This sponsored post was provided by FamilyLife. Dennis and Barbara Rainey cofounded FamilyLife®, an international ministry to families and marriages, located in Little Rock, Arkansas. Dennis hosts FamilyLife Today®, a nationally syndicated broadcast bringing help and hope to nearly 1000 communities in the U.S. They have six adult children and a growing group of happy grandchildren.
Of all the discussions we have had in our family about sex, probably 95 percent of them have concerned character issues. We’ve had discussions about God’s purposes for sex, the importance of sex and marriage, and why you should wait for marriage before you have sex. We talked about how to avoid situations in which you are tempted, how different types of media shape our thoughts in this area, the types of movies to see and avoid, how to respond when someone challenges your convictions, and many other topics. We have found that the issues surrounding human sexuality, such as self-control and obedience to God, are the foundational character qualities every parent wants to build into his teenager.
Five Steps for Developing and Implementing a Sex Education Plan
Step One: Evaluate your frame of reference
For this topic, it’s critical that you think through your own experiences to determine what has influenced you up to this point. How did you learn about sex? How have you been influenced by your parents, by your peers, and by the culture? What mistakes have you made over the years in this area? How much do you know about what the Bible says on this subject? What were the most important events that shaped who they were as young people growing up to become a man or a woman?
It’s also important to examine what fears you may have about interacting with your children about sex. I am convinced that fear is one of the primary emotions we feel when it comes to discussing the area of sex with our kids. We do not feel like experts as parents. We’re afraid of not knowing the answer to a question, or of giving an answer that is not appropriate for a child’s age level. We’re afraid of those awkward moments.
But that’s okay. You don’t need to be a professional. You just need to be a parent. God will give you the power and the courage to tell your children about His perspective of this sacred area of life. It is a great privilege.
Step Two: Clarify your convictions
In the next step, we will list some basic scriptural truths to teach your children about sex. Right now we’d like to challenge you to clarify your convictions in one significant area—God’s standards of purity and innocence.
If you were asked, “What are you teaching your child about sex and morality?” my guess is that you might say something like, “We are teaching him that he should wait until he is married to begin having sex.”
In the process of raising our own teens, however, we have developed a strong conviction that virginity is not a high enough goal. Nor is it the ultimate biblical goal. Unfortunately, studies have found that even our Christian teenagers are engaging in sexual activities reserved for marriage, yet are maintaining a technical virginity.
The Bible presents a number of pointed principles to ensure that our relationships with the opposite sex are appropriate and rewarding. The key words underlying all of them are purity and holiness.
Abstinence is a part of the answer. It’s just not the total answer.
Step Three: Teach what God says about sex
The best way to combat the world is by teaching the truth of the Scripture. Here are some major points you will want to share with your child:
- God created sex (Genesis 2:24).
- Sex is for procreation in marriage (Genesis 1:28).
- Sex is for intimacy in marriage (Genesis 4:1).
- Sex is for pleasure in marriage (Proverbs 5:19).
- Sex outside of marriage is a sin (1 Corinthians 6:9, Matthew 15:19).
Step Four: Challenge your children to maintain purity and innocence until they are married
Let’s say your thirteen-year-old comes to you and says, “Mom, Dad, how far should I go (sexually) with the opposite sex?” Do you know what your standard would be? For example, what standard on kissing will you present to your child? We have been challenging our children to set a goal of not kissing anyone until the wedding ceremony. Now, that may sound preposterous to you, and that’s fine, but if that standard seems too high, answer this question: What line will you challenge your child to draw? If you do not challenge your child with a specific standard, we can promise you that your child will most definitely turn to his peers to develop his own standard.
Step Five: Create a home environment that provides love, security, and physical affection for your children
In many cases the teens who become snared in the trap of illicit sex are emotionally needy because of they don’t live in a loving, supportive home environment with strong standards and encouraging parents. Your home needs to be an emotional watering hole—an oasis where your children learn about trusting Christ. A place of refreshment for their souls, where they go for love and affection (even when they don’t seem to want it from you). If your home life is characterized by fear and legalism, your children may rebel.
A mom hugging her son and a dad hugging his daughter will send the message to both—you are a young man or a young woman who is worthy of attention and affection from someone of the opposite sex.
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