A Question Every Parent Must Answer

a question every parent must answer

 

Can Our Children Be the Exception in a Sex-Obsessed World?

This isn’t a post about Miley Cyrus.

And it isn’t even a reaction to all the reactions.

I read this more than a week ago and then I immediately sent it to my husband and rechecked the filters on our computer. I sat my 11 and 13 year old down for (another) conversation. I had to.

If you have the Internet at home or your child has access to it at someone’s home, if you ever leave them with family or friends, send them to public school, homeschool them in a co-op, if you are a parent and you have children, you should read this post, too.

It’s always painful learning what my kids are up against in our sex-obsessed world, but I can’t pretend my kids are the exception. I believe if you are breathing, you have seen an explicit image in your life time or heard about you know who’s raunchy twerking this week. Sex is a hot topic in our world (premarital, homosexual, extramarital, and pornographic).

And being sex-obsessed is a cultural norm in our society.

Doubt that bold statement? It’s the most recent facts: 1 in every 5 searches on mobile phones is for pornography and that’s not even counting home computers. And it’s not just the bad boys or girls searching. 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women who attend church say they are addicted to pornography.

We talk regularly with our kids about purity, sex, lust and pornography.  (What we are teaching them). I firmly believe in sharing God’s standard for purity and sex before the world begins to tell our children what everyone else is doing.

When I shared the post on Facebook, a friend of mine asked, “Can our children be the exception?” My heart pounded at her question because I think the world would tell us no. But here’s what I answered: “I believe with all my heart it IS possible to raise kids counter culture to this “norm.” But I will say If you encourage your kids NOT to be the norm, they won’t fit in and be like everyone else and that presents an entirely different kind of hard, but it’s for their good.”

I know kids who are the exception and I’m sure you do, too. There are teens who aren’t sexting dirty pictures on their phones. Boys who aren’t experimenting sexually. Young adults who marry as virgins. Husbands and wives who aren’t hooked on pornography.

How do we raise children who are the exception? I don’t know. I believe we are on the path, but it’s a hindsight kind of journey. Here’s what I believe will lead us to children who are the exception:

  • I believe it starts with acknowledging what’s really going on in the world and talking to our kids about it.

  • I believe if we allow an atmosphere of grace in our home, our children will come to us when they make mistakes or have questions. (But we still need to open the conversation regularly)

  • I believe we need to let our children wrestle with God and His words on sexuality. We can teach them, but they have to decide if they will embrace truth. And when they make mistakes and give in to temptation and act human, we need to offer grace and forgiveness.

  • I believe we should say no to allowing social media privileges (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Etc) too early: Social media is the perfect breeding ground for sexual promiscuity–from sending, receiving and viewing inappropriate images to interacting with people we don’t know (and our children don’t know), it can be very dangerous.

  • I believe it is our obligation to limit the influence of the sexual revolution in our homes. It is okay to check your child’s phone. It’s okay for them not to have a phone. It’s okay for you to put filters on the computers and devices in your home. It’s okay for you to control their access as long as they live in your house. It’s okay to turn the TV off and not let trash in.

  • I believe our children want us to know what they have done, what they know, what they are tempted to do, what they don’t want to give in to. I believe we should be their dictionary, not Google. Not only has satan bombarded our kids with graphic images and access at every turn, he has convinced parents not to talk about it.

  • I believe we can defeat cultural norms from becoming normal in our home by sharing our own struggles and experiences with our kids in an open, loving, God-filled environment of forgiveness and hope. It might even start with getting help ourselves first.

I pulled my 13 year old aside and asked what she thought about Miley Cyrus a couple of months ago after I heard about the new video to one of her songs. I even offered to watch a quick portion of the video with her because I believe if we teach our children right from wrong, they immediately know wrong in their hearts when they see it. I’d rather sit next to my kids and help them make that decision than discover later they watched something like her performance on a friend’s phone at church. (Because y’all, it happens everywhere).

Thankfully, my daughter didn’t have any desire to watch it. Her words, “I don’t want that trash in my mind.” I overheard she and her best friend say they were going to pray for Miley. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Because really? Our society has failed these good girl teen movie stars who are now proud of their bad girl image. Our girls have been oversexualized for years in our culture and then the world is surprised this is how they go about shedding their good girl image? Sex sells and the same people who buy it are now bewildered. I have to say, I’m not shocked, just sad at what’s become normal in our society. (Okay, so maybe this was a little bit about Miley).

With God’s help, I believe we can raise children who know right from wrong in a culture that is constantly changing the definition.

If we’re not asking ourselves if our kids can be the exception, we’ve already decided the answer.


