Raising a Pure Son In a Sex-Crazed World

I knock on his door and find him at his desk folding paper. He’s an origami master, turning a square piece of yellow paper into a swan who dips her neck at his will. His desk resembles a paper zoo.

I crawl up on his platform bed and get comfortable.

“Mom, you’re not going to try and get me to talk about my feelings are you?” He knows me well.

I swallow a smile and a bit of mom guilt and I tell him I worry.

He gives me a sheepish grin because he is his mother’s son.

“I know,” he says.

We talk about our fears, taking turns. After awhile, I know he’s glad I’m curled on his bed.

son

I watch this nearly 11 year old boy who is changing before my eyes. We skipped Super Bowl commercials because he has started to notice things now. We limit video games, we filter computer time, we try to monitor every image he puts in his mind.

We hold at bay the very world that seeks to sling mud on that white canvas. From magazine covers at the grocery store to too short skirts at church, it’s a minefield for a young mind in our highly sexualized culture.

Thankfully, he’s mostly unaware of what lurks behind a click or cover, but I wonder how long we can protect him from this raging enemy. Pornography used to be a taboo word, but it’s snuck its way into mainstream living and not only do countless people struggle with its entrapment, many people in our culture consider it a normal, experimental right of passage or something used to rev up a marriage.

My son has a Daddy who struggled in this area as a teen and later as a man, and I’m thankful he’s vigilent and not afraid to talk about hard things with his boy. Last week, my husband dug out Passport2Purity and I saw the book tucked under his arm on his way out the door. I see a weekend campout in their future.

But what’s a boy mom to do?

I know how to talk to my daughters about purity and their hunger for screen time (TV, computers, video games) is mild. In the last few years, I’ve educated myself on how men think, but getting into my little boy’s mind is a lot harder. I asked a friend of mine with four boys what she did about all this: “I make sure they take quick showers.” That’s not enough for me.

Here are 10 things I’m doing as a mother to a boy to fight against the triple threat of porn, aggressive girls, and ultimately premarital sex:

  1. I’m reading. A lot. Currently open next to my bed: Six Ways to Keep the “Good” in Your Boy: Guiding Your Son from His Tweens to His TeensI’ll share more books on my shelf this week.

  2. I’m trying to connect with him. I want to know his friends, his concerns, his dreams, his first crush (gross, mom). And I’m learning that it’s not all in the asking. It’s mostly in the listening.

  3. I’m turning off the screens and pushing books. Did you know that today on average, boys spend 35 hours a week in front of a screen?  We have always limited screen time, but I’m militant about monitoring this part of our lives. And before he turns on a screen, he knows I’m going to ask what he’s read for the day. He just finished The Hobbit!

  4. I’m sending him outside to play during idle time. Boys need this! Lately, we’ve told him he can earn screen time after he’s been outside for awhile–playing basketball, jumping on the trampoline, shooting his bow.

  5. I’m building his confidence through physical activity. My son loves sports but doesn’t feel good at anything. Sports are competitive and often leave our boys feeling discouraged instead of built up. We are helping him pursue individual sports activities that build confidence (example: golf, swimming, archery)

  6. I’m educating him. I used to try and keep all the “bad stuff” away. When he asks why he can’t see a certain movie or play a violent game, I tell him. I’d rather be the one to explain our why’s then let him guess.

  7. I’m not pushing the girl thing. It’s not cute or funny for a young boy to be encouraged to have a girlfriend. I want my son to know we live in a cultural with aggressive girls who will make it challenging to be pure and we want him to resist this pressure until he’s older.

  8. I am pushing guy friends, especially from church. I love that my church has a tween “youth group.” They meet weekly for Bible study and have monthly hangouts. This has really been a huge help for my son to connect with other boys like him.

  9. I’m not giving him his own phone and when I do, it will be heavily monitored.  I am also not going to put a TV or gaming system in his bedroom. (Even though 2/3 of kids do!) Did you know 39% of all teens have engaged in sexting (either sending a nude/partially nude photo of themselves or a sexually suggestive text)?

  10. I’m being realistic. He’s a boy. He will be tempted. He will fail in one or more of these areas. We are learning together. We are also on the same side, fighting an enemy, together. I want my home to be full of grace and I when he messes up, I want to be there. “

Life is about learning and we will make mistakes as we mother our sons. I love what Vicki Courtney says in her book, Your Boy: Raising a Godly Son in an Ungodly World and this is my goal:

“The key is to be engaged in our sons’ lives, stay in constant communication with God, who knows them best; establish appropriate boundaries; and pray a hedge of protection around their hearts.”

And that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

Comments

  1. 2

    says

    Kristen,
    You are a wise woman, and your son is a blessed son. “Be not weary in doing good, for you WILL reap a harvest if you do not faint.” (Gal. 6:9). Blessings to you from the mother of a daughter who will one day marry a pure young man.

