Parenting - Sexuality

As a parent, what is the right time or the right age to explain about sex? I’ve heard different things. I’ve heard that when they go to school, they might learn it from other kids. And then, how do you do it? When do you explain it to them and how do you do it? Do you go in depth?

If you have an active relationship with your children, which every parent should have, then the answer to your question would be when they bring it up; when the subject comes up on TV, in school or in any conversations that you’re having with them. You need to have open and on-going communication about all things and create an environment where your children are open and they’re not hiding anything from you and where you’re not hiding anything from them. If you’ve maintained that kind of relationship with your children from the time that they’re young, the time that they’re 3, 4, 5 years old, they will bring the subject up to you.

If there’s open communication and there’s no apprehension on your children’s part to talk to you about anything, they will ask the question at a young age, such as 8, 9, 10, 11 years old. They will eventually ask questions about that subject just because kids say things; they hear a bad word or they hear the word “s-e-x” or whatever. I believe that the natural evolution of intimate fellowship with your children would be that they would come and ask you about what they hear.

However, that’s not the answer for most people because they don’t have that active communication with their children. Therefore, the answer to your question is probably around 11 or 12 years old is the time to have that discussion.

If they ask questions because you have open communication when they’re 8 or 9 or 10 years old, I would be limited in what I would share with them at that age. I would share much more with them at the age of 11, 12, 13, 14 years old. I started talking about the subject with my kids when they were around 10, but only got into depth with it when they were 13 or 14 years old. And so, that seems to have worked for us, but it’s different for different people.

Obviously, you don’t want to say things prematurely or get into stuff that they’re not ready to talk about or ready to hear. Nor do you want to avoid the subject when they bring it up. Most of all, do not treat it as a dirty word or something wrong or something like a swear word or something like that. It needs to be something that they understand, that that’s how they got into the world and that’s one of the joys and one of the pleasures that God gives in a married life. And those are the things that they need to understand.

So, based on their maturity level, their age, you talk about it at any age after 8 or 9 or 10 years old. Talk about it at any age, but you only talk about pieces of it and pieces of it that will truly give them what they need for that time. A 10 year old doesn’t need to know much. They just need to know that’s how they got into the world.

But as they get older, they need to know more and they need to know about the pleasure of it that comes as they get older and as their body starts changing and their body starts having those feelings and experiencing those feelings. We don’t need to shut them down and tell them, “Don’t ever feel that, don’t ever talk about that, I don’t want you to ever feel those feelings again.” You don’t want to shut that down because obviously, their body is preparing itself to be awakened to the physical, sexual side of life and it’s not something that they should have to suppress because then it causes problems later in life.

Instead it’s something that they should be able to express to their parents, not to express to their friends and other people, but to express to their parents. Let them know to come to you with that but if you tell them, “Oh that’s wrong to ever feel that” then you’re obviously doing more damage than good. Instead, you need to say, “Man, that’s normal to feel that. But let’s talk about the context in which that needs to be expressed.”

That’s when you start getting into that. Really, it’s 13, 14, or 15 years old when you start getting into it in more detail. But little by little when they’re younger, you can explain to them about sowing and reaping and seedtime and harvest and how everything in life comes from a seed. A seed is planted to produce everything. Everything in life is a harvest of something. And so, you have to understand seedtime and harvest and that’s the context in which I started explaining it to my kids.

Parenting - Sexuality

I found out that my 16-year-old daughter is having sex with her 18-year-old boyfriend. She is technically a minor; he is an adult. I could press charges against him for statutory rape, but then he would end up getting convicted and have to register as a child sex offender for the rest of his life. He’s a good kid who is honestly in love with my daughter and she’s in love with him. I just don’t know what to do.

You need to understand is that your first responsibility is for your daughter and not for this young man. You need to know this, and you need to accept this truth. Fathers have to be strong and loving, yet firm in this fact.

Your daughter doesn’t know a thing about what it is to love at 16 years old. She doesn’t know what it is to be committed. She does not love this guy because she does not know what that is at the age of 16. But the problem with this relationship is by having sex, they end up becoming one and they think that they are in love. In actuality, they have betrayed each other’s emotions.

Because you are the responsible steward of your daughter and a crime is a crime, I would get a lawyer and get some legal counsel before doing anything. But I would pull this young man aside and say look, “You have an opportunity to change your life right here and right now. And if you leave my daughter alone until I say that you can have a relationship with her, then I will not press charges against you and you will not be convicted as a sex offender for the rest of your life. If you violate that, then I will press charges against you.” I would get this in writing.

Now with your daughter, I would sit her down and say something like this: “Look, you cannot be in a relationship because you cannot be trusted. The fact that you had sex with somebody before you were married is a betrayal of trust. The Bible calls that fornication and it is a crime and a sin against your own body.” So you are going to have to create some boundaries for her and show her that she has to earn your trust to be afforded the luxury of a relationship with somebody.

Parents that think that 16-year-olds can make up their mind on things and they cannot. Just because they can get a driver’s license doesn’t mean they have a relationship license. You are the one that issues the relationship license. Anything beyond holding hands at that age is, to me, immoral because it opens the door to so many other things. Their maturity level isn’t there yet, and obviously your daughter has demonstrated that by not living holy and pure. That’s how I would handle it.

Parenting - Sexuality

My cousin and her 3 sons were recently homeless and I took them in. Her sons are sexually active, but my son is still a virgin and he likes to go out and do things with them. I’m just wondering if I should trust him and trust that God will protect him?

NO. NO. NO. You cannot trust him because you cannot trust them. I’m sure you can trust your son but 1 Corinthians 15:33 says, “Bad company corrupts good morals.” Your son has been taught by you to have good morals. Do not let him hang around his cousins who do not have good morals.

I wouldn’t even let those cousins live with you. I would tell them, “Get your life together. You follow the rules in this house or you will remain homeless.” That’s the way that I would do it. I would not allow people that could corrupt my children to come into my house just because they are homeless because there are homeless shelters that they can live in. If they’re going to live with you, they need to live by your rules.

Listen to me, don’t be a softie on this. I believe that we should take family members in when they’re struggling. But if we take them in, they have to live by our rules. And if they’re not going to live by our rules, by our codes, by our morality or whatever, then we need to have them move on. But you cannot let your nephews tear down in a few days or a few weeks what you have spent so much time and effort and energy building up in your son’s life. Don’t do it.

Parenting - Sexuality

I am a single mom, raising three boys alone. What does the Bible say about masturbation on the onset of puberty? Because everything I read online and in books is saying not to worry about it, that it’s normal.

Any sexual activity or experience outside of the marriage bed is wrong. There’s no other explanation for it than that. Children do not need to experience masturbation and sexual activity in any way to discover themselves or to understand what sex is about. They’re going to have plenty of opportunities to learn what sex is about when they get married.

Sex should be treated in such a sacred fashion that children value marriage and realize that there are certain things reserved for marriage. The reason that marriage is so devalued and trivialized in our society is because everything that is supposed to be reserved for marriage is experienced outside of marriage. We need to restore to our children the holiness of matrimony, the holiness of sex being reserved for marriage.

All those books that say it’s okay for kids to masturbate are just plain wrong. Masturbation is wrong because it’s idolatry, it’s idolizing your own body, it’s having sex with yourself, and it conjures up images and pornographic thought and concepts. Nothing good comes out of that – just guilt, low self-esteem, and condemnation. When people face that temptation, they can ask God, “Deliver me from this.” And He will.