Talking To Your Kids About Sex And Dating

It is not an exaggeration to say that we live in a highly sexualized culture here in America. Here is the scary part, this sexualized culture is discipling our kids. Friends, schools, movies, and social media are having a huge impact on our children and much of it is not good. It makes no sense that the culture is talking about sex all the time but all too often the church (and parents) have nothing to say about it. As parents we must be willing to have uncomfortable conversations with our kids about all the issues they are facing on a daily basis.

This past week I went away for an overnight trip with my youngest son. I used a resource called “Passport to Purity” by Dennis and Barb Rainey. With the help of this resource (cds and workbook) we probably spent about 6 hours talking about peer pressure, dating, sex, pornography, etc.  We also did some fun things like going out to dinner and watching the new Spider-Man movie. I consider it my responsibility, and honor, to talk to my children about such important topics. A number of years ago I did the same thing with my oldest son and Marcie (my wife) has done so with our daughter.

One of the things that I am proud of as a father is that both of my sons learned about the birds and the bees from me. Not from some friends on the school bus. Not from a dirty movie. I love the fact that I was able to step into their life and tell them about sex, dating, and what the bible has to say about it.

passport-to-purity-by-family-life

I would strongly encourage you as a parent to take the time to talk openly, and honestly, to your kids about dating, sex and peer pressure. Passport to Purity is geared for kids who are between the ages of 10-14. If they are much older than 14 they will think Passport to Purity is a bit too childish.

So Passport to Purity is a great tool for younger kids, but what do you do if your kids are older? I would like to share with you a few parenting ideas and then give you some questions that you could use to generate a good discussion between you and your son or daughter.

A Few Ideas To Ponder

  • Get to know the young man or young woman that your child is dating. This is not weird! The only reason we think it is weird is because our culture has completely lost its way when it comes to the role parents should play in the lives of their children. What is weird is allowing your child to date someone that you don’t know. 
  • You need to talk to your kids about dealing with peer pressure. There is a HUGE amount of pressure at school to conform to a worldly lifestyle. You need to help your kids think about some biblical ways to resist negative peer pressure.
  • You need to give your kids a biblical reason to save sex for marriage (1 Corinthians 6:18-20, 1 Corinthians 7:2, Hebrews 13:4, Galatians 5:19-21, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).
  • You need to give your kids a biblical reason to pursue purity in general (Leviticus 11:44-45,  1 Corinthians 6:18-20, Titus 2:11-12, Ephesians 5:3-4).
  • You need to make sure that your kids know that God’s boundaries are meant to lead them to deeper joy and contentment. God gives boundaries because he loves us and wants what is best for us.
  • Talk to your kids about the importance of dating someone who knows and loves Jesus. Missionary dating is a really bad idea. Look up and discuss 2 Corinthians 6:14 (unequally yoked).

A Few Questions To Ask Your Kids

  • What are some of the ways that you feel the impact of peer pressure? Especially in regards to dating and sex?
    • Our kids are under constant peer pressure in a variety of ways. We need to guide them and help them to understand how to resist negative peer pressure. The story of Daniel is a great place to go. A teen-age boy who glorified God by standing up under tremendous pressure.
  • Read and discuss 1 Corinthians 6:18-20. Ask your child how these verses relate to dating, sex and peer pressure.
  • What kind of boundaries should you set when it comes to dating?
    • It’s best to set these boundaries before they begin dating.
  • Are there any other challenges you are having right now at school or life in general?
  • Are you struggling with lust or pornography?
    • “Finally Free” by Heath Lambert is a good resource for purity, pornography, and sex.
  • How should you respond to someone who is pressuring you to have sex (or is pushing past your boundaries)?
    • As parents we need to give our kids the tools to say no!
  • As a parent write down some of your own questions.
  • Ask your son or daughter if they have any questions.
  • If your child is dealing with some guilt and shame give them heavy doses of God’s grace (Psalm 86:15. 2 Corinthian 5:21, Ephesians 1:7, Hebrews 14:6). HERE are a few books that talk about guilt, shame and the gospel.

