Focus on the Family

Talking To Your Kids About Sex

By Chad Hills

Teaching your child about sex

Parental direction is a powerful influence in our children's lives and the future choices they will make, especially when it comes to minimizing dangerous behaviors.

As parents, it is not only our privilege to share God's design for sexuality, it's our responsibility. It's also our obligation to keep watch over what is being taught to our children in school and to speak up if they are being misled or given instruction contrary to our family's values at school.

Proverbs 22:6 instructs parents to, "Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it."

For parents, that means talking to your children about sexuality in a way that reflects biblical standards and also applies to the cultural pressures of today. And, in too many homes, that conversation is not taking place.

Many parents are surprised by research showing that many teens are becoming sexually active before their parents discuss sex with them, and less than one-third of parents had ever talked to their children about the reasons to delay sex until marriage.

What's the rush? When two in every five babies are born to unwed mothers (not including aborted pregnancies), it's never too early to introduce God's design for sex. The good news is the majority of high school students (52.6%) have not (yet) had sex, so let's capitalize on — and encourage — this healthy trend!

Focus on the Family is here to help you connect and talk with your kids about sex in a way that honors God, upholds His design for sex and equips your children with healthy boundaries and a biblical worldview.

Before "The Talk" – Dealing with Our Past (Part 1)

The first step in raising our children to honor their sexuality is to come to terms with our own.

By Chad Hills

After a little honest reflection, many parents will admit that their own sexual history is the roadblock in talking about sex with their kids. We have to acknowledge the wounds from our past — and work to resolve them and find God's healing.

Revisiting Childhood

When we begin to process our sexual past, some of us must begin in childhood because that is where the pain began.

In this fallen world, no doubt, some people have experienced poor, unhealthy loving relationships as children. Some of us may have felt we had to earn love and approval with our appearance, actions or through our achievements.

Other relationships may manifest in the form of sexual abuse from family members, close family friends or external perpetrators. The 2011 U.S. Child Maltreatment report found, of the reported child-maltreatment cases, about one in ten children (9.1%), 17 years of age and younger, had been sexually abused and about one in six (17.6%) children had been physically abused.

Those suffering from sexual abuse as a child may find Christian counseling helpful in working through such difficult issues from their past. Sexually abused children often cope with their emotional trauma by blaming themselves with thoughts like:

These kinds of self-statements can lead to self-hatred or self-loathing.  

Those experiencing sexual abuse are likely to have a warped view — or no understanding at all — of God's original, unblemished and perfect design for sexuality within the context of a stable, loving, lifelong, monogamous heterosexual marriage.  

Such false beliefs can foster unhealthy behaviors, such as eating disorders — trying to make ourselves more attractive or less attractive by using food as a coping mechanism. The false belief that you lacked intrinsic value may have led to substance abuse, suicidal thoughts or attempts at suicide.

You may never have heard the truth: The abuse was NOT YOUR FAULT. It is never appropriate for one person to sexually abuse another. Never.

Some people have benefited greatly by gleaning wisdom from a qualified Christian counselor who can — with God's help — guide  us  to deal with our past in a healthy and restorative way. ... God knows each of us and He forgives, restores and values us — regardless of our past decisions and mistakes.

The Focus on the Family Counseling Department can help direct you to a qualified counselor in your area, if you need help. Find Focus on the Family referred counselors in your area.

Revisiting the Teen and/or College Years

Some of us may still be tending wounds from our teen and young adult years. Some of us may have been a part of the "sexual revolution" generation. We spent our teen and young-adult years in the "free-love" 1960s and 70s. During those decades, sexual behaviors which once were unthinkable or profanely taboo became commonplace. "The pill" largely mitigated risks of pregnancy — just one of the many consequences of sexual activity outside of marriage.

Parents, along with schools and churches, were caught off-guard by society's rapid disregard for long-held, traditional sexual mores. The lustful sexual rebellion has wreaked havoc on our nation and its stalwart institutions — family, government, religion and education.

Many adults still reap the consequences of being impressionable teens during the sexual revolution. Some still carry the physical and emotional scars of sexual activity outside of marriage. We may have had trouble bonding or finding true intimacy with our spouse because we had other sexual partners before we married. The results of teen pregnancy, abortion or sexually transmitted diseases may have taken a toll on our physical and mental health.

For some, a painful sexual past can often lead them to pornography. Easy access to Internet pornography has insidiously captured the minds of millions of adults and children. What starts out as an occasional glance can turn into an addiction that controls every thought, which then can lead to acting out these fantasies. The Internet has taken away the shame and fear of entering an adult book-video store and has secretly brought it into countless homes, libraries and businesses.

Learn how to better protect your marriage and children from pornography: go to Focus on the Family's Pure Intimacy web site.   



About the original author: Linda Klepacki is a registered nurse and taught abstinence education for more than 20 years.

Before the Talk – Dealing with Our Past (Part 2)

The first step in raising our children to honor their sexuality is to come to terms with our own.

By Chad Hills

Whether we like it or not, parents are God's designated messengers to share His design for sexuality with our children. Our past does not disqualify — or excuse — us from being the primary sex educators for our children.

The good news is your teen will hear about God's design from the person who loves them most — you, their parent. The difficult part is some parents may still be healing from their own sexual past, even as they talk with their kids.

Here are some suggestions to begin this process:

Remember, this is your moment!

If you do not take the responsibility and time to teach your child, influences in the culture will.  


About the original author:  Linda Klepacki is a registered nurse and taught abstinence education for more than 20 years. 

Why Teach Abstinence?

Traditional sexual values and morals are disintegrating in our sexually obsessed culture — making sexual purity a difficult objective to achieve.

By Chad Hills

Today's high-technological society brings the Internet into our homes and onto our cellphones. Much of the information streaming into our personal space each day is very useful; however, there's an element of information that's sexually explicit and harmful to both children and adults.

Our children are often surrounded with sexual themes found in media, pop culture and even public schools. Most young students are exposed to messages far beyond their ability or maturity to process. Sadly, we see biblical, sexual values belittled as negative and austere, while sexually explicit themes are promoted as having positive repercussions in society.

Thankfully, there's evidence that the counter-cultural message of waiting for sex until marriage is having an affirmative impact.

Less than half of high school teens have had sex (see Table 61).

The teen birth rate hit a record low in 2010, after declining the three previous years.

Nearly seven in ten teens disapprove of high school students having sex.

Encouraging and teaching sexual abstinence until marriage may be a key component in preventing and reducing teen sexual involvement. A landmark study released in 2010 documented the positive influence of abstinence-only school programs. According to the study, only about one-third of students in abstinence-based classes became sexually active within the following two years compared to almost one-half of students in other classes became sexually active.

In other words, abstinence works.


What Role Should Parents Play?

What role should parents play in in what is taught to their children at school about sex?

By Chad Hills

Parents have a role in speaking into the types of sex education and information their children are exposed to at school. The family's beliefs, principles and values should be respected in school classrooms. This video explores some of the reasons parents should be engaged in what their children are learning about sex at school.

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