  2. 3

    says

    It’s so hard to not get caught up in the gosh darn WORRY of it all! :~) My son is just two … just turned two this past Wednesday. And I think about him growing up in all this and my soul aches. Thank you for the reminder to be engaged and to GET DOWN ON MY KNEES more!

    • 3.1

      says

      P.S. I thankfully have a husband who staunchly supports my desire not to have a TV be a focal point in our house. The TV actually resides in the guest bedroom, and since we moved here before Thanksgiving, it has yet to be turned on.

  3. 4

    says

    my favorite on the list is not pushing the girlfriend. as a teen-teacher and mom-of-teen-boys, i believe that guys and girls should rarely be alone together. our older, a senior, has a girlfriend now. they are not allowed in each other’s homes without adults, the younger brother hangs out with them., they double date, they have curfews, and chris had a long talk with him about expectations for purity and how, practically, to maintain that. we encouraged hank to talk with his girl about his goals for purity. and we hack into their facebook accounts at random….it is so so so tough.

    moms of girls – please remember that guys are visual. cover up your children. please. we want our guys to have a fighting chance.

    • 4.1

      says

      I was about to reply and realized that what I was going to reply was similar to what Kendal said, so I will be brief. My husband and I (pastors) just finished a series on relationships and we talked about how encouraging young children to have boyfriends and girlfriends was not funny at all. Sometimes I feel like we are the only ones that think that way.

      We also talked about teen dating. There is safety in groups.

      Our children are grown and we now have grandchildren. I constantly have young mothers approaching me and asking questions about rearing their children. We, of course, were not perfect parents. But we did teach our children that they could dress fashionably, but modestly, at the same time.

      Excellent post!

  4. 5

    Courtney says

    Thank you for this post- my son is only 6, but it’s never too early to start praying and guiding our sons! :)

  5. 6

    Becky says

    My boys are 3 & 1 and I’m already concerned about this. Pinning to keep on hand for later. Thank you! Love your outlook on parenting.

    • 7.1

      says

      I know that this question wasn’t directed at me, but we use Covenant Eyes (www.covenanteyes.com) and it is great! You can choose the filter settings and it sends you a regular report of the devices you have chosen to monitor. For two laptops we only pay $13.99 a month. Well worth it in my opinion!

    • 7.4

      says

      We use K9 Web Protection. It’s totally free, I really like how you can customize it to filer what you want.

  6. 8

    Kim says

    I feel for you all, as a Mom to two little girls (7&6) this is always on my mind as well.

    When i am shopping for clothes even for my little ones it is darn hard to find clothes that are modest even for this age. Skirts/dreses are often too short and jeans are usually skinny leg jeans, tops are too short not long enough to over the belly area.

    I am so frustrated at how the world encourages our children to become in a sense sexual beings at so young an age and to beaware of the whole boy friend girl friend thing. I agree It is not cute it is disturbing.

    We have no tv in our home we do watch videos and we do have netflix but right now our screen time is limited to one movie night a week on our family night.
    Sorry about that bit of a rant I will now step down from my soap box.

    • 8.1

      Sheryl says

      Just a suggestion for shopping. I have two 7 year old girls and have never found modest clothing to be hard to find. I would suggest Old Navy and Children’sPlace..they are the two main places I shop, and they would hopefully take some of your worry away. And leggings under short skirts/shorts makes them modest and makes them last longer.

  7. 9

    says

    Good job! It is a war to protect our boys.
    This weekend my son (22) moved into a house with 3 other guys. I’m confident in him & the integrity that he chooses to live by…..yet I know what life temptations he will face.

    The foundation is there….but I’ll continue to pray & advise him. I’m thankful he is still compliant as a son and respects the advice & direction from hubby & me.

  8. 10

    says

    Amen! Praise God for mothers who take this subject head on! No fear approach! I am doing the same thing with my daughters. Together we can break these chains for our youth! Love this post Kristen…
    Btw…those people are still visiting my blog up to 10 times a day! I’m amazed and disgusted. I deleted all my stuff so I don’t even know what in the world they are looking at. Sick times.

    Love ya sister! Keep up the great life changing work!

  9. 11

    Jenny says

    Excellent article. May I also emphasize something you alluded to: Fathers MUST get involved when it comes to teenage boys and purity.

  10. 12

    says

    This topic scares me so much! I know that fear isn’t the appropriate response, though. My 7-year-old already has to deliberately not look as we walk past the ladies’ underwear section at Target, and I know we’re JUST at the beginning. You’ve given great advice and encouragement here – thank you!

  11. 13

    Debra Stanley says

    Thanks for sharing! My sons are 13 and 8 and I know I must start doing better!!! My husband and I just had this conversation on our walk last night! It’s so hard but your words are so encouraging. Hopefully I can get on the right track with my boys!!

