Why should you talk to your children about sex?
Proverbs 22:6 says, “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” As uncomfortable as some parents may feel, and even children, part of that training includes understanding our God-given sexuality as human beings. Quite frankly, parents who fail to talk about sex with their children create a gaping deficiency in the holistic development of their children and also disobey God’s commandment to train and disciple their family. Without understanding sex through the lens of Scripture (God’s means of revealing Himself to us), and through loving and nurturing relationships with parents, children will seek to fill their lack of understanding elsewhere.
Consider the following scenarios:
- Your child has just received a smartphone with internet access and a “friend” informs him or her about a new “xxx” website he found while he was home alone.
- Your child listens to a friend as he or she begins recounting the explicit conversations or experiences they are having with their boyfriend or girlfriend.
- Your child is watching a movie or tv show laden with sexual innuendos, jokes, and suggestive or even explicit scenes (i.e. Deadpool, Game of Thrones).
- Your child is in a convenience store and notices people perusing through magazine covers bearing risque headlines or images on them.
Each and every experience listed above will slowly shift your child’s moral framework if you remain uninvolved in your child’s sexuality. Instead, a twisted and cheap imitation of sex, the result of sinfulness, will find acceptance and value in your child’s heart. Without a guiding compass found only in Scripture, and in the home, your child will only find pain, hurt, and shame in their sexuality.
May I implore you to speak with your children today concerning sex. Speak with your children when they are home, driving in the car with you, enjoying a day in the park, or sitting at the breakfast table.
Deuteronomy 6:7-9 commands families to teach the words of God to their children at all times. This command extends to teaching our children their sexuality in light of the God who created them and gave them the ability to create new life.
How should you talk to your children about sex?
Many parents struggle to even know where to begin. May I encourage you and say that the hardest four words are “Let’s have a conversation.” However, as you begin to contemplate and approach your child’s sexuality, here are a few guiding principles for you to begin this much-needed conversation.
Begin a gradual conversation with your child, in an age-appropriate manner.
Begin having gradual and frequent conversations concerning your children’s sexuality in age-appropriate language. Don’t overload your child with an intense sexuality marathon. Answer any questions they may have, and propose a few of your own. Your child may respond easily, and may not but opening the door for conversation is vital. Also, affirming your home and your relationship with your children is a safe and loving place will help promote future and further dialogue.
Be honest as you talk.
If your child has questions, answer them. If you don’t know the answer to their questions, be honest with them that you are unsure at them moment but will find an answer. Your child would rather hear your honest reactions as opposed to a dishonest answer.
Begin conversations when the questions stop being asked.
Perhaps your twelve year old has stopped asking questions concerning sexuality, or your fourteen year old runs away from you every time you try to ask a question. This may indicate an essential time to initiate conversations at critical times in your child’s life. In a loving and calm manner, begin the conversation saying:
“Today, we are going to talk about ________.”
Don’t be afraid to ask starter questions before you begin:
“What do you know about _____?”
“What have you heard about _____?”
Then steer the conversation toward the proposed topic.
Check your emotions at the door.
When anxiety and fear paralyze you from beginning conversations with your children about sex, mine the depths of these emotions. Perhaps there are past experiences in your own life that need to find healing. Talk with a pastor or counselor if you find yourself uncomfortable and unable to begin a conversation concerning sexuality with your children.
Additional resources to aid you in this conversation: