If you’ve been following along with us this month, you’ve noticed that we’ve covered some pretty disturbing topics, from dismemberment porn to kids masturbating to pornography during class. Needless to say, our kids are growing up in a hyper-sexualized media culture, where exhibitionism, sexual promiscuity and experimentation are the norm. Given this reality, it can be pretty challenging to know where and how to start talking to our children about issues regarding sex (especially from a Christian perspective), so where is a parent to start?
Remember that your kids want and need guidance when it comes to sex. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and between the culture and some of the misguided efforts of the church, it’s up to you to help your kids learn to discern fact from reality. The culture tells our kids that sexual experimentation is a right of passage and promotes sex with no strings attached. Unfortunately, the church is often silent when it comes to sex, or when it does talk about sex, it leaves our kids feeling condemned, guilty and ashamed about their bodies and their sexual desires.
It’s up to us to start the conversation early and move beyond a “just say no” approach. Earlier this year, Craig and I wrote a book for youth leaders that I believe to be extremely helpful for parents as well, so for more on this issue, get a copy of the book here.
In the mean time, remember to be honest. Your kids will respect you more and listen to you more if you talk to them from a place of honesty. Unfortunately, I’ve talked with many Christian teenagers whose parents have tried to use scare tactics to keep their kids form messing around. While it is true that sexual promiscuity is tied to higher levels of depression, substance abuse, STDs and more social ills, it’s also true that in the heat of the moment, most of those parental warnings can fly out the door.
We need to cast light on God’s compelling, beautiful and purposeful place for sex within the context of marriage. We need to help our kids understand that God is pro-sex, not against sex. He created it. But He also wants us all to experience this good gift within the right context. Sex is the physical expression of the emotional, spiritual and covenantal unity that can come only in marriage. We’ll have more on this topic and some concrete action steps later this week, so stay tuned. Also, be sure to check out our age-based guidelines for having “The Talk” here.