Comments

    • 1.1

      says

      Check out my marriage resource page—-right side bar. I have a lot on there. Going to be sharing about a new one I really like called Net Nanny for kid’s devices…

  1. 5

    Nicole says

    I agree with everything you wrote. My husband (who is a youth minister) and I frequently have conversations about not only our children but our youth ministry kids. We too use Covenant Eyes. It is local to our town and we know many of the staff and upper management folks. It is a fantastic Godly company and my husband has helped test some of their products. I can’t say enough good about that company for filtering and internet accountability.

  2. 6

    says

    Yes and amen to everything you said. I totally agree that are kids can be the exception. I have two in the midst of their teenage years and two preteens – ugh. I have very open, although very uncomfortable, conversations with my 17 year old son about where he is on this and where his friends are as well. I agree that you need to be proactive and get a Godly view into their minds before the world has a chance to get the worldly view in there. Tricky – yes. Hard – yes. But possible.

  3. 7

    Denise says

    How old are your kids and do you talk with all of them at once? What ages did you begin having these conversations? My kids are 8,10, & 12. I have been inclined to talk and have done so little bits here and there but I also do not want to put things into their minds when they are not thinking about sexual issues right now?

    • 7.1

      Sara says

      Ok, I struggled with this thought,too. Why tell our children about the birds and bees at too young of an age? But the problem is that we don’t know when our children will be told about it from someone else. We can’t sit in on every conversation our children our having with their peers. My husband and I decided at age 9, our oldest son was needing the talk. We wanted to be the ones to tell him about sex. And we’ve encouraged him to A. not be involved in those conversations with his peers & B. ask us if he has any questions. He is ten now and has approached my husband once about an inappropriate conversation he heard on the playground. I am so glad he didn’t try to google it by himself. I read another post last week about how children are seeing and becoming addicted to pornography after first seeing an image on google images. Scary thought!!! How many times have I said to my kids, “I don’t know, let’s google it!.”

    • 7.2

      says

      I haven’t faced this with my daughter . . . she is only ten months old. But I thought I would mention how my parents handled giving us *the talk*. They didn’t have a set age on which to give us certain amounts of information. However, my mom was in touch with each of us (me and my two sisters); she evaluated when each of us individually needed to be given information. When we approached her with questions, she knew it was time to answer those questions and perhaps even offer additional information. I appreciate that she was willing to look at each one of us as individuals and answer our questions when we came to her with concerns about issues.

      My mom did cultivate an open atmosphere though where we could approach her with any questions. I knew that if I had questions I could ask her. Sure, it was awkward to ask some questions, but it meant a lot that she was willing to field hard, awkward questions. I’m hoping to cultivate the same open environment with our daughter.

  4. 8

    says

    Good for her. There are many things that we just have to KEEP OUT OF OUR MINDS.
    I agree with your girl…we need to pray for Destiny (Miley). And our kids!

  5. 9

    Andrea Tully says

    I completely agree. I have a 15 yr old boy and a 12 yr old girl. We do ave open honest conversations on sex, right and wrong. I truly believe my kids will be able to make the best Godly decision if/whenever they are faced with the temptation.
    I hold our TV people accountable for what they are allowing to be shown on certain shows as in this award show. These performers have a pre show practice and I think the producers (who are adults) should be the ones to tell the performers (Miley) that her act is not suitable for TV.. Thankfully no one in my house watched any of that show.
    Love your blog and appreciate your thoughts!!
    God Bless!!

  6. 10

    says

    AMEN!! I have believed the best of my girls, set the expectations very high, and, praise God, they have met it. He who is in us is so much greater than he who is in the world. We need to believe that and live like we believe it.

  7. 11

    says

    Another part of this discussion, is how to teach our kids to be brave and have courage. Because they will have to stand up to their peers or even other adults, when lines are crossed.

    Fondly,
    Glenda

  8. 12

    Becky says

    Thank you for this! I so want to believe that my 3 boys can grow up pure in this sex-obsessed world. But so often,
    even in the midst of my friends, I feel as if my hopes are unrealistic, like it is impossible to do. I don’t want to believe that.
    I want to believe that what God plans for us is the best!
    Thank you for this post. Thank you for reminding me that there are others out there who don’t want to give up their dreams for their children to grow up in a way that pleases HIM in this ungodly world.
    Keep up the great work, Kristen!

  9. 13

    Erin says

    It is interesting that you posted this today. I am struggling with a question that I feel like is in the same area. My son just entered 6th grade. He isn’t into girls yet but I know the time is coming. He has had the talk with his dad and more talks with me than I think he wants to participate in. He is old enough now to participate in our youth group at church. This is a group of boys and girls, ages 6th grade to 8th grade. They have a lock-in every year, where all of the youth sleep at the church. It is supervised by adults. I am hesistant to allow him to participate in this activity. One, becasue I know what happened at lock-ins when I was in junior high and that was a long time ago! And two, because we don’t allow children of the opposite sex to sleepover at our house unless it is a relative. I would never allow him to have a friend who was a girl to sleep over at our house. I know some of the other moms think I am being ridiculous.

