Sexual Relationships: Parents, Talk About These with Kids.
Talk about a tough subject…When is the right time? What’s the right setting? How much do I say? Should I leave anything for later? What if I laugh like I am a Junior High kid?! Shane helps us navigate through this difficult endeavor.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh. Genesis 2:24
Talking to kids about sexual relationships is a difficult endeavor. There is a high probability that your own parents or caretakers did not model it well, and so we are frequently left without good examples of how to proceed. The most important thing to remember is that children are being educated about sexual relationships. They are getting information from their friends, school, TV, movies, magazines, social media, video games, etc. The only question is, are you going to contribute your voice to the conversation? Below are a few thoughts about how to approach the topic of sexual relationships with older children. Of course, use your own good judgment about what is age appropriate for your children.
- Celebrate with them! Desire for sex is good, glorious, and from God. Yet many children are shamed by their well-meaning Christian parents for having very natural sexual desires. I wonder how we can creatively celebrate the development of our children’s bodies and the good sexual desires God grows in us all.
- Mourn with them. Waiting can be hard! A decision to postpone sex until marriage does not mean desire goes away, or that desire is bad. We meet our children where they are when we acknowledge the difficulty of the journey and that we have shared in similar suffering.
- Take a small step and see what happens. I’m the father of a 22 year old daughter and a 21 year old son, and for a long time I didn’t want to talk about sexual relationships with either of them. I totally bombed a couple of times, but I eventually had those serious but sometimes awkward and funny talks with each of them. My wife entered into the conversation and we even had a couple of family talks once the ice had been broken. Our engaged daughter recently encouraged my wife and me to listen to some podcasts on the Song of Solomon…with her! I was nervous at first but it led to more really good discussions. I learned quite a bit. After all, it’s not like I’ve arrived and know everything. The important thing is that we are in conversation, in spite of my many mistakes.
- Encourage your children to wrestle with God (like Jacob?) about the bind caused by having sexual desires and then having to wait until marriage for intimacy. This is a difficult struggle and I think God will appreciate some honest questions.
- Consider what it means to model mercy. How will we respond to how our children deal with this bind? Perhaps your own history could be a source of grace, and the source of some really good talks.
How does it feel to not have the answers about this struggle? Then how does it feel to give up control and encourage your older child(ren) to wrestle with God about their suffering?
How does it make you feel to know that it is difficult for many parents to discuss sexual relationships? Do you think your parents are scared or nervous?