Talking to Your Kids About Sex

I’ll never forget the first “sex talk” I had with my son Zach at Chick-fil-A a few months ago. It was one of the most awkward moments of parenting. But looking back, I’m glad I started the conversation when I did. Having sensed God’s prompting, I recognized that helping my son live pure and understand God’s design for our sexuality would be a challenge in today’s culture, so I wanted to start early and be ahead of the curve, so that he learns about sex from me, rather than someone else.

The other day, I was asked by a father at church about what to do in regards to communicating with his kids about sex. Here’s what I had to say on the subject:

Start Early – The key here is that you want to be the primary and first source of information for your child. The old saying is true, “If you don’t tell them, someone else will.” You want to make sure they are getting the right information about sex.

Share in Stages – Share information based on the child’s interest, maturity and ability to understand. A great book to read on this subject is Talking to Your Kids About Sex, by Mark Laaser. This book is broken down by the stages of a child’s development and offers practical age appropriate ideas of what to address, how and why.

Answer Questions – If your child is willing to ask a question, it’s because they want an answer. Many parents make the mistake of putting off the questions their children ask and never return to answer them. Either because they feel their child isn’t ready to hear them, or they aren’t prepared to address it. Whatever the reason, if you don’t answer the question, they will probably ask someone else.

Teach According to Truth, not Culture – The fact is that today’s culture is mostly wrong about the issue of sex. Culture today is trying to redefine what sex is and one of the greatest tragedies of our generation has been the separation of human sexuality and spirituality. Don’t be afraid to teach your children to be different. If they understand God’s design for their sexuality, they will live differently.

Discuss the Emotional, & Physical Aspects of Sexual Intimacy – Our children should understand the emotional aspect of sex and the damage which can be caused by premarital sexual activity, as much as they should understand the physical aspects. The emotional pain of premarital sex is usually the most damaging aspect later in life.

Make a Covenant with Them – My sister-in-law took both of her kids on a retreat, went through the Passport to Purity curriculum and gave them a purity ring to wear as a reminder of the covenant they made between God and their parents. When my niece got married earlier this year, she gave her ring back to her father to symbolize that she had faithfully fulfilled the vow she had made that day as a teenager.

Keep the Door Open – Keep having the age appropriate conversations! My conversations with Zach are far from over, but by opening the door early, I have hopefully removed any barriers that would prevent him from coming to talk to me. I have also removed the mystique of sex, by being willing to talk to him and answer the questions he has. I don’t believe Zach would be willing to talk about such a difficult subject in the future, if I had not established that freedom and practice at an early age.

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