Each mini book (they are fairly small) is the perfect portable size and includes the most current information on the topic, relevant stories from Nicole's life (or someone else she knows), and Scripture references. She also includes checkpoints (with a basic rundown of what was discussed and example prayers to pray.
The rest of each book is a set of scenarios that can be used as discussion points with kids. I got a little squirmy reading some of these. She doesn't mince words, and she doesn't sugar coat anything. One of my favorite quotes (and something I am going to have to work on myself) is, "Let's stop being horrified by the truth about what our teens are faced with and start doing something to equip them to handle it."
It's true. I was faced with horrific things as a teenager. I did horrific things as a teenager. Not because I didn't know the difference between right and wrong. Not even because I didn't feel guilty about doing bad things, but because the only dialogue I was having about my decisions was with myself and my friends. And we found a way to justify all of our decisions.
When I was caught having a boyfriend or taking birth control or drinking or smoking, I was just grounded, told it was wrong and forbidden to do it again. So I got sneakier. Of course, hormones and teenage attitudes played into some of why I didn't talk to my mom about things, but I also know she was scared and too uncomfortable to talk about sex and drugs and underage drinking.
She also includes a quote by Mark Twain. "When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years." Ha!
As parents, we need to remember that our kids need us to be the ones to start the conversation, be non-judgmental and loving when they give their opinions, and consistently set the example of looking to God's Word for the answers. I am not the model parent. My kids find things that I do wrong all the time. That's why I am definitely going to need these books as a framework for discussions, as a reminder of how to handle my reactions to what my kids say or do, and to keep me on track during the really difficult subjects.
One of the best parts of each book is that it clearly outlines confession and forgiveness according to God's Word and provides the reminder of how God gives us a clean slate when we confess and accept His forgiveness. Sometimes teenagers (and adults) feel like they have done something unforgivable. They can't forgive themselves (or are not being forgiven by others) so they can't fathom how God could forgive them. They further use that as a way to justify continued sin. (I know, because I did!) Each book includes this section because it is SO IMPORTANT that our kids understand God's mercy and grace!
These books are also great because they can "stand alone". Nicole intentionally repeats the process of how to use the Scenarios with kids. I could easily lend just one out to a friend and they would be able to pick it up and apply it to discussions with their kids.
I can definitely wait for my kids to become teens and tweens, but I am really excited that I already have a tool, waiting in the wings, for when we need it. Here's the link to buy the book: Hot Buttons at Amazon
Win a $100 Visa Cash Card at the Hot Buttons Live Video Chat with Nicole O’Dell!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Litfuse book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.