  12. 14

    Allison says

    I have a young daughter. So we have not entered this stage of life yet, but I would love to hear how you talk to your daughters and deal with this very important and often ignored topic.

    • 14.1

      Angie B says

      Check out “Six ways to keep the Little in your girl” and other Secret Keeper Girl stuff by Dannah Gresh. It’s been a great help to me with 4 daughters :)

  13. 15

    Tara says

    Thank you for this. My boys are still young but I know this time is coming rapidly. I started the “Girls are Stinky” campaign wanting to keep them from having little girlfriends and it’s worked so far. I know the time is coming soon where it wont though. I look forward to seeing more book recommendations.

    • 15.1

      says

      Hello Tara,
      I think perhaps your “Girls are Stinky campaign” might send mixed messages. One the one hand I get where you are coming from… but I am also sure you teach your boys to respect, share and treat every one of their friends kindly. Maybe jokingly suggesting that girls are yucky might lead them to believe that girls don’t deserve as much kindness as their friends who are boys. When they are teens, that message will be hard to manage and you might find yourself with extra problems (you are a ‘girl’ afterall!).

      I have two sons and a daughter. I can’t imagine teaching either of them to beware of or treat the opposite sex as less than. If anything I want my sons to be treat all women in their lives with the honour, respect and gentleness they would show me, their own mother. And for my daughter, I want her to not treat boys as the sex crazed, rough dummnies they get labelled as either!

      Good luck,
      Julie

  14. 16

    says

    For a mama with four boys, I’m so encouraged by this post…definitely sharing and keeping this on file. So thankful for your courage and commitment. <3

  15. 17

    says

    I’m curious about limiting screen time. My husband and I differ on this greatly, he said he recently read an article that said it just depends on what they are watching. I’d rather them cut out watching so much of anything, even if it’s Sesame Street! He says as long as it’s decent programming, it’s fine. We don’t let them watch anything that isn’t G rated, but I still feel strongly about screen time. What are your reasons? What if your son watched Mr. Rogers all day?

    • 17.2

      Angie B says

      This website might have some useful resources for you to check out. I know very young children have brain development issues with screen-time, but as far as older kids, as well as adults, i think the issue becomes more of what else gets pushed out because you’re doing screen time. if that makes sense. hope the website helps… http://commercialfreechildhood.org/

  16. 18

    Lacey Miller says

    Thank you for this post. I myself is struggling in trying to raise a godly boy. He is thirteen and at times I don’t think I will make it. I try to talk with him and he just wants to push me out of the way. But you gave me some new ideas to try. I loved meeting you last year. You have been a big help in my life.

    Thanks

  17. 19

    Lori Fulton says

    Bless you for this. As the mom of 2 boys, 12 and 9, this subject is constantly on my mind. As our older son begins to notice more “inappropriate” scenes on tv, we are reminded of how desensitized we have become.My husband and I have begun to reconsider the choices that were previously considered “safe” but are now a minefield of adult themes and images. Thankfully, we have a close circle of “sticky faith” friends and our children live in a support group of church-school-video game friends. They see the same people in many situations and understand the expectations placed upon them. It is a constant battle to keep the more liberal, secular society in its proper place.

  18. 20

    says

    This was so perfect for me! So nice to know I’m not alone here. My son is only 7, but my husband and I are so aware of our culture, and we know that he’s getting older so quickly. Currently, I’m reading “How to Prepare Your Son for Every Man’s Battle,” to get me started. Thanks for sharing!

  19. 21

    says

    What a great list. I’m new in the boy territory having grown up with sisters, but I’ve found myself thinking more and more about this as my oldest (of three boys) is now almost 9…

  20. 22

    Angie B says

    This is an issue I am on fire about, and it’s so hard to be surrounded by other families of faith who aren’t. Phones and/ or ipod touches with internet access in 1st grade. How do we allow playdates with those friends when we try to limit screentime and guard internet access? With 4 daughters, we already wear leggings and undershirts under everything and we buy 3 sizes up so the shirts are long enough. It’s crazy. Thanks for reminding me that we aren’t alone :)

  21. 23

    Sara K says

    This is a great post. I just read the book you listed, and honestly couldn’t stand it only because her son seemed so “good”. I have 3 boys (2,6 and 8) and I’m not sure they’ll be as “easy” as it seemed her son was. But, my husband struggled with pornography too so we’re talking more and more about how to address it and screen time and all of the above concerns with our boys as they get older. And, while I love the quote you ended with, “The key is to be engaged in our sons’ lives, stay in constant communication with God, who knows them best; establish appropriate boundaries; and pray a hedge of protection around their hearts.” I would also add “and forgive them and love them when they goof up.” Because honestly, no matter what we do, they will. I like your #10. We’re all on the same side in this fight. Thanks for your post!