If you have any thoughts or questions I would love to hear from you!

NEW INTERVIEW with Susan and Sarah (Teens, Parenting, Dating, Avoiding High School Mistakes)

Tell us a little about yourselves.

sarah bookout garrett bookSusan and I live in southeast Tennessee. We are twin sisters with a heart to serve God and to tell the next generation the truth of God’s word. We have both worked with teens in varying capacities for a decade. We received the same questions repeatedly and wanted a way to give Biblical and practical advice to more girls who also have the same questions and no one to ask. I started the blog, Transformed4more.com, in 2016 to attempt to reach a broader audience.

You have written a book that is about teens and dating. What are some important guidelines that you believe are important for all teens when it comes to dating?

One of the most important guidelines is that teenage dating is generally not going to last. We see many teenagers pour everything in a relationship that only lasts a few months. We try to get them to realize that if they choose to date at this stage, it is simply to find out some things you would/wouldn’t like in a future spouse and to make a few good memories.

Boundaries are another significant guideline we discuss. Many of the temptations and pitfalls of dating can actually be avoided if teens set definitive boundaries. Boundaries show that you value yourself and also help “weed out” the individuals who are not pursuing a relationship for good reasons.

What would you say to a teen that wanted to grow in their knowledge of the Bible but weren’t quite sure how to go about it?

Try your best to get a mentor. Having an older person help you in this journey is a wonderful thing.

If you don’t have access to a mentor, YM360.com has great devotionals for teenagers. One of the best is actually a year long devotional called “Tracing the Thread” that takes them through the entire story of the Bible.

Also, pay attention in church and youth group. Take notes during the sermon and then try to find out more about it. A good Bible with commentary can help with this.

What would you say to a teen that just did not feel it was all that important to be involved in youth group or the church?

I would point them to Proverbs 27:17, the verse about iron sharpening iron, and Hebrews 10:25 that states, “Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together…”.

God created us to be in community from each other and learn from one another. Studying the Bible on your own is good but being able to discuss it among a community of believers helps them think about it in a different way that may not have occurred to them before.

I would also tell them that they are not the center of the church or youth group. It’s about God. Sometimes in our “it’s all about me society” that fact can get lost. We go to church to learn about and honor God; it’s not about how we feel or what we “get out of it.”

What are some mistakes that you see teens making in high school that ends up having a negative impact on their lives?

I could honestly write another book on this. Essentially, much of it comes down to the relationships they make. Their friends have a profound influence on their decision making and can quickly lead them down a road that leads to destruction. Romantic relationships do this as well. Girls may think that having sex with their boyfriend is an expression of love, but it isn’t. It just destroys them when the relationship ends. Teenagers need to surround themselves with good, healthy, positive relationships.

They also believe that God isn’t enough. They think, “If I just made better grades, that would be enough,” or “If I just had a boyfriend, that would be enough.” Believing that God will supply all your needs is something that is hard for them to grasp and they search for many other things to make them happy that can never satisfy.

What are some books that you would recommend for teens to read?

The number one book I recommend to all teens is Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. It challenges teenagers to rise above the low expectations placed on them and excel.

For boys, I also recommend How to be a Man: The Pursuit of Christ Centered Masculinity (Student Version) by Andy Blanks and Rick Burgess.

For girls, Lies Young Women Believe by Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth and Dannah Gresh. It discusses so many lies that girls believe about themselves and how to break free. I am also a contributing writer for their blog at LiesYoungWomenBelive.com.

Another good one is Girl Defined by Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird. It breaks down the Bible based feminine identity.

If girls are interested in dating relationships, then my book So, You Think You’re Ready to Date? is a great one. It is written in a 40 day “devotional” format and it lays a Biblical foundation for dating relationships. I did not shy away from hard topics and in the book I discuss topics like the cycle of violence, sexting, lies girls believe, and characteristics of bad boys.

We also have a “recommended resources” page on our site that discusses all of the books we recommend.