When I speak to moms groups about sex they often ask, “When should I start talking to my kids about sex?” They are probably hoping for a little more time to prepare. But none of us have more time. Culture, media, schools and porn are educating our kids everyday about sex. If you want your kids to have a biblical view about sex and other hard topics, then you can no longer remain silent. One of the most important choices we will make as a parent is to start talking to our kids about sex, today.
Little kids have no filters or fear when it comes to understanding their body or sex. Their curious minds love to ask questions and explore. Take advantage of this time to get comfortable talking about sex yourself. Read story books like How Babies are Made. The goal is to talk about sex with the same comfort level as reading about how trees grow. Teach your kids correct terms for their body parts and cultural norms, like not touching their private parts in public. Encourage their questions and conversation.
Going to school quickly opens up your child to outside influences. Prepare them for seeing porn by reading Good Pictures Bad Pictures. Help them make a plan for when they see pornography. Assure them they won’t get in trouble, even if they feel like they have done or seen something that feels naughty or bad. Continue to encourage questions but also ask them questions. If your child notices a pregnant woman, ask them if they know how babies are made. Periodically ask if they have heard words on the bus that confuse them. Stay engaged and keep encouraging open conversation.
Middle school feels like one of the most awkward stages for most kids. Conversations about sex will feel awkward too. As their body quickly changes extend grace as they try to get comfortable in their own skin again . Proactively talk to them not just about their body changes, but the feelings they notice along the way. Share some of your experiences about adolescence to let them know that you understand. Make some intentional choices to get away with them for one on one to talk.
Their friends are also going through immense changes and making major decisions about how to live. While leading with compassion, ask about their friends. Ask general questions like, “what do kids at school say about sex?” or “what do kids at school say about porn?” You need to understand what your child is dealing with. Make sure they always know that even though they are growing up, you are always available – no matter what.
Your child is quickly becoming a grown up and will be on their own before you know it. Your job is to transition from teaching to equipping them to make good choices. When struggles or topics come up, start by asking what they think. Encourage them to think about what biblical principles apply. Help them understand that in real life, often no magical formula exists for doing things right. We need to talk to others, think about biblical principles, and ask God to give us answers.
Create conversations from what you watch on media to bring to light the differences between what culture teaches and what you believe. Share your own experiences and failures that have helped you understand God’s grace, forgiveness and how good His plan is for us. Continue to welcome conversations with a judgement free zone. Challenge them to figure out what they believe and think, and to live what they believe .
Have compassion as your kids try to navigate life on their own. They will make mistakes. Try to create a safe place for them to be honest and always be there for them. Don’t be afraid to share your failures as a way to understand God’s goodness. Keep asking questions and make sure they know that you don’t have all the answers either. Challenge yourself with questions like, “If my daughter got pregnant, could she talk to m? Or would she feel forced to abort the baby in order to avoid telling me the truth.”
It is never too late to start talking to your kids about sex. Whether your kids are 2 years old, or 17, commit to start imparting your truth about sex today. You will make mistakes along the way. Eagerly take ownership..
- I am sorry I reacted like that…. I didn’t grow up talking about sex with my parents and so sometimes your questions scare me because I am not sure how to answer them….
- Please forgive me for reacting like that…. I am not mad at you, or disappointed in you, and I am so glad you told me. I am just sad that what God meant to be a beautiful thing in marriage is being corrupted by the world. When I hear about porn I feel ….
Silence is the greatest enemy of sexual wholeness. Regardless of the ages of your kids, open up the conversation of sex. Start talking to your kids and let them know that they can come to you, no matter what.