By Sabrina Schlesinger
Well this is a bit of a daunting subject to tackle! And believe me, it feels a bit overwhelming to approach this as I am in the midst of raising teens in a world that is inundated with promiscuity and sexual images around every corner. I am aware that it is at the fingertips of every teen with a phone or computer. But maybe that makes it the reason WHY I should go after this…because I am right here with you in the midst of the battle fighting to protect my kids.
So let’s go for it. Let’s uncover the dirty truth of the world we live in and more importantly how we as parents can set our kids up to win this battle for their purity. This is by no means a guarantee that nothing will go wrong, but at least we can do all that is within our power to shape and guide our children through these crazy days.
Proverbs 24:3 (NIV) says, “It takes wisdom to have a good family, and it takes understanding to make it strong.”
Raising pure kids doesn’t happen on accident. Purity happens on purpose. Here are two ways we can be deliberate on this matter:
1. Don’t raise your kids motivated by fear.
If our motive to parent and protect our kids is because we are afraid of what might happen, then our parenting techniques will sound something like the “hide yo kids” sound bite.
Being pure in the 21st century doesn’t happen because of isolation and hiding them from the world. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are an amazing example of four young men who remained pure and true to their convictions while surrounded by an ungodly culture. They stood when everyone bowed because they had been taught long before that moment what really mattered. They knew WHY there were standing, and more importantly, WHO they were standing for. Their relationship with God was paramount in their decision-making. They had a healthy “fear of the Lord” that guided them and protected them when temptation came their way.
Rather than lead our kids motivated by the “what ifs”, let’s teach them how to have that constant awareness that God is everywhere, and their goal is to honor Him with the decisions they make. I could go on and on as this is just the tip of the iceberg on this subject, but hopefully this will suffice for now.
2. Don’t let your kids figure it out on their own.
This means two things for us:
- We must establish clear parameters and protection for our kids.
It is our job to INSULATE our kids from the world…notice I did not say ISOLATE. To insulate means to put protective padding around. So by all means, put parental security codes on your TV’s, devices and computers. Set up safeguards and filters in their phone settings. Our kids do not need full access to everything…especially alone in their rooms.
And this doesn’t mean we don’t trust them. It does mean that we are keenly aware that their brains haven’t fully formed yet and as they are growing and learning about sexuality and trying to harness all of the hormones that are exploding within them, they NEED us to place some reigns on them. Of course, they aren’t going to say this or ask for it…in fact, they will say the opposite, but we are the parents and we know better.
And by the way…don’t expect your kids to walk in sexual purity if you aren’t. And if you are allowing them to spend loads of time with other kids that are promiscuous and have loose moral values, don’t be surprised when they start pushing the envelope of purity in their own lives.
- We must have the conversation with our kids.
Don’t let sex and purity be a taboo topic in your home, rather pursue them in this conversation. It might be awkward…push through it. It might be shocking to them…push through it. You may have already had the conversation with them…have it again…and again! It needs to be an ongoing conversation.
I wish I would have had someone ask me some specific questions when I was a teenager about what I was dabbling in. I wish someone would have told me that purity is far more than remaining a virgin until you are married. It would have helped to have had people I felt safe to confess my struggles to and help me navigate all the emotions, shame, guilt and hormonal drive I was experiencing. It would have saved me from a lot of unnecessary pain and heartache. Do your kids a favor and have the conversation. They need it more than they know.
The bottom line is, if you don’t have the discussion with them, their school will, their peers will and culture will. They start forming their belief system at a very young age, so be sure to beat them all to it! I determined to be the FIRST VOICE that speaks into the issues of gender identity, sex, God’s design for marriage, pornography and more with my kids. I removed my kids from the public school health education classes they provided in elementary and middle school as part of my strategy in being the main influence and voice over my kids life on this subject.
In the Song of Solomon it says multiple times to not awaken love before it’s proper time. It may not be popular to be the parent that doesn’t allow my kids to experience certain things, but I am parenting with a big picture mindset. I am doing all that I can to build a culture of honor and purity in my home that is stronger than that of the world.
Here are a few GREAT resources that can help you navigate some touchy subjects with your kids:
- I Said No by Kimberly King. This book teaches our kids what it means to keep private parts private.
- The Story of Me by Brenna Jones helps us explain God’s design for sex in a child-friendly way.
- Every Young Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn talks about strategies for victory in the real word of sexual temptation. This is great book for tweens, teens and young adults guys.
- Every Young Woman’s Battle by Shannon Ethridge deals with the same thing as the above book, but for our young ladies.
Sabrina is a mother to three biological girls and one adopted boy. She is also a pastor’s wife, freelance graphic designer, and mom coach! She resides in beautiful San Diego where the sun shines every day. She prefers chai lattes over coffee, mac-n-cheese over vegetables, and staying in over going out. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!