Dr. Rosie Milligan
As a professional expert estate planner for more than a decade, I can tell you from an eye witnessed view point that it’s time to stick your nose in your children’s business. I will address the five areas of concern that you ought to make a part of your business. These areas are: spiritual, mental/emotional, physical, financial, and sexual. Let’s start with spiritual business.
SPIRITUAL BUSINESS: It’s time to ask your children some questions, such as: If you should die today, where would you spend eternity? Do you understand God’s plan of salvation? Read with them Romans 10:9–10. Let them know that no one is perfect and that God extends His salvation and protection to imperfect people. In fact, God gave His only begotten son’s life to redeem imperfect people. We often hear people say, I don’t feel saved. Let your children know that salvation is not a feeling; it’s about what the Word of God says. Pray with your children. Let your children see you praying at home and not just in church.
MENTAL/EMOTIONAL BUSINESS: Ask your children how they are doing mentally and emotionally. Observe their behavior and mood changes. It’s important to pay close attention since depression and suicide are on the rise due to the recession and the often accompanying depression which causes people to feel insecure, inadequate, uncertain, despair, and hopelessness. Communicate with your children face-to-face as much as possible or talk to them often via telephone. By doing so, you can detect when things are not well with them. You can hear it in their voices—pay attention to your gut feelings and instinct.
If you think they are depressed or using drugs or alcohol, confront them in a concerned, loving, caring manner and tell them your suspicions. They will probably lie, but just continue to observe and lovingly confront them. If they tell you they are depressed, believe them and seek help for them. Be aware of behavioral changes, such as: avoidance, silence, being withdrawn, snappy, and giving only short responses.
PHYSICAL BUSINESS: Do not be afraid to inquire about your children’s health. Pay attention to any lack of energy and obesity. Encourage them to have a physical examination annually. Ask if they have health insurance. If they don’t, be resourceful and help them to find a free clinic or medical services where payment is based on one’s ability to pay. Pay attention to them if they complain of being tired often or sleep too much. This could be a sign of depression, anemia, diabetes, or other health challenges. If they urinate frequently and are excessively thirsty, hungry a lot, and/or losing weight, they could be diabetic. After all, diabetics is rampant among adults and children.
Be an example for your children. Talk openly to them about your own health. Let them see you having annual checkups. Let them see you being physical, like walking and exercising, eating healthy foods, and avoiding fast foods. Remember children imitate their parents. If they see you cooking home meals, they will grow up to do the same; it will become a healthy lifestyle for them. Teach them to include vitamins and mineral supplements in their diets, especially since our foods are mostly nutrient bankrupt and the soil’s mineral content has been depleted by 85%. (Be on the lookout for my article “Nine Reasons People Get Sick.”) Bodies come only one per customer. And if your body is the temple of God, then treat it as such. Health is a matter of choice—your choice. Help your children to choose a healthy lifestyle and to practice prevention by eating healthy, reading about health issues, and having annual examinations.
FINANCIAL BUSINESS: Ask how your children are doing financially. Be blunt. Find out if they are paying their bills on time. Do they have a savings account? Do they have life insurance? Do they have a beneficiary on their life insurance policy and their bank account? These are important questions because if a person dies having a large amount of money in the bank without a designated beneficiary, it will have to go to probate court incurring court and attorney fees and a long waiting period before the funds will become available to be used by loved ones who may need the funds.
If you pay close attention to what your child is saying, doing, and how he/she is acting, you will pick up clues that something may be wrong. If you see that they are struggling, offer advice or assistance when possible. Many times children will not ask for help, especially if they know you are not doing well financially. Ask if they would like to move back home, pay less rent, and save more money until their financial situation improves. Do not apply pressure by setting definite time limits, like six months to a year. However, make sure that they are saving their money or paying off bills and not buying unnecessary things and wasting their money; otherwise, your helping them will have been in vain.
Teach them how to make a budget. A good budget plan is important. It must include all expenses, and spending includes tithes, vacations, holidays, subscriptions, entertainment, medications, etc. Go to my Web site www.911forblackamerica.com. Scroll down to the bottom of the home page and click on join our mailing list. Provide your e-mail address and I will send you a comprehensive sample budget.
If you have made bad financial decisions, point them out to your children. Be honest so they can learn from your mistakes and avoid making the same mistakes. After all, it’s harder to recover from financial mistakes during these difficult times.
SEXUAL BUSINESS: Do not shy away from talking about sex. After eating, sex is the next most-sought-after drive—so let’s talk about sex! With HIV, herpes, many other sexually transmittable diseases, the high rate of abortions and unwanted babies being born and teenage pregnancies, how can we neglect talking about sex? We must come to grips with double standards for our girls and boys and began to teach sexual accountability and responsibility to both males and females alike. Why is the curfew different for girls than boys? I truly believe that if parents were not concerned about their daughter becoming pregnant by staying out late at night, their daughters would have the same curfew hours as the boys.
Nighttime may be the most conducive time for parents to have sex, but for teens, there is no set time. In fact, many have sex in your house during the day while you are at work if you allow your daughters to have boys over to your home when you or other adults are not at home. They have sex when you are home, if their room is off-limits to you and if it’s okay for them to keep their doors closed or locked when they have company. Don’t you ever wonder what they do in their rooms, especially when you are not permitted to ever intrude upon their privacy?
Teach your child sex is an expression of love, bonding, and intimacy between mature adults who are committed to each other and who are financially capable of shouldering the responsibility of the results from being sexually involved, mature adults who are aware of the consequences of what could happen. Tell your child sex is not a recreational game and having sex does not make someone love you. Teach your son to have “protection” before “erection.” Teach your child about signs and symptoms of sexually transmittable diseases. Encourage your children to talk to you about sex issues, their sexual desires, and feelings about sex. We have been saying, “Just say ‘NO’” for years, and that has not worked for many—so let’s face the facts: teens, our youth, and unmarried people are having sex.
Encourage your children to come to you if they are pregnant or have contracted a sexually transmitted disease so that you can help them get proper medical treatment. Keep open dialogue. You may have to initiate the dialogue on sexual issues. Parents, continue to seek knowledge. Read books on life issues and attend seminars on these issues as well. Read books on parenting. Unfortunately, there is no manual that comes with instructions of being a parent or on teaching your child about sex. If you teach your child what your parents taught you, you know that will be next to nothing.
Remember, Generation X and Y are off the chain and in another world, so be willing to step into their world screaming like you did when you were forced to learn the computer. Be willing to save your child from sexual ruin. Remember what the Bible says about “train” versus “raise.” You raise crops and animals. But train up a child in the way he/she should go and when he/she is old, they will not depart from it. Let’s get busy teaching our children about sex.
Expect more articles to follow on getting in family business: It’s time to get in your parents’ business. It’s time to get in your husband’s business. It’s time to get in your wife’s business. It’s time to get in your grandchildren’s business.
Dr. Rosie Milligan, Internet Talk-Show Host, Author, Minister, Counselor, Estate Planner, Owner of Professional Business Management/Consulting Services, 1425 W. Manchester Ave., Ste. B, Los Angeles, CA, 323-750-3592. E-mail:Drrosie@aol.com