  22. 24

    says

    I so appreciate your post and approach. As a mom and mentor, I agree with your position fully and will be sharing and linking to your post. This message needs to be shouted from roof tops.

  23. 25

    says

    I, too, have an eleven year old son and am trying to figure out how to wrap my head around this issue. He is yet to get involved with any girls; I make sure to nonchalantly ask about this on a monthly basis. With Valentine’s Day it made it easy to ask how OTHER boys were acting and if any girl had asked to be his Valentine. His response “I do NOT need that drama right now” which I am perfectly fine with since he has school, family and sports to be more focused on anyways.
    My husband, who is a man of God now, will be there for both of my sons (for sure!) but I don’t want to be one of those moms who sits back and plays dumb. I am new to this whole blogging world, and I think I have a favorite feed here :)

    As the new Social Media Girl at Family Matters, I can recommend “Different Children, Different Needs” as a resource for learning how to communicate with each of your children. As a mother of three, I am forced to recognize on a daily basis that all of my kids were beautifully created different from one another. :)

    http://shop.familymatters.net/product/25/different-children-different-needs

  24. 27

    says

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and suggestions. We have five boys and one girl, so this is a subject my husband and I have talked about a number of times. We homeschool, the peer pressure angle is relieved somewhat, but we are still out in the community, church, etc. and it can be scary.
    My husband has talked with our older boys in depth and I have added a bit of Mom-wisdom, such that it is, but it is a hard road to travel and I want to do it right.
    Thank you for tackling difficult, but very necessary subjects. I appreciate your wisdom.

  25. 28

    says

    Not a mom, but a teacher and someday will be a mom, and I loved this. Thank you. It sounds like you are taking your responsibility seriously, and then you just trust that God will do the rest…

  26. 29

    says

    Great article. My son is four and we’ve just started talking about tricky people because he’s so trusting and starting to want to wander off in familiar stores. I’m pinning this for the future.

  27. 30

    P Walker says

    I came across your blog this morning,…what a breath of fresh air! Your goals are to be applauded and you should know that it is possible to accomplish! Vigilance, consistence, unconditional love, and communication are successful. Last Saturday, we had the privilege and honor of participating in the reward of accomplishment by seeing our last of 3 sons wed to a most beautiful young woman,…they dated with a chaperone until the wedding. It sounds antiquated, but the reward is priceless for all. The Bride and Groom are astounded by the results of rewards experienced through waiting,….and we are basking in their experience as well. Keep the goodness living in a lifeless world of values.

  28. 31

    says

    Kristen, I needed to hear this. My son is 13 and we can see that the struggles are there. We pray and try to be there for him and keep communication open. It is hard. The world is crazy and literally every where you turn there is junk being thrown in our kids’ faces. Thank you for this.

  29. 32

    Kysia says

    Umm…hard to follow the post in front of me. I have a 15 year old son. Four years ago I was able to stay ahead of the game. First day of Middle School he hopped in the car asking what oral sex was. We try to keep technology under control at home. Cell phone doesn’t have internet access. Church is a great tool for us as they rotate great Bible studies through to keep integrity fresh on the hearts of our kids. The school system, I look at as the world. We are learning how to be a light despite the darkness. But prayer and open conversations with my son are key, as well as, a vigilant husband who keeps eyes and ears open. The Holy Spirit gives us moments to keep conversations going; I noticed however, we have to keep it real and honest. Great article! Keep up the good work!

  30. 33

    Debra says

    Thank you Kristen. Great list. My children are grown now, and by the protection and grace of God they always made good decisions and have avoided the pitfalls and traps of this world. I think the one, and most important, item I would add to your list is to PRAY constantly over your boy. As Christian’s, we have been given authority over all the works of darkness through Jesus. I have seen imeadiate change in attitudes and actions, after praying with authority over my children (not in their presence). When I felt that worry, sometimes I think it was discernment, telling me that I needed to pray and bind up rebellion, lust and preversion. I thank God for His divine intervention during those times.

    God bless,
    Debra

  31. 34

    says

    Thank you for posting this. My son is already 14. I’m hoping it’s not to late to try some of these things. Once he started junior high last year he became a different kid. He is so much a follower and cares about his looks and popularity. It scares me. I do constantly talk to him about these things, but don’t know if any of it is sinking in.

  32. 38

    says

    This is a great post! I have a 5 and 1 year old boy(with another son on the way), and I already feel overwhelmed by all the images that could get put in their minds. I love that your being proactive with your son, it’s a great example and one I’m sure I’ll be following in the years to come. :)

  33. 39

    Arline Erven says

    My son is still a toddler, but this post is excellent. I’m pinning it for the future.

