Talking to your children about sex is not comfortable. It is not easy. For most parents, the "birds and the bees" talk is one they dread. Yet, take a moment to think about what your child would learn if he or she did not hear it from you. With AIDS, STDs, pregnancy, and more all traps of a sexual world, it is important for teenagers to be educated about sex - and not just about abstinence. Most Christian teens have probably heard that they need to abstain from having sex because the Bible tells them to. Yet is that enough? Statistics tell us no. So what are Christian parents supposed to do?
Remember - Sex is a Natural Thing
The Bible doesn't condemn sex. Actually, Song of Solomon tells us that sex is a beautiful thing. Yet, when we decide to have sex is the issue. It's okay to be nervous about having "the conversation," but don't get so nervous that your child thinks sex is something bad. It isn't. So take a deep breath.
Know What Teens are Talking About
Having a conversation about sex thinking that your teen doesn't live in the information age will make your talk seem antiquated and lose its edge. Know that your teen is probably exposed to a lot of sexual information every day. There are ads that about on the Internet. Sex is on the cover of almost every magazine in the store. Boys and girls at school are probably talking about it regularly. Before you sit down with your teen, look around. Your teen is probably not as sheltered as you'd like to think.
Don't Assume Your Teen is Perfect
Avoid talking about sex in a way that assumes your teen has not done anything. While every parent would like to think their child has never thought about sex, kissed someone, or gone even further, it just may not be the case, and it can be off-putting to your teen.
Know Your Own Beliefs
Your beliefs are important, and your teen needs to hear what you think, not what others think. Go over your ideas of sex in your own head before you sit down with your teen so you know what is important to you. Read your Bible and do your research before you sit down with your teen, because it is important to understand what God has to say on the subject, too. Know how you define sex and what you think is going to far. You just may be asked.
Don't Hide Your Past
Many Christian parents are not perfect, and many did not wait until marriage to have sex. Some had some traumatic sexual experiences, and others had many sexual partners. Don't hide who you were thinking that your teen will not be able to respect your opinion if you tell them the truth. If you had sex, explain that it is why you know it is better to wait. If you got pregnant before you were married, explain why it means you understand the important of abstinence and safe sex. Your experiences are more valuable than you think.
Don't Avoid the Safe Sex Portion of the Talk
While most parents of Christian teens would like to think that talking about abstinence is enough, the unfortunate fact is that many teens (Christian and non-Christian alike) have sex before marriage. While it is important to tell our teens why not having sex before marriage is ideal, we cannot just skip over the talk about having safe sex. Be prepared to talk about condoms, dental dams, birth control pills, and more. Don't be afraid to discuss STDs and AIDS. Understand your facts about rape and abortion. Be educated about those topics, before you talk about them so you aren't taken off guard when you're asked. If you don't know - then take the time to look it up. Remember, we often talk about putting on the full armor of God, and part of that armor is wisdom. There will be a lot of talk floating around them about sex, make sure they have the right information.
Talk from Your Heart and Your Faith and Listen Just the Same
Avoid going over a laundry list of reasons not to have sex. Sit down with your teen and have a real conversation. If you need to write things down, go ahead, but avoid giving a speech. Make it a dialogue about sex. Listen when your teen has something to say, and avoid making it an argument. Understand your teen lives in a very different generation that is far more open about sex than previous generations. While the dialogue may be shocking at first, the conversation will stay with your teen for years to come.