I can’t think of another topic that will cause Christian parents to squirm more than the topics of puberty and sex. Christian parents will delay this conversation as long as possible and many will forgo it altogether. I want to beg and plead with you….don’t! And here is why.
Why Christian Parents Fear Talking About Puberty and Sex
Before we delve into why we should start these conversations early with our kids, let’s talk about why we fear bringing up the subject.
It Has Traditionally Been Taboo
How often have you heard a sermon about sex? When was the last time you were able to sign up for a Bible study on puberty? Exactly. If the church doesn’t talk about these topics, we are less inclined to do so as well. And yet, God doesn’t shy away from talking about sex. Read Song of Solomon lately? It is enough to make any grown adult blush.
We Want to Prolong Our Kids’ Innocence
Because sex tends to be a taboo subject, we have this idea that if we introduce the concept we will ruin our kids’ innocence. However, we have to remember that sex and puberty are God designed. True, sex outside of marriage is sin, but sex within God-designed boundaries is good. Therefore, as long as we keep the conversation godly and use age-appropriate language we are still preserving our kids’ innocence.
We Want to Protect Our Children
Sigh. I understand the idea behind wanting to protect our kids. We tend to think that if they don’t know about puberty or sex until the very last minute then we will shield them from the perversions out there in the world. Unfortunately, this is not how it plays out in reality. By not talking about it, we actually make our kids more vulnerable for reasons I will explain below.
FIVE Reasons Parents Should Have the Sex and Puberty Talk Early
Because Kids Are Starting Puberty Earlier
Compared to previous decades, kids today are starting puberty much earlier. The average age for girls has decreased by four years. While the average age was 16-17 in the early 20th century it is now 12-13 years old. And of the girls today, about 10-15 percent of girls start their period as early as 7-years-old. Yes, 7 years old!
Because If We Don’t, Someone Else Will
Unless your kid lives in a bubble and has absolutely no interaction with the outside world, chances are that they will be introduced to the concept or sex one way or another by someone else. Statistics show that the average age a child is introduced to pornography is 11-years-old. That is elementary school folks!!!
“But I home-school my kids and I don’t let them do sleep-overs.” But do they spend time with cousins? Friends? It only takes a minute, a short conversation or a quick look at a phone for kids to see or hear things not meant for them. Christian parents are fooling themselves if they think they can completely protect their children from accidental or intentional exposure.
Sex and porn is so rampant in our culture, even the most cautious parent can’t protect their children 100%. However, if we begin to introduce these topics early, in age-appropriate ways, we equip our children to handle inadvertent exposure and train them to come to us when they are exposed.
So Our Kids Will Learn to Come to Us
We would all like to think that our kids would run to us if they have a question about puberty or if they were exposed to thee topic of sex. Unfortunately, it does not automatically play out that way. When it comes to puberty and sex, kids are more likely to ask their friends or keep it to themselves unless we train them to come to us.
The only way to train kids is to talk about it. When they see that we are comfortable touching those subjects then they are more likely to ask us if they have questions. It certainly holds true in our home. My kids ask me “weird” things all the time–but I rather they ask me than to seek out their friends who will give them wrong information or worse, wrong advice!
Kids that talk to their parents about difficult subjects are kids that were raised in an environment where communication about difficult subjects was modeled, encouraged, and grace abounded. Let’s be those parents!
To Develop a Healthy View of Their Bodies
Puberty can be a very confusing time, especially if they start puberty early. For girls, hormones bring changes to their moods and emotions. Add that to any self-consciousness they may already feel about their bodies. The only way to prepare them for those changes and to help them navigate it is by having open, God-centered discussions about their bodies.
Basically, if we make it weird, they will feel weird about what they are experiencing. If we don’t make it weird, it helps put them at ease and helps them feel more comfortable about themselves.
To Protect Them From Sexual Predators
This is the most important reason of all. Nothing scares a sexual predator more than a child who is fully aware of his/her own body and who is able to identify inappropriate behavior.
Sexual predators prey on a child’s ignorance of their bodies. It allows them to manipulate the child to do what they want to do and to keep quiet about it.
I didn’t tell my mom about the sexual abuse I suffered in my toddler years until I was a teenager. And I have heard countless testimonies of victims who remained quiet simply because they didn’t understand what was happening to them. But if we have those difficult conversations and if we train our children–we give them the tools to help protect themselves when we are not watching.
If you would like more information on how you can have God-centered conversations to help protect children from sexual predators, please read my articles below:
How to Talk to Girls About Puberty and Sex
How can we have God-centered conversations about puberty and sex with our kids? Specifically, how do you talk to girls about puberty? To help answer that question, I put together an e-book for parents to help teach their daughters that is also available in a print version on Amazon. In addition to it using scripture to broach the subject, the book comes with ideas and resources for crafts after each lesson. And note, that 50% of all profits are donated back to Christian ministries.
If your child is in his or her teen years, I developed a Bible study that addresses sexuality and gender but starts with the foundation of identity and God’s love for his people. It is available in a paperback book on Amazon and an eBook on Etsy. After completing the study, teens and their parents will be well-versed in the scriptures regarding sexuality and be able to counter current narratives on the matter. They will also know how to address their own personal sin and temptations and know how deeply we all need God’s grace and love.
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