Premarital sex is a touchy subject. Especially when you are a Christian, a parent, a wife, and you deal with the youth. I know that many parents wholeheartedly believe in abstinence, I agree it is very important. Growing up in a Christian home it was taught that you waited until you got married before you had sex. Unfortunately, for many parents if sex is a touchy subject, your children will not come to you when they have questions. This lack of communication causes your children to go look for answers elsewhere, or not at all. Being naive is so dangerous for our kids and doesn’t solve any problems.
So, I have a few suggestions to the parents of teenagers, boys and girls alike. I know that my kids are not at that age yet but I have already been asked questions from teens.
Get over Yourself
I think that parents hate talking about sex because it makes them uncomfortable. Get Over It! You are not going to do anyone any good if you can’t face the fact that your baby is growing up. This is part of being a parent and it is your job to be the go to person. This topic is not about you, but you need to be willing to answer your child’s questions. Take it slow but spell things out.
Please do not use the birds and the bees. You need to use actual body parts by their names such as a vagina or penis. This is not a Johnson or other crude words to describe your body. If you don’t know the answer be honest about that too. We all have horror stories about how our friends, family and even parents told us what sex was. Like “when you eat a watermelon seed it grows a baby in your tummy”. Whatever the story is make sure that it is not absurd. Your children don’t usually understand metaphors and will take you literally. So be careful what you say. If your child approaches you and says they have questions, you may need to take a few moments to compose yourself in what you are going to tell them. Don’t dismiss them or avoid the conversation, it needs to happen! And please don’t leave it to our school system to educate your kids on sex.
Fess up if You made Mistakes
We know we’re not saints! Most of us have made mistakes in one way or another. Don’t try to hide it, you will eventually be found out. When your children learn that you lied to them, then understand that your credibility is shot. So if you made a mistake that’s ok. You don’t have to go into detail; but, don’t think you are going to hide it from your kids. We all want to protect our children from making the same mistakes that we did. Understand that when you can face the fact that you made mistakes, then when your kids do it it’s not quite so hard to forgive them.
Answer questions using medical terminology
Again, use medical terminology that is easy to understand. One suggestion to parents is do your research ahead of time. There are many books and sites out there that can help you talk to your kids about sex.
Don’t try to use fear or guilt to try to keep your kids from having sex. I think it is important to educate our kids. What is God’s purpose for sex? What is the importance of sex? What is the importance of finding the right person? What is love? Open communication is so important. Now, I know this is difficult. Our kids treat us like we know nothing and act like they are not listening. Even when they don’t act like they are listening they are. It is your job to educate and talk to them, even if you have to say it a 100 times.
How do we protect our kids? We arm them. We arm them with knowledge and with the skills to handle life situations. If we treat them like babies then we are setting them up for failure. When you say the words “No matter what, you can talk to me” it is your actions not your words that will make that statement true. So when crap happens if you tend to get mad first and start yelling I will tell you that your child will not come to you when they really mess up. So be prepared and you may need to start working on your own issues before you deal with your children.
In each household the matter of dating is different. If you want them to wait I understand that; however, you might want to let your kids have some input. Talk about options such as group dates and having friends over at your house. Just because you tell them NO doesn’t mean that they aren’t going to like someone. If you don’t give them an opportunity to talk, without you judging then, you are just going to be left out of the loop. You are going to make keeping secrets a must. Now doesn’t that seem like a recipe for disaster?
I know that as parents we have strong feelings and ideas about lots of stuff. Make sure that before you start going off on your soap box, you pause. Listen to what your child has to say. I would recommend that you have a one on one conversation and not do this in public. I would also suggest that you not try to use humor to lighten the mood. Sometimes it can come off really bad. Give your child an opportunity to talk to you about whatever is on their mind and really listen. Each child is different so what worked on one will not necessarily work on the next. As we learned in school “you have two ears and one mouth, so you need to listen twice as hard as you talk”.
When they make mistakes forgive them, and yourself. Our children will make decisions even after we have given them all the tools. I am not saying that I condone premarital sex, but I do realize that everyone makes mistakes and no matter how hurt we are our child is responsible to God for their decisions. We don’t have to understand why but they are still our children and it is our job to love them.
Above all, keep the communication alive and flowing between you and your children. Do not be so set in your ways that they can’t come to you. Educate your child not only about sex, pregnancy and STD’s but also about people. Many young people do not fully understand that others will take advantage of their need for approval and love. They do not understand that there are those out there who know all the right things to say just to get them into bed. This is not only for the girls out there but also our boys. You have to pick your battles but it is so important that we keep arming our kids so they can make good decisions even when we are not there.
Now I know that there are those out there who will disagree with my statements and that is OK. I still look forward to you comments.