What is the #1 conversation that most parents dread having with their kids?
It cuts across political affiliations, religious backgrounds, and even the age of the kids or parents.
Short word, big impact
Too many parents avoid the topic completely. Others figure ONE conversation is enough to consider their obligation fulfilled. Yet aside from a person’s decision about Christ, is there any other issue that so deeply impacts the whole person, either filling our days with joy or wracking us with regret?
Jobs can be miserable or delightful, but they’re not what ultimately build the fabric and legacy of our lives. It is the relationships we form and the families we build that give color and texture to our days.
The choices your child makes about the quality of their relationships and when and with whom to be sexually active, will either set them up for a life of more joy or more struggle.
No one decision condemns our futures. But there are plenty of choices that make it more difficult and more painful than it needed to be.
Life can be hard enough, why would leave our kids vulnerable to make it even harder?
Guiding the conversation
As parents seeking to direct the souls of our children in the direction of their Maker, we would never dream of going their whole lives NOT speaking about Jesus. Or at best, having one conversation about the Cross and then washing our hands of their spiritual development.
“I’ve shared the Gospel, the rest is up to them.” It’s laughable even to think that!
The life-changing, eternity-setting decision to surrender to Christ or reject Him compels us to daily find ways to weave Him into the conversation.
We know the devastating consequences of a life lived in rebellion to Christ and the heartbreak of that final rejection on the other side of Heaven. So we spend our days finding ways to help our children experience Christ.
So why are things so different when it comes to sex and relationships?
Discussing sex at every stage
Just as we talk with our kids about Jesus, so too should we talk regularly about their choices around sex, relationships, and God’s role in it all.
To love our children well is to make sure they have every chance to say “yes” to Christ, and every opportunity to choose the better way in their intimate relationships.
When our kids are little, we can help them celebrate that God gave them male or female bodies. We can teach them appropriate touch.
In their elementary years, we layer on bit by bit the complexity and uniqueness of their bodies. We answer their questions and straighten out a falsehood or two learned from peers.
Before they hit puberty, you’ll have tackled the first of many conversations about what sex actually is, and the beauty and power of it that God gifted us for marriage.
Then, you can spend their teens and twenties engaging them in conversations. Help them build a biblically rooted, culturally relevant understanding of sexuality, desires, and the role these play in their lives and relationships. Talk about how to honor God in dating and enduring temptation.
The list goes on and keeps the conversation from ever becoming boring or repetitive!
Win one for the gipper
Consider that my “Win One For The Gipper” speech. You can do this. You need to do this.
Not for you. And certainly not for me. For your kid(s). And for every kid they’re going to meet, hang out with, and date.
Studies show that 6 out of 10 sexually active kids wish they had waited to have sex.
They’re also 3 times more likely to be depressed than their virgin friends.
Nearly 9 out of ten teens say it would be easier to avoid early sexual activity if they could have more open and honest conversations with their parents.
That’s you, my friend! You and your words matter. Consider this part of building your legacy. Someday, your grandchildren might even thank you.
Three things you need to accept before you get started:
You’re going to make mistakes. You will say things that sound great in your head but come out wrong.
Talking about sex with your kids doesn’t guarantee they will embrace what you teach. You may not be awarded Parent of the Year. Yet under no circumstance should you give up. As someone who does this for a living (awkward talks with the world’s most hostile audiences aka teens), I can assure you they reallydo want to talk about these issues. And not just with anyone, but with you. Brace yourself for some initial arguing, slammed doors, and groans of awkwardness when your audience is in their teen years. If you still have a cute but awkward pre-teen, the road may not be as rocky.
Remember God is gracious. So very, very gracious. He intentionally gave us these kids and He will work through our stumbling efforts to bring about a harvest. But we have to be obedient to join Him in the sowing and tending.
Now get out there and start talking to your kids. I’m cheering you on.
Joanna Hyatt is a mom of four girls, author, international speaker, and media personality most often dialoguing on the critical issues that intersect faith, culture, politics, and the human spirit. Writer and Host of the “Dilemma Series” for Right Now Media, she podcasts and writes at www.joannahyatt.com, offering encouragement to other women to live their faith in a way that is culturally relevant but biblically rooted.
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