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Backseat Advice

I had a vision.

Before I was a parent, I had this vision that my kids and I would have these 30-minute life-changing conversations where we would sit down over coffee and hot-chocolate.

Now that I am a parent, that vision has been shattered. To a million pieces.

My guess is that before you were a parent you had a vision like this and now that you are a parent that vision has been shattered.

The reality is that those moments of 30-minute discussions, even 5-minute discussions rarely, if ever exist. And yet, we as parents need a way to have conversations that guide our children.

So, what do we do? There is a place that I have found that offers a captive audience and is a place that our children are much more willing to talk.

This mysterious place. Your car.

You see, the car is a place where profound and life-changing discussions can happen. And it makes sense, in Deuteronomy, it talks about impressing God's guidelines to your child AS YOU ARE GOING. And if we think about it, it makes sense. There is less pressure and it makes the advice seem like a normal part of life.

There are three ways to increase this super-power of your car.

  • Be A Media Ninja- Unless we go on long trips, an hour or more we don’t allow tablets to be taken or used in our vehicles. We have the radio on, loud enough to hear, but not too loud where discussion would be difficult without turning down the music a long ways

  • Master the Benign Question- Don’t start out with deep, life-altering questions. Start out with the simple, “How was your day?”

  • Let Them Talk- My tendency is to blab and talk and blab and talk and preach and teach and lecture and talk and blab, yet I have found when given space, kids will bring up some important life-changing issues that they are dealing with.

Give it a try and then let me know how it goes.

Please feel free to share any ways that have worked for you and your child in the comments below.


Mike has worked with teens and parents for 14+ years. Mike has been married to Natalie for over 10 years. They love living near downtown Holland. Mike prides himself on being left-handed and even has a left-handed clock in his office that confuses the majority of those who glance at it!

Healthy conversations with your teen: 


Blog Goal:The Talk With Your Teen blog encourages and equips Christian parents to have consistent, open, and meaningful conversations with their teenagers about relational and sexual health.


About us: This blog is hosted by The Joshua Center from Positive Options. The Joshua Center exists to mobilize the body of Christ to embody the Gospel as we build a culture of life in West Michigan.


Parenting teens can be challenging. We offer Biblically based social and sexual health workshops that help ground teens in God's truth and authority as they navigate a hypersexual and rapidly evolving culture focused on individualism and self-gratification. Talk with your Teen articles expand and build on these trainings by encouraging and equipping Christian parents to have ongoing conversations with their teens regarding sensitive cultural issues. For more information about our workshops, for both teens and their parents, please email

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