    I would like to add one thing. You mentioned that your girls aren’t into much screen time. That’s good. However, porn is invading our little ladies’ lives through (sometimes rather explicit) novels and magazines. Also very destructive. Just a thought.

  34. 40

    says

    This post was so refreshing to read. So many parents think it is adorable for their little kids to have boyfriends and girlfriend…even pushing them to “have a crush” at like 3. It makes me so sad!

  35. 41

    iraida says

    great article… i tried some of those things earlier and it seems that still the world is getting my son

  36. 42

    says

    I really enjoyed reading this. My baby is still just a toddler (14 months) but we’re already joking about our friend’s baby who is 4 months and how she’s his girlfriend. I hadn’t thought of the ramifications until now. Thank you for sharing. I’m pinning it to read in years to come! :)

  37. 43

    Kara says

    Great article. We are “so weird” like that, too. I am so thankful to see other families seeking to protect the purity of their children.

    Just a word of caution. My husband, I, and many other adults we’ve talked to were exposed to the very things you are trying to keep from your son in youth group in our very conservative churches. For many youth groups, this is a time of supervised dating, talks of sex, etc. I can’t count on both hands the number of teens that I have known who came home from a youth trip or church camp pregnant. We grew up to work in youth ministry for several years and the parents thought we were crazy for the amount of supervision we provided. We pulled our now 18 year old daughter out of children’s church in middle elementary school because she was being introduced to many issues that she was not ready for in children’s church. We are not as careful as we should be and are far from perfect in this area. We just found that others in our fellowship were far less careful than we and their children were far too willing to share their knowledge. Like you, we freely offer information in appropriate ways rather than have them get mis-information somewhere else. They know about all types of ungodly behavior, but it is presented from Biblical perspective. If your son is going to participate in youth group, I would strongly encourage you to ask your husband if he’d consider participating with your son.

    Thanks for sharing such a great article. Blessings to you and your family.

  38. 44

    says

    A reminder every parents needs to hear: “We are also on the same side, fighting an enemy, together. I want my home to be full of grace and I when he messes up, I want to be there. “ And we need to remind them that God is also on their side.

  39. 45

    S says

    If I may, I’d like to offer a different opinion. I am a daughter, raised by very godly parents. I certainly got the message growing up that it was incredibly important to save yourself for marriage and I listened. I remained a virgin until my wedding day. However, I think we have to be careful about the way we deliver these kinds of messages to our children, because as much as we try to impart values and morals, we can instead impart fear and guilt. As a young woman, I was told that my virginity was a precious gift and that if I let it slip away, the ramifications on my future marriage and sex-life would be drastic. I was told (not in so many words) that if I had sex before marriage, I would be forever scarred and emotionally damaged from the experience.
    As, I said, I remained a virgin until I was married, but I certainly dated before then. Looking back, the emotional relationships I had as a teenager and young adult were far more impactful and scarring (in both good and bad ways) than any physical encounter I had.
    I was also bombarded with the message that while sex outside of marriage is terrible and life-ruining, that sex within a marriage is the most incredible, glorious experience and that if you wait until your wedding day, you will be showered with bliss and happiness. That just isn’t true. Losing your virginity is awkward, uncomftable and can be painful. Building up this wedding night adds a ton of pressure and expectation to what will definitely not be the best sex of your life.

    • 45.1

      says

      I agree, S, it is such a complicated issue! Finding the proper balance can be really difficult. I posted a comment similar to yours below because I hadn’t seen your comment yet.

    • 45.2

      says

      S-I actually agree with you and share your same story in many ways. But although I remained pure, I was too naive. I didn’t know much more than BE PURE and that’s really how I want to change it for my kids. I want to give them as much info as I can so THAT they can choose purity. I think there’s a lot less guilt that way. At least I hope so. Thanks for sharing your important view point.

