Flee from sexual immorality. 1 Corinthians 6:18 ESV
As my oldest prepares to enter the teen years, I have to admit I’m really struggling with how to guide him through the incredibly complex world of sexuality. Many things have radically changed since my teen years, but perhaps none more so than the hyper-sexualization of our culture, made especially more complicated by the rise of the internet. God already gave us raging hormones in the teen years, but learning how to manage those changes in a world that screams sex at every moment scares me. Especially considering my own failures, how can I guide my children through these years?
While books have been written on this topic, I’ll offer just a few of the things my wife and are doing in our attempt to guide our children into a healthy view of sexuality. First, we talk about it…a lot and often. We want our children’s sex education to come from us and not from friends or the internet. A lot of parents seem to push these conversations off as long as possible. Don’t! Instead, share early and often so that they find these things natural. Remember, God created sex, so we want to take the offensive: explaining a positive view rather than taking a defensive posture of fighting everything the world has to offer. Secondly, we try to model a healthy sexual relationship before our kids. This includes lots of public affection (kissing and such), regular dates, always sitting together and talking (and rebuking kids for interrupting us), and overall, just modeling a strong love for each other. Our kids need to see a healthy expression of sex in marriage. Of course most things take place behind locked doors, but even that we allude to and indicate we have a healthy relationship.
Thirdly, and as a word of caution to the more conservative readers, be careful to not promise a sexual nirvana in marriage if they remain pure. I understand many people have sexual regrets (don’t we all?), but even in the best of Christian marriages, sex takes work and has challenges. Promising our kids a magical sexual experience if they remain pure until marriage is hardly realistic. Overall, we need to recognize both we and our children were created as sexual beings. Forming our children’s understanding of their sexuality as God intended it is part of our and their spiritual formation.