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.