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A New Perspective!
It is no secret that parents are nervous about talking to their kids about sex. Be Broken Ministries surveyed a number of parents in 2019 to see why. The results can be categorized into four parental fears:
However, we didn’t stop there. We also surveyed Christian teenagers to find out what fears children have related to talking with their parents about sex. They had only two kinds of fears:
The reality is we do understand how our children feel. Our relationship will not get worse but much deeper if we talk honestly with our kids about sex. Knowing God’s design for sex does not ruin innocence at any age. We want to be the first, not the last, to speak into that conversation. Our kids will face sexual temptation and when we admit our past we prove we do know how they feel, which is a comfort to them.
One aspect of sexuality that we sometimes overlook as parents is the importance of teaching emotional resilience. These days parents do talk with their children about their feelings much more than in previous generations. However, asking, “how are you feeling today” is not the same thing as knowing what to do with feelings.
We need to teach our children from a very young age how to manage their feelings rather than allow their feelings to manage them. This is so important because the primary way that sexuality goes wrong for children is when they use it as a way to deal with their anxiety. Emotional resilience protects our children from using sex and pornography as a coping mechanism.
Adolescent children can be taught that their sexual feelings are another emotion to learn to manage. We don’t need to be frightened by our sexual feelings but can talk about them just like any other emotion we encounter. This isn’t really more work, as parents sometimes fear, but different work.
We already spend a lot of time with our kids, we just need to change the topic of conversation from time to time. This is less about learning the “right words” to tell our children but simply being honest. These conversations bond our children to us as they discover that we do understand their feelings and have had the same questions they have.