If there is any place in my parenting that requires grace, it is in the conversations about sex that I have with my children. I’ve said the wrong things at the wrong time. I’ve jumped to conclusions. I’ve missed opportunities. Why? Because it feels hard talking to our kids about sensitive topics. But as parents, we must be the ones to engage in these conversations so that our kids learn to view sex from a biblical perspective. In today’s post and podcast, Melanie and I share what we’ve learned while providing a biblical perspective of sexuality for our kids.
▼ Jump to Listen to Episode #40: How Do I Talk to My Children About Sex ▼
Tip #1: Know Your Child, But Don’t Ignore Reality
Know your child, but don’t be blind to the world. I love this “keep it between the ditches” piece of advice. Your kids will always be your babies, but we have been given a biblical responsibility to teach our children about God’s good plan for sexuality.
Research reveals that between the ages of 6-10 conversations about the changing body and sex need to start. Begin simply by sharing what is appropriate for each child’s personality, exposure, and questions. If your child comes to you with questions, start by asking them why they asked the question. You can follow up by asking if they have any other questions. This stops adults from sharing information that the child may not be ready for.
A word of caution: You cannot shelter your child from the world’s view of sexuality. The pages of Scripture remind us that sexual sin is a reality for all people. But we can begin having conversations early and be open to being our child’s go-to “expert” about sex.
Tip #2: Start Young
Conversations about sexuality should begin when the child is still in the preschool years. The Bible affirms that our children are uniquely created and made with a purpose – to bring God glory (Genesis 1, 2; Psalm 119). Yet, just as God lovingly establishes boundaries regarding our bodies and our sexuality for our good and for His glory, parents also must set boundaries for their children. These boundaries keep the child safe and are a reminder that God’s ways are best!
As the child grows, share that we are also created as sexual beings. But because of sin, these God-given aspects can be used for harm. Help your child understand that sexual thoughts are not sinful. But when those thoughts preoccupy our minds or we act on them outside of the boundary of marriage, they become sin. We also want our children to understand that we are called to be holy, or set apart, from the culture. Our sexuality is not excluded from this. There is such joy in Christ-followers’ understanding that their whole selves are to be submitted to the Lord!
Tip #3: Keep the Communication Door Open
Conversations about sex are not one-and-done. While they begin in the preschool years, conversations should continue throughout childhood. Especially in the teen years, it is vital that your teen feels comfortable talking with you – no matter the subject. Understand that kids might say things just to see how you react. Your response lets them know if you’re ok with them asking more questions or sharing their thoughts. We don’t need to be afraid of their questions! Remember, we want to be the expert they turn to. While I hope this isn’t the case, I have taken the next step by telling my kids that if ever they don’t feel comfortable talking to me about a situation, they can talk to other wise people. I then supplied them with a list of biblically wise people they can turn to.
Tip #4: Resources
Praise God that we don’t have to journey this road alone and that wise people have written books and generated resources to help guide focused conversations. Below are three that I have used to some degree.
The Care and Keeping of You – Working from head to toe, this book focuses on bras, nutrition, exercise, and then the “big changes.” While it isn’t biblically based, it is super easy to input Scripture into the book. Read more…
Luke Gilkerson’s The Talk, Changes, and Relationships provide scripts to read to your children to discuss sexuality, changes of the body, and relationships with the opposite sex with Scripture as its guide. I love the prayer aspect and how easy it is to use this resource. These books allow you to easily divide the learning into small sections allowing the child time to process.
Passport2Purity – P2P uses CD’s, object lessons, and guided conversations all while creating a relaxed, child-focused atmosphere to help your son or daughter decide in advance how he or she will stay pure in their heart, mind, and body. Read more…
#37: How Do I Talk to My Child About Sex?
The tips in this post are just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much information available, but I believe you will be empowered and encouraged further by info shared in the accompanying podcast.
Thank you to Intoxicated on Life for providing a free review of the Sex Ed Series by Luke Gilkerson in exchange for an honest review.