(by Dawson McAllister)
First and foremost, you need to talk to your kids about sex. Hearing from you on the subject is vitally important. You want to be that little voice in their head when things might be going too far.
Secondly, when you talk with your kids about saving sex for marriage, your reasoning needs to go deeper than… “The Bible says so…” In a perfect world that would be enough of a reason, but we live in a fallen world full of temptations and we need a whole army of reasons to help them stay the course.
Thirdly, be transparent enough to tell them that you understand they might find themselves tempted to have sex. Sex is tempting. You do really get it. That is why you also understand how important it is for them to make a decision and commitment BEFORE they are in a compromising situation to know exactly what their boundaries are for a physical relationship.
In addition to the temptation of sex, your child could also be experiencing a lot of peer pressure from their friends…guy-talk in a locker room…girl-talk at a sleep over. If everyone is “doing it” except them, the pressure is real. Let them know you understand this as well and so you want to help them think through why waiting for sex might actually be worth it and how they can defend their decision.
10 reasons to share with your kids that they should choose to wait:
1. You can live without the fear of getting a Sexually Transmitted Disease. Did you know that there are 30 different diseases you can get from your sexual partner? Diseases that lead to cancer, infertility when you’re ready to be a parent, and just plain gross stuff you need to deal with for the REST of your life. NO THANKS!
2. You can live a worry-free life about becoming a parent before you are ready.
3. You can live without regret from a bad choice, or ‘in-the-moment’ decisions because you set a standard ahead of time and stuck with it.
4. You can’t “take it back.” You can become like every other person who is having sex in an instant, but those having sex can never again be like someone who has waited.
5. Sex is an act of COMPLETELY giving yourself to someone, do you really want to share that vulnerability and that precious gift with someone other than your future spouse? With someone who may not even really love you?
6. God knows what he’s doing and wants the best for us. He designed sex for marriage for a reason. He says that when people have sex they become one body…that’s a serious bond. He designed sex to be fun, but tells us to keep it within marriage because He knows that will protect us. For a list of Bible verses to share with your child – Click here to read more of what God says about sex.
7. You can give your future marriage a better chance at success. Statistics show that those who save sex for marriage are more likely to succeed in marriage. It stands to reason that those who have always been sexually self-indulgent and who have no practice in self-restraint will have a tougher time staying faithful.
8. You can save yourself from extreme heart break. All break ups are hard, but if you break up with someone you have had sex with it causes twice the pain. There is a whole other level of emotional connection that comes with having sex and breaking that bond causes a whole deeper level of pain. I wrote a blog about this for TheHopeLine – “A Condom for the Heart”.
9. By not rushing into sex, you have the time to really get to know the person you’re dating and build a relationship on more than physical intimacy. Sex alone is never enough to hold a relationship together.
10. Real love will wait to have sex. It is the truest test to see if someone really loves you or just wants you. If they can’t respect your boundaries, their love isn’t real.
You never know what reason will be the one that resonates with your kid. Hopefully, one of these will stick.
Regardless, open communication and being a safe place to talk, even if they have messed up, will make all the difference.