Every kid is different, every family is different, every experience is different and I do not don’t have all the answers, but below are 10 tips for conversations with your kids about SEX.
If you did not read Mondays post – Conversations with your kids – please read it now.
Affirm –Start the conversation by affirming them. A young child might be affirmed for his natural curiosity. An older child might be affirmed for his honesty in sharing his struggles. Kids even need to be affirmed that God made them sexual beings and that it is a good thing – even when it seems challenging to live in God’s boundaries.
Use the proper terms – From the time they are young, use the proper terms for their body. Penis, testicles, vagina, and vulva should all be household words that are no harder to say than tongue, arm or leg.
Share your own Story – In age appropriate ways, share your own story about struggles, challenges and redemption. Your kids need to know that they are not the first one to go through this, and that even you have messed up. They also need to hear how God has shown up in your life – through speaking to you, wooing you back or healing you.
Acceptable behavior – Part of educating our kids is simply teaching them what acceptable social behavior is. For example, some topics are reserved for private conversations with mom and dad, and touching or looking at their private parts takes place in the privacy of their bedroom or bathroom.
Point them to God’s Truth – Lead them to God’s word for answers, even when it is not black and white. When the issue is not clearly addressed in the Bible, show them verses that do apply, and teach them about asking God for discernment. Even a child understands the gnawing feeling in their gut of right and wrong. For example, the bible does not speak directly about masturbation, but it does speak about not lusting, and not being controlled. Be sure to also include messages of healing and redemption, because we all mess up, but God loves us, and can forgive us and heal us because he wants us to be whole. It is never too late to turn around.
Judgement Free Zone – I know that some of you may disagree with me, but if you want to continue sharing conversations with your kids about sex, you need to create a judgement free zone, especially as they age. If your kid falls into pornography, the last thing you want them to do is hide it. Listen to them, ask questions, share your experiences, offer help, point them to God’s truth, but create a safe place where they can ask you about anything, no matter what.
Don’t forget the rest of the story – During your marriage you will have sex thousands of time, but only a handful of times to make a baby. Why is it that when we talk to our kids about sex, we always talk about how babies are made? Shouldn’t we talk about why we have sex the rest of time? Kids need to know that sex is an amazing way that we connect as husbands and wives, that it glues us together, that it is holy and that it is way more fun than vegging out in front of the TV.
Educate them about safety – What a complicated world we live in that is changing at an alarming rate. Everywhere there are predators looking for kids that are unhappy, feeling alone and insecure. Your kids must know that they can always talk to you about anything – no matter what. They need to know that if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable they should tell you. As they get older, they need to understand the ramifications of sharing information on line and that there are bad people out there. Stay informed, in communication, and don’t be afraid to set boundaries to keep your kids safe.
Look for times they need additional help – If you notice big changes in your kids dress, friends, grades, personality or interactions and they won’t talk to you, don’t be afraid to get extra help. Ask other important adults in their life to meet with them and invest time. Many kids struggle with depression, pornography addiction, or have been abused. Don’t be afraid to find a good Christian counselor. Get help when they are young.
They can come to you about anything – Always remind your kids at the end of the conversation, that you are glad they talked to you and they can ask you anything. If you want your kids to get answers about sex from you, they have to know you want to talk about it, and you are a safe place, full of love, understanding and grace.
Recently I was teaching a men’s class filled with 30 year olds. These men understood the challenges of living a pure life in today’s world and the struggles that have come with growing up in a culture where viewing pornography is normal. I was so encouraged when one of the men exclaimed, “we need to turn things around for this next generation by having open conversations with our kids from the time they are little.”
We can take sex back from this broken world. It is God’s. It is his design, his creation, and it is a gift that strengthens marriages. Open up conversation with your kids about sex – not just how babies are made, not just don’t do it, not just some awkward talk. Affirm them for the way that God created them, and encourage their curiosity. Recognize the struggles, and the brokenness of the world. Warn them of the dangers and be a safe place to talk. Share the amazing gift that sex is to marriage and above all –