There have been some really great posts this month on how to talk to your kids about issues like sex and pornography. If you haven’t read them, please go there first and come back when you’re done reading them. They offer a lot of great tips and wisdom for how we can love our children well by being honest with them about traditionally tough subjects.
I’m sure my wife and I are similar to many couples reading this who also have young kids in the home. Our two are 8 and 6 years old, a boy and a girl. So that makes it even more interesting (and fun)!
Ever since I’ve walked in freedom from a pornography addiction that ended 13 years ago, my prayer has been that not only would I become a man of sexual purity but that our children would also walk in that kind of freedom for their Iives.
But I also know that one day my wife and I will need to begin talking to our kids about what healthy sexuality looks like. And the reality is that the first conversation with them will probably be an awkward one.
But that’s okay because awkward conversations still matter.
That’s the whole point of this article: Even though a conversation will be difficult doesn’t mean we don’t allow it to happen. Certainly we know that this principle applies in our own recovery journey, right?
We don’t shy away from conversations with our spouses and with other recovery brothers & sisters. Why? Because when avoidance occurs and ignorance has a chance to breed.
We can’t just “hope” that our children will discover the truth about issues like sex and pornography on their own.
There’s a principle you may have heard of called first mention. Essentially, it means that the first time a person hears something taught or presented to them is when their view of that subject begins to form.
Example: If a child is FIRST exposed to pornography from a friend or something they see on the internet, chances are their understanding and opinion of what sex is or should look like will be based on what they’ve seen, even if you try to teach them otherwise.
Remember, it really is what reaches our kids first that matters.
Far too many parents have avoided the “talk” with their kids because it’s not easy. Certainly, there are essential truths we can’t forget as we have these conversations (notice, I said “conversations” plural, not singular – we’ll get back to that in a second).
But they don’t have to be perfect conversations either. You’re going to feel awkward at times and so are your kids. But it doesn’t give us the option of running from it.
I want to be the first one in my children’s lives that speaks truth as it relates to such a beautiful subject like sex. And even for tougher subjects like pornography, it has the potential to be a truly formative experience.
Another benefit is that when your child (or children) have questions about sex or porn, the hope is they come back to you with those questions. They will measure every contrary view against the truth that you have taught them.
I love what Proverbs 22:6 says in The Passion Translation:
“Dedicate your children to God and point them in the way that they should go, and the values they’ve learned from you will be with them for life.”
That last phrase is what I want you to focus on: “The VALUES they’ve learned from YOU will be with them for LIFE.” What does this mean? Let’s break down a few words very clearly:
The truths, the non-negotiables, the gold that you want your children to carry their entires lives. In this case, it’s the healthy definition of what sex looks like in the context of marriage.
Any kind of distortion of that definition perverts God’s specific plan for them.
You, as your child’s father or mother, will have the most direct impact on their life. They will see your example in how you treat your spouse, how you work, play, communicate, rest, and how you love them.
And one of the greatest ways you can love them well is by shepherding their hearts. This means being truthful with them about matters that will shape their life forever. Don’t allow any other deceptive voice to tell them what is “true”.
If we’re able to reach our children’s hearts with the truth of what healthy sexuality looks like, they may carry that truth their entire lives. What an amazing reward it would be to see your children living with sexual integrity and experiencing the beautiful joy of sexual intimacy within the context of marriage!
I would say all of this is worth the awkwardness that sometimes comes along with these kinds of conversations. Awkward conversations still matter. They still need to happen.
I believe that if we go into these conversations refusing to bow to fear and showing unconditional love to our children, there’s so much truth that can be imparted to them.
Reach out to us through Office Hours with any questions that you have about these types of conversations with your children or any other topic that we cover on this blog!