The night before my wedding, my Dad sat me down and asked, “Anything you want to know about sex?” I was 22 years old and this was the first time he had asked. My Mom said, “You graduated from nursing school, so we figured you knew more than us.” Talk about putting off the “birds and bees” discussion…they had good intentions, but like so many parents, “the talk” made them uncomfortable, so it didn’t happen.
In our sex-saturated society, we parents have the ultimate responsibility in having these discussions. Our children are bombarded by the world’s view of sex: no boundaries, no limit to number of partners, sex outside of marriage is acceptable. Of course, this view is contrary to God’s Word, which should be our primary source of wisdom in all areas!
I believe that teaching our children about sex is a necessary, ongoing dialogue as they grow and mature. We must reinforce two truths:
- God created sex to be enjoyed between one man and one woman only within the boundaries of marriage. It is a beautiful gift that He gave us to express our love for one another and also to create babies. (Genesis 1:27-28, 2:24; Proverbs 5:18-19; Song of Solomon; 1 Corinthians 6:12-20)
- Premarital and Extramarital sex is wrong. (1 Corinthians 7:2-3, 10:13; Hebrews 13:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4)
Toddlers and Children
- Age-appropriate books can be found at local Christian bookstores, Focus on the Family.com, and Amazon.com. Focus on the Family offers articles and additional resources online.
- Answer questions simply. Give need to know basics.
- Keep your children plugged into Children’s Ministry.
- Encourage Christian friendships.
- Continue dialogue as they grow.
Preteens and Teenagers
- Crucial to have ongoing discussion at this age. Our teens are exposed daily to MTV, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Internet images which often cheapen sex. These mediums focus on outer appearance, not inner character.
- Age-appropriate books and movies.
- Set boundaries on dating: age, curfew, parents home when teens are present.
- Important to keep our teens engaged in Youth Group and Youth conferences. Peers can and will shape our teens’ views on sex. Encourage Christian friendships and support your Youth Minister in his efforts.
- Encourage self-control and setting limits on physical activity.
- Discuss importance of choosing a Christian mate. (2 Cor. 6:14-16)
- Be open to honest, sometimes uncomfortable conversations.
- Discuss contraception, abortion, sexually transmitted infections.
- Levity is okay! Each conversation does not have to be carefully planned. When our oldest son Zack was 12 or 13, we were having a sex discussion. He always had lots of questions for me. This particular night he had listened for awhile and then asked, “But I want to know, how does it feel to have sex?” Well, I laughed, took a deep breath and called for his Dad to answer that one.
Above all else, be loving and accepting as parents. Realize that we are human and we all make mistakes (Romans 3:23). Jesus loves us and will forgive us (Romans 6:23). We need to pray with and for our kids daily that they will choose God’s plan for their lives. Our challenge as parents is to provide a positive Christian model of marriage and sex and share this gift with our children.
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