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Citizenship, Democracy and Your Teen

By Focus on the Family
By Bill Maier
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Cathy Walters
Talk with your teens about voting.

Teens are learning about citizenship and democracy at school. As the election approaches, it’s also likely that they’ve noticed the avalanche of radio and TV commercials advocating for particular candidates.

Ask your teens what they’ve heard about candidates or political parties. Then, explain what you know about a certain candidate or political party. Don’t be afraid to state your opinion, but support your position with reasonable arguments.

For example, you might say, “We think that Mrs. Smith is the best candidate for governor because she believes that people who work hard should be allowed to keep more of their own money.” Then explain what taxation is and what percentage of each dollar you earn goes to federal, state and local taxes. You might also say, “I won’t vote for Mr. Green because the U.S. Army says he lied about his military service. We need to be able to trust our political leaders.”

Talk about the responsibility and privilege of voting, and explain how voting is a way to be involved in government and culture. Check out FocusOnTheFamily.com/SocialIssues for more about how your involvement in the political process is a continuation of your faith.

—Dr. Bill Maier

Developmental Milestones

With teens, you’re able to have in-depth conversations about how voting affords the opportunity to represent your values. Here’s what’s going on developmentally:

Teens tend to find at least one group they identify with that provides friendships, fun and a sense of identity. Church and service organizations, athletics, performing arts, academics and even political/social activism will bring kindred spirits together. Idealism may flourish during these years, and commitments made to God and basic values can be fervent and life-changing. If you share one or more of these interests, you can cement deep and satisfying bonds with your teenager.

—Taken from the Complete Guide to Baby & Child Care, published by Tyndale House Publishers Inc., © 1997, 2007 Focus on the Family.

From God’s Word

Encourage your teen to seek God’s wisdom as she embarks on the great responsibility she has to influence the political process as well as those around her.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

My Vote Matters

Are you registered to vote? If not, get started and register today.

Copyright © 2012 by Focus on the Family and Dr. Bill Maier. Used by permission.

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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.
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