  40. 47

    Jessica says

    As someone who made it to her wedding day, I will say that the most important thing is not what you do and do not allow your children to be exposed to, although that IS VERY important. I went to public school and saw and heard all sorts of inappropriate things. We also had a TV, although, we only had a few channels, and most of the programming then, at least in the day, was considerable cleaner than what is available now, even for pre-teens. Even so, my eyes and mind were kept better than most children. Don’t be afraid that any image in your child’s mind will ruin your plans to keep them pure.
    The MOST important factor in maintaining purity is to have your heart fully belong to Jesus. If you have learned to love the Lord your God with all your heart, you will guard your heart with or without a parent or someone else looking over your shoulder. I would say to pour as much effort as possible into making sure your children are fully converted with hearts wrapped up in God. The Bible says that, without God, the heart is desperately wicked. No amount of teaching and indoctrination will change that. Only God’s grace will change that. The teaching will help children build good habits and help them know how to please God, but unless they want to please God more than themselves or a date, the teaching will eventually fall by the wayside. I kept my purity because what God thought mattered to me. I was taught to love the Lord and gave my heart to Him early.
    That being said, even good kids who want to please the Lord may struggle at times, and we should give them every advantage we can. Encourage your youth to only consider dating someone who wants to please God more than anything and will love God more than they love their boyfriend/girlfriend. Encourage them to only date someone worth marrying. Finally, and this is a big one, encourage them to set specific boundaries when they date. Don’t just tell them to be careful not to lose their virginity. Encourage them to draw the line well back. For instance, will they kiss their date? If so how? Where? What sort of touching is going to be okay, and what isn’t? They need to discuss these boundaries with their dates and make sure they both know where the lines are drawn so that if one person starts to cross a line they have set, the other person can speak up and say, “Ummm, sorry, but we agreed not to _____.” For instance, I told my boyfriend (now husband) that I did not want to kiss him at all until we were sure we were going to marry each other. After that, there were restrictions on the type of kissing, where we could kiss, etc. We also decided that anything above the knees was off limits, even for a casual touch (arm around the shoulder was ok with us, though). Setting broad limits kept us from getting close to violating our purity. If you don’t draw lines until the very edge of wrong doing, then you will almost certainly cross them.
    None of that means anything, though, unless your first desire is to please God. Get your children’s hearts focused on God, and they will HELP you in setting proper boundaries around all of their behaviors because they will desire to please their Heavenly Father.

  41. 48

    Lisa says

    I have 3 girls. I am working hard to raise my girl and protect them also from this battle. I know boys are a whole different ball game and I pray every night that when my girl are ready to marry they find men who’s mother’s fought hard to protect their purity and didn’t just leave it to chance. Thank you for studying and fighting. Somewhere you are answering a little girl’s mother’s prayers.

  42. 49

    Marily says

    This scares me to death as a mom of four boys. My oldest is 8, so we haven’t faced this all head on quite yet. I do, however, think that boys need to learn how to have friends that are girls and how to get along with girls. As their mother, and the only female in the house, I have the responsibility to teach them how to treat women so I don’t let them rough house with me or interact with me the same way they do with their dad. I do hope they have friends that are girls, partly because I see so many guys grow up never knowing how to properly treat a girl. These guys either end up with unhappy wives, or they are afraid of commitment and they never actually grow up. Besides, girls often have an easier time with sexual purity than boys so there is a good chance that the right girls can be a good influence on the boys.

  43. 50

    Juliana says

    Awesome article. I have 3 sons, (one married, one serving a mission for the LDS church, and a 9yo) and 3 daughters (one married, one in Jr. High and one in elementary). I feel that everything you said has been a concern of mine, as well. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, fears and feelings because I know I have similar ones. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only mom feeling this way. I also appreciate you sharing what you are doing to help. I know there are several things you wrote about that I will now do. Thank you for writing this article. Very well written and excellently timed!

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    says

    Thank you so much for this post! I sometimes feel like I am the only mom who cares about this – your blog is such a haven to me!

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    Bob says

    I did not read the comments, and I am not one to judge, but I would like to tell you the following:

    The Hobbit has blatant sexual themes. They aren’t hidden in the plot or the text. So… Keep giving him books. I suggest Steppenwolf, by Herman Hesse, next.

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    Tara says

    My boy is only 3 years old, but oh how I worry about this world he is growing up in! Thank you so very much for this post, all the ideas, it gives me so much encouragement!!

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    Deborah says

    Wow it sounds like you’re gearing up to make your son quite the catch when he’s older….NOT!

  48. 55

    Jessica says

    Well said Chrissy!! I honestly couldn’t believe this post was serious!? Extremely unrealistic and sad

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    says

    Thank you for this! My sons are only 3 and 10 mos, but I know the world is definitely not goung to get any purer while they are growing up. Some great ideas.

  50. 57

    Annie says

    Thank you so much for your post. I have two very young little boys (2 and 9 mo) and I am already freaking out! I have no brothers so I feel so lost as to how guide and direct my boys in this increasingly sexual world. I have read most of the comments and feel a lot less alone. I often talk to my husband about how we will raise our boys and confront these issues. Being LDS my husband and I have pretty set moral boundaries for our lives and our family. Whenever I am searching for a “guaranteed” way to make my boys obedient or to make sure they don’t make mistakes, my husband is quick to advise me that the best thing we can do is to teach our children correct principles and then eventually let them govern themselves. If we give them the knowledge and tools to make good and healthy decisions we can give them a fighting chance. It’s not just eliminating the negative things(which is still very important) but giving them wholesome outlets for their creativity and curiosity. Get them involved in sports, music, school… Let them develop a sense of self worth that extends beyond social media. The most important thing I can teach my boys is to “fear god more than man”. It’s a tall order, but now I know I am not alone in the fight!

