How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex
#7 Don’t start with “don’t”…..
I realize how ironic this statement is, but hear me out. We are BAD about this. The church is historically BAD about this. Anytime we approach this subject (especially with our teens) it’s obsessively rooted in “DON’T HAVE SEX TIL YOU’RE MARRIED!” And that’s the extent to which we go. I’m not sure how your parenting works, but simply telling my child not to do something hasn’t always been the most effective means of keeping them from doing something.
Imagine you are potty-training your toddler and the only action you took in regards to helping them learn was, “don’t pee in your pants!” Some children’s personalities would be so motivated to please you as a parent that they would try their hardest to not pee their pants. Some children would pee their pants just to spite you. Some children would absolutely have no idea how to keep from peeing their pants.
Jay Stringer offers a similar analogy. What if we wanted to teach someone about cooking, but all we talked about was food poisoning. How distorted, confusing, and ill-prepared would someone be to actually cook and know the delicacies and wonders of food and cooking.
Y’all. This is what we do to our kids in regards to sex. We give this grand imperative and then we walk away and think we’ve “fulfilled” our parental-role. Then we are shocked when our children choose to do otherwise or find themselves in a position that wooed them to do otherwise.
No amount of “True Love Waits” conferences, no amount of purity rings, no amount of contracts, no amount of chaperones, no amount of accountability partners, no amount of attempts to legislate your child’s sexuality will actually put YOU in charge of their sexuality. Our children are moral responders and will have to make this choice and a million other choices for themselves. We can’t make it for them.
I can hear the rumble in the peanut gallery already. Don’t hear what I’m not saying. I believe God ordained sex to be between one man and one woman in the protection of a covenant marriage. I think there are REALLY important things we can do and say to help our children in this department. But I think we are on a fool’s errand if we simply think telling our children not to have sex before they are married is the primary goal and the primary tactic. It’s not.
Life, sex and Godliness is so much bigger and so much more beautiful than, “don’t have sex before you are married!”
There is so much destruction, perversion, pain and danger that can take place loonnngggg before anatomical parts meet.
I think abstinence should absolutely be the goal in parenting, but I think abstinence has become an idol in American churches. I think we’ve become distracted and obsessed with a moral outcome, as opposed to being experts on the children standing in front of us. I want my children to love their God with their entire being! I want my children to love others with their entire being! I want my children to tell the truth! I want my children to be kind! I want my children to be sacrificial and wise! I want my children to be discerning! I want my children to know their God is good, that He is safe, that He adores them and is moving toward them in every way! I want them to know He is in the business of redeeming brokenness. I want them to know their God is a healer, a rescuer, a guide, a forgiver and He is reason that life is worth living.
If the only relational goal we have for our children is to get them to their wedding day as virgins, we are failing and we will be failed.
Don’ start with don’t. Dive deeper, go wider prepare of feast of information for your child instead of an anemic appetizer.