (more on this below)—but worry is never
beneficial. By looking a little closer at the problems of fear and worry, we can learn
where they come from, what they are at their root, how to overcome them through
the power of God, and how to help our kids do the same.
Even if your kids don’t struggle with their sexual orientations or gender identities, they
probably know people who do. For the most part, the way the church has addressed
these issues has been inadequate at best and polarizing at worst. What follows is what
we think you need to know about what is shaping Gen Z’s perceptions of these issues,
as well as how you can engage well with your teen and the LGBTQ+ community.
Parents rightfully have concerns about their kids’ time spent in front of screens, and
video streaming like Netflix invents a whole new way to binge. So how much watching
is too much? How do I gain control of something that seems to be everywhere without
alienating my kids? Let’s explore together.
We live in complex financial times: It’s easier than ever to get credit cards, buy our dream
cars, go to our dream schools, buy our dream houses, and buy our way into what we think
will be happiness. Yay!! ... Right? Unfortunately, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Sadly,
43% of American adults are considered financially illiterate, the average household credit
card debt is $5,300, and the average debt for adults under 35 is $67,400. Top this off with
Americans not saving nearly enough for retirement (which is especially true of young
people), and we are seeing a real trend: Most of us are terrible with money. Why is this?
Could it in part be that we weren’t taught the value of personal finance when we were in
our school-age years? How can we teach our kids the value of financial literacy and better
prepare them for #adulting?
There are few cultural issues more pressing than the problem of pornography. Though
extremely damaging to us, porn appeals to powerful urges that God created as
good. Sexually explicit material has always been a cultural pitfall, but the internet and
smartphones have provided unprecedented access to it.
As our kids become preteens, then teenagers, and eventually adults, we Christian
parents desire to equip them with knowledge, truth, and the ability to navigate the
sexual landscape. How to do just that is a hot topic, particularly in the evangelical
To begin a conversation about racism in the United States, we have to understand
what we mean when we say “racism.” Today, “racism” is often used as a broad term
that encompasses stereotypes, biases, prejudices, White supremacy, racists, racism,
and systemic racism. For the sake of this guide, we will use the word “racism” to refer
to the broader contexts of racial issues, and use the other words to be more specific.
The phone used to be a device whose main purpose was communication. Now,
smartphones help us do just about anything: shop, socialize, read a book, do our
devotions, take care of finances, date, and maintain our health, to name a few. They are
shaping the world in unexpected ways. It’s easy to react out of fear of the challenges
that smartphones present. It’s also easy simply to mimic the habits of those around
us. Neither of those responses is healthy. Instead, we need to recognize the legitimate
benefits and dangers of the smartphone and assess those within a biblical framework
while teaching our “digital natives” to do the same.
For basically all of time, parents have taught children how to do things properly—things
like building fires, saddling horses, baking bread, plowing fields, or, more recently, making
phone calls, answering the door, and driving cars. But over the last few decades, this
natural order has been upended, thanks to our immense technological advancements.
Now, it’s the children who show parents how to send text messages, post on Facebook,
use Snapchat filters, and make TikTok videos. As technology continues to advance
rapidly, children adapt and learn while parents struggle to keep up.
This Guide will hopefully help put parents back in the driver’s seat because children still
need guidance, wisdom, and, yes, sometimes even boundaries to keep them healthy and
safe on social media as they learn and grow.
How do we help our kids not view drunkenness as a necessary aspect of social engagement or, more importantly, of “the good life”? More than just stopping them from drinking underage, the goal is for them to desire on their own not to participate in dangerous and risky behavior, no matter how normal culture makes it. We will look at all aspects of alcohol in this Guide in order to help you do just that!
Suicide & Self Harm Prevention
Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room: This is a scary topic that no parent wants
to even think about. Which is completely understandable. After all, God created us for
flourishing, abundant life, and relationship with Him, not pain, sadness, or the desire to
no longer live!
Unfortunately, our broken world is full of dysfunction, disorder, and sin, all of which
disrupt and decay the beautiful world God lovingly created for us. So what do we do
when that reality hits home, when our children struggle with very real issues? How do
we help our kids find physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing?
An Important Note:
This guide helps parents know more about the troubling incidence of suicide and selfharm
in the lives of young people. Like other Parent Guides in this series, this tool
provides knowledge, references, and faith-based encouragement on the subject to help
parents connect with their kids. However, we do not pretend to be physicians, healthcare
providers, or even experts on these difficult matters; as such, this resource is NOT
a substitute for medical advice or treatment. It can accompany and support actions
directed and/or confirmed by a qualified healthcare professional, but it is not meant to
replace or preclude any diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional.
Axis cannot be responsible for actions taken without professional medical guidance.
In the heart of every person is a deep-rooted question: “Who am I, and how do I fit
into the world around me?” In other words, what makes me “me”? Am I the roles that
I play (friend, sibling, athlete)? Am I a set of characteristics (quiet, bubbly, confident)?
Am I my thoughts, emotions, body, soul, actions...a summation of these things?
It can be difficult to navigate our teens’ search for identity with healthy language,
perspective, and grace. The Christian story for the world has a stunning message
about who we are; our challenge is to contextualize that story in the modern world,
the world of popular culture.
TikTok (formerly Musical.ly) has rapidly gained popularity among teens and tweens
since its launch in 2016. As “a destination for short-form mobile videos,” users upload
videos of themselves lip-syncing, telling jokes, dancing, etc.
For parents of teens and tweens who use the app (or keep asking to), it’s helpful to
know what it is, its pitfalls and dangers, and how to talk to them about it in order to help
them pursue abundant life in every area of their lives.
Understanding Gen Z
Are you looking at today’s teenagers and wondering why they’re always online or how on
earth their views on sexuality, government, and life in general can be so drastically different
In the U.S., the most recent generation to come of age is Generation Z, or Gen Z. American
society has gone through incredible change in the past few decades, which has especially
impacted how teenagers see the world because of their age and level of development. In this
Guide, we want to look at how the generations have changed over time, what has shaped
Gen Z’s views on life, and how that knowledge can help you connect with your kids better.
The days when you used to wait till Saturday night to watch your favorite show are long
gone. This might be old news to you—after all, Netflix has grown pretty popular. But when
asked which online service they couldn’t “‘live without,’” 67% of users aged 13-24 named
YouTube, with 85% saying it was something they regularly watch. YouTube easily surpassed
Netflix, traditional TV, and other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
So what’s the appeal? What are they watching that they can’t live without? What are all the
different subscriptions now associated with it? How do we talk to them about it all? And most
importantly, how do we teach our children to set healthy boundaries around all of their media
usage, including YouTube?