Back when I was in college there was a show called Kids Say the Darndest Things. It was originally hosted by the then popular TV dad, Bill Cosby, and later revived with host Tiffany Haddish.
The show lasted a total of 5 seasons but had its moments of popularity for sure. The concept was relatively simple. The host would have conversations about life topics with children asking them questions along the way. The child being interviewed usually responded with their own innocent, often comedic perspectives on the subject at hand, which is where the entertainment factor kicked in.
I’m sure if you are a parent you’ve had similar experiences with your children. I know I have. And yea, it’s kinda humorous. Kids always seem to have the funniest and most raw opinions on what in reality are very complex life matters. Of course, when this happens as a parent we usually can speak into their wide-eyed innocent and often ill-informed perspectives.
Unless they are talking about sex, porn, or masturbation.
That’s not a laughing matter.
And often it can turn out to be a pretty painful one.
One of the reasons is that while a child may come to their parents with their thoughts and/or questions about something like world hunger or politics, usually they get their “information” about sex, porn, and/or masturbation from someone else, like their friends.
Ok, but is that such a big deal? Sure, kids have some bizarre takes on sex – but how bad can it be?
Pretty bad as it turns out. Here are some examples.
- One kid my son knows from school told him that “You’re not a man until you jerk off.”
- My son was also asked by several friends “where he watched his porn” since he didn’t have Safari enabled on his iPhone, as if watching porn on your phone is just part of anyone’s daily routine.
- When he’s told several friends that he doesn’t watch porn, their response has been “That’s weird.” This has happened many times with many friends.
- My daughter knows a girl in her school (who goes to a local church and is leader in their youth program by the way) that told her friends she had “safe” sex with her boyfriend by using a sandwich baggie!?
And this is just scratching the surface. It only gets worse from there.
Why am I sharing this with you?
Because the truth is, if you avoid talking with your kids about sex or other sexual matters because of your discomfort or awkwardness, you are feeding them to the wolves. They don’t stand a chance.
And why is that important?
Because “I didn’t know” is not a suitable defense.
Understand that when we refuse to be proactive in these areas with our children because we don’t appreciate the consequences that they will face, that is ignorance. But when we know what awaits them in the world and still refuse to discuss these areas of life, that’s willful negligence. And the price for that negligence may very well be a lifetime of regret and pain for your kids.
If you don’t explain the good gift of sex and how it fits into God’s purpose for our lives, they will treat it as a commonplace activity.
If you don’t explore the topic of masturbation and share the emotional consequences they will face by chemically bonding with images on computer screens, they will either see it as a rite of passage or a dirty habit that they will still engage in while experiencing crushing shame and guilt.
If you don’t acknowledge the reality of porn in the world and explain how watching it can create short term satisfaction but lead to long term regret and relational consequences, they will most assuredly watch it on their own because hey… that’s just “normal” behavior for any kid.
Sometimes being a parent is fun, amazing, and an immense pleasure in life. Sometimes it’s the hardest job in the world. And unfortunately we don’t get to pick and choose what aspects of parenting we embrace and what ones we avoid.
You’re the parent.
You have a job to do.
Because if you don’t, your kids won’t just say the darndest things, they’ll do the darndest things, leaving you to pick up the pieces when things eventually and inevitably blow up for them.