    • 13.1

      Stephanie says

      I don’t think you’re being ridiculous at all. If you, as his mom, feel that it’s best for him to stay home, then that’s what you should do. Trust your gut instinct, your inner voice, the whisperings of the Spirit, whatever you want to call it, but don’t let what other moms think pressure you. Pray on it and if you feel to keep him home, then so be it. My kids aren’t allowed to sleepover at anyone’s house. Anything they’re going to do that’s “fun” can be done while they’re awake. No reason not to sleep in their own beds. I’ve had a lot of parents look at me funny for it, but at the end of it all they won’t have to answer to God for my kids, I will. Do what you feel is best. If you’re struggling over it, maybe there’s a reason for that.

    • 13.2

      Sylvia says

      No, you are not being ridiculous. My husband and I were involved with high school aged youth many years (at least 25) ago and supervised one lock- in. We were amazed at the activities the high schoolers wanted to participate in. Ouija board? Yep. Boy and girl in the same sleeping bag? Yep. I teach junior high and I know it would be worse now. I agree with Stephanie. Please don’t let the other parents influence you to allow your son to participate in something you do not feel is appropriate. Oh, we ended up calling the youth pastor to come to the church. He didn’t want us to call parents to get their kids and end the lock-in. We told him we were leaving either way so he relented and helped us call. We were shunned by the majority of the parents after that because they thought we over reacted. Yeah, we found a new church.

  10. 14

    Michelle says

    Thank you for encouraging us that it is possible to raise kids of integrity in this crazy world. Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of that. There are many days that I feel overwhelmed by what is going on in this world and then I try to remember that our God, Emmanuel, is still in control and on the throne. His righteousness and love endure forever!

  11. 16

    HeatherS says

    I am curious to know how a parent should handle questions from their kids regarding their own sexual past. These questions have not come up yet but I am anticipating the day they do. Just wondered your opinion and how you have handled this if it has come up.

    • 16.1

      says

      This is such a good question, Heather. I guess it depends on your own personal past and how much to divulge. We have answered questions our kids have asked (which have been very few so far), but not given more details than they need. I’m sure the questions will get harder, but when my daughter asked me if her dad was the first boy I’d ever kissed and I answered no, I added “I wished he was. If I could go back I would change that. You can wait…” etc. I know my husband isn’t looking forward to sharing more of his testimony with our son, but we’ve already talked about the importance of not pretending like we haven’t failed.

      • 16.1.1

        Jessica says

        This is something my husband and I talk about a lot. And very much struggle with what do we or don’t we share someday.

  12. 18

    Linda T says

    Raising children who are sexually innocent in today’s world is hard work. The pay off is worth it though. When my daughter married, she and her new husband shared a kiss (their first) and it was so obvious that here were two people who were coming pure before the Lord. That innocent kiss caused many a tear to fall that day for the sweetness and purity this young couple was privileged to begin their married life with.

  13. 19

    says

    Thank you thank you thank you! Such a beautifully written post on this!
    I have two boys (ages 1 and 3) and while I pray for my sons in the area of sex I also know they are human.
    I want to keep them my babies forever, but I know there will come a time when they will have questions and more than anything I pray they are able to come to my husband or myself to ask us those questions.
    I was blessed with having my mom be so open and honest with me as a pretty young girl so when I hit my teens I knew I COULD ask her. Did I figure it would shock her? Yeah sometimes, but I knew she wouldn’t love me any less for whatever I may ask or be struggling with. I want to someday give my boys that same grace to know nothing they can ever say or do will ever make me love them less.

  14. 20

    Trevor Fayas says

    Great post, as a christian who for 6 years struggled with pornography and will have to live with the consequences of the memories for the rest of my life (although praise the lord i have found freedom thanks to my wonderful wife whom God blessed me with), this problem is a 600lb gorilla in the room and needs to be dealt with. I hope others escape the chains of this over sexualized world, it’s a bondage i would not wish upon anyone.

  15. 21

    says

    My son came home yesterday saying that he needed to have the HPV shot! or else he could die! Ok–it was instantly clear to me that 1) I’m going to homeschool as long as I can–total knee jerk reaction 2) he had not been given the facts in a way that he could process the information.

    So we talked more about sex. This is a day after his 12th birthday. I’m sad and I’m sort of mad.

    Sigh!

    I NEVER READ ABOUT THIS IN THE MOMMY BOOKS!

    Be Blessed as you are a blessing to me and I’m sure many, many more Moms!

  16. 24

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