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    Beth says

    I’m a single 20 year old college girl who doesn’t have kids (so I’m not the target audience for this), but I wanted to comment on something that I think you know, but it’s important to remember anyway.

    Simply setting the rules won’t do the trick if your kid doesn’t truly value and understand them. By God’s grace, I met Christ at a young age, so I tried to follow my parents, but gosh, I still rebelled (in a pretty understated way). You need to be smart and honest with your kids, even as you try to protect them. My mom never gave me The Talk, and what I know about sex is what I heard from friends and read online. My parents still try to limit me from seeing movies that are R rated, though I don’t live at home. It’s frustrating when there are too many rules about a sin that I don’t even struggle with, because my sin makes me want to push the limits (Romans 7, y’all!). A good friend of mine moved out of her parents’ place last month (she’s also 20), and I saw her struggle so much in high school. I absolutely love her family, but her mom did not adequately explain why she was not allowed to wear something that showed a little too much or why she wasn’t allowed to date a certain boy. She still goes through so much pain because she does not understand the love behind rules and criticism.

    My point is that clear reasoning must be expressed along with the rules. If not, your kid will grow frustrated with you (Ephesians 6:4) and pull away exactly when he or she needs you most. If he or she doesn’t understand the joys of keeping a pure heart and mind, he/she will just go over to a friend’s house and watch the movies and see the girls.

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    says

    As the mother of three little girls, this is a topic close to my heart. I sincerely hope that the boys they interact with – in the present and in the future – have parents as diligent as you are. Kudos to you for intentionally striving to teach your son to be pure, respectful, and communicative.

  53. 61

    says

    Thanks for this post, Kristen! This is such a tough issue…it’s sad that we live in a time where we can’t even sit down as a family and watch the Superbowl…commercials, and hello(!), Beyonce! Ugh. I had that remote glued to my hand. Kiddo has a very lame pre-paid phone…no internet no instagram, etc. It DOES have text…and we monitor it….I get the feeling that most parents don’t. And, it stays in the kitchen when he’s home. Have you heard of SnapChat, Kristen? Another app with lots of temptations for teens/tweens. It’s like Instagram, but the pictures “disappear” in 6 seconds. Yikes. I swear, kiddo will get a smart phone when he’s 35 at this rate. ;)

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    Kathryn says

    I applaud your efforts: that said, it is CHRIST that washes us as white as snow and makes us pure as gold refined by fire, male and female alike. None of our actions, or ‘not actions’, could ever hope to come close to making us (or our children) pure. It is Christ, above any and all else, that will make your son pure (for who can “keep pure” as all have fallen from the glory of God?), long after he is grown and gone.

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    Layne says

    Where is the balance? “Heavily monitoring” can only go so far, since it’s impossible to monitor literally everything. Part of raising children is teaching them morals, how to make good choices, and ultimately – how to be independent adults. If parents are too pushy or too restrictive, then kids never learn how to make their own choices, they are only told exactly what to do. I would rather trust my children to make good choices than have to heavily monitor everything they do (and be fearful about the times when I can’t be monitoring them!)

    I honestly believe that if kids/teens are going to have a personal walk with Jesus, they need to take initiative and responsibility for that. They can’t just have mom and dad doing it all for them, they need to make hard choices and be challenged. And at the end of the day, have a mom and dad who are there for them and ready to guide, when needed.

    • 63.1

      stephanie says

      This is so true! It’s far easier to monitor your kids when they are young, but once your children are in middle and high school and beyond, you can’t be with them ALL the time. You need to have taught them to set boundaries FOR THEMSELVES, I think this is a great post, but I would be curious to read what Krisitin has to say once her son is 18. I have two boys, 14 and 16, and I want for them to stay pure and grow up to be godly men. I think they are on the right track, but I am finding that I can’t entirely control what they are exposed to, and I certainly can’t MAKE them choose to do right. I think we should protect our kids when we can, but I think we also need to equip kids to be in the world but not of the world. Isn’t this what Jesus asks of His followers?

  56. 64

    says

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have a 13 year old son who is so innocent. We talk about everything and I have a great feeling that he’s going to make good choices. The one I worry about the most is our 10 year old daughter! Society is so warped that she feels disconnected with most of the girls in her school. I’m wanting her to have friends, but honestly I can’t stand most of the things that the girls in her grade wear, say, and do. Thank you for reminding me that my persistance will be rewarded.

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    Blair says

    Have fun with him in a few years! Hiding things from him will make it sooooooooo much worse. You want to teach him abou why he shouldn’t be watching porn or having sex or girlfriend he needs to understand these things. When you teach him he gains knowledge from you when you don’t teach him he will seek out information from friends the Internet magazines etc. then he will learn so much more than you want him to. And shame on you for keeping him away from girls. He doesn’t need to date them to be friends with them. He needs to learn from a young age how to act around women. One day he will want to date and when he’s ready he needs to be comfortable around women to talk to them and treat them with respect and dignity. Pulling a blanket over his eyes and monitoring his every step is not for him it’s for you. Do your son a favour and tell him the truth.

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    Jordan Ford says

    It is great to see a post on this topic. We need to do all we can to support young people and help them avoid harmful activities and addictions. There is a great little booklet out there that has helped millions of youth with this issue and others. It is title “For the Strength of Youth”. Just Google it or go to the following website to read it or download a pdf version of it.

    https://www.lds.org/youth/for-the-strength-of-youth?lang=eng

  59. 67

    Julie says

    So encouraged by your post. Feel so outnumbered most of the time. I am very vigilant, trying to always see things around us through my sons eyes. It exhausting and discouraging when every time you turn a corner, open a sale ad, try to buy groceries or even shop for a birthday present you are bombarded with inappropriate advertising. The thoughts of your heart described the thoughts of mine as a mom. Helping these innocent hearts to stay pure is my goal. Praying for you mama’s as I read these comments. Someone pray for me too. May God give us wisdom.

  60. 68

    says

    Hi I loved reading this blog!! I am not a highly religious person but the thought of raising a son who appreciates women not for sex but for them is always in my mind. My son is younger than yours only just in Grade 2 and what really resonated with me was you are not encouraging your son to have a girlfriend, it is so nice and refreshing to hear this. My son goes to a school where from day dot the mothers of “girls” have encourage their daughters to have boyfriends. I have always tried to discourage this in a very positive way, ie: there is plenty of time for this enjoy your best mates while you can. But I just find it so odd for parents to be pushing what is at it’s root such a grown up relationship at such a young age. They may see it as silly and innocent, but I see the repercussions of them pushing this type of behavior on young impressionable minds. It is nice to know I am not alone in wanting my son to steer clear of these things. Thank you I thoroughly enjoyed this read.

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    Kristen says

    A Million Thank you’s for posting this!! As a mother of 3 girls and 1 boy, this is something I think about all the time!! My husband has also struggled through out his life with pornography. When I look at my little boy it breaks my heart to ever think of him doing any of that. The pain that has been afflicted upon me and my husband through his struggle with pornography can’t even be described in words. It has nearly cost us our marriage. I fear for my son. I hope to be able to teach him a better way of life. I fear for my girls, that moms of boyfriends/husbands didn’t try to raise their sons in a way to avoid these things. It is a life long struggle for those who participate in pornography. I will do my best to protect my babies from it!! Thank you again. I will be reading this post over and over for years to come!

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    Joy says

    Thank you for the reminder to pray for our sons, especially on this issue of their purity. I have two boys. The oldest is almost 6!! There is a phone app I use now called PrayBuzz. Get your family, friends and even church smsll group to sign up. Its a great way to see God work in tje lives of our sons as we pray. Check it out in the Apple or Droid stores. It’s also a website.

  63. 71

    says

    Thank you. What a fantastic list. I’m a mama of 4 boys (my oldest is only 9) and I think about these things all of the time. I appreciate your suggestions.

  64. 72

    says

    I really needed this post today, thank you. And I’m ordering that book. My son is 13 and we already have some issues. (We monitor, blah blah blah, but he has an iPod, yes I gave it to him, yes, I regret it.) We have all the parental controls installed that we can find (My husband works in IT so I think we are doing well with this area.) But the talking… I find that SO hard. I keep telling my husband HE needs to talk to him, but we are both at a loss for really what to say. I know it is normal to be curious, but this culture makes it almost impossible to avoid. Besides locking him up till he’s 21… lol. Anyway, thank you, and I will definitely look into the books you’ve mentioned.

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    Denise says

    I completely agree with you! What does she think these boys in the youth groups are talking about? Boobs! Women! How hot Cindy Lou from church’s mom is! I mean really. I see these things. Boys are supposed to be slightly gross. I also agree that people will think he’s just weird. Hell, maybe he’ll turn out gay! Not saying there is anything wrong with that, but I know how crazy Catholics/Christians get about that. Especially if she treats her son this way.

  66. 74

    says

    As a young woman who is a follower of Christ but also a feminist, I find it extremely offensive that so many times, as in this post, women are to blame for the lustful thoughts of men. Yes, absolutely, men are visual creatures. But don’t you dare try and tell me (or any other woman or mother, for that matter) how I should or should not dress.

    You can’t shelter your son forever, and you’re setting him to to leave for a rebellious and tumultuous few years of college. Instead of monitoring his every move, why not trust him with the understanding that he can and will make his own mistakes? Being a good parent is about raising your child to be strong in making their own decisions… And all this post seems to communicate is that you’re making all of his decisions for him.