It is imperative to keep our kid's innocence intact for as long as possible. This is so difficult to accomplish in our culture. We will only succeed if we have an intentional game plan. These days having the "birds and the bees" discussion is happening before kids are in the 2nd grade.....this is ridiculous. Think about it...almost every Disney movie has a "love" story in it. You can't walk in the mall without being accosted by photos of half naked women in the Victoria Secret windows. I hear mothers asking their little ones, "is that your girlfriend?", thinking it's so cute to speak to those feelings of attraction at such an early age. Are you getting my thinking here?
I know I sound like I am on a soapbox, and perhaps I am. I feel pretty passionate about this subject matter because I see how rampant our culture is tearing away at the value of sex. It has absolutely taken the beauty and meaning out of it. It has stripped sex of modesty. You cannot find a sitcom on T.V. that doesn't have sex outside the boundaries of marriage in it. It's pitiful. To the world, it is weird to wait until marriage to have sex. We have to help our kids be ok with being weird....it won't be easy.
If we desire our kids to have a Godly perspective on sex, we better be ready to talk about it and set very clear boundaries of what is allowed in our home and what is not. I know a young mom who doesn't allow her kids to watch any Disney movies because she doesn't want to stir up the God given desire to be loved by the opposite sex at such an early age. How wise is that? I wish I had been as discerning as a young mom!
Here are a few suggestions of what we can do to protect our kids and begin to set boundaries in this crucial area of parenting:
- Eliminate most T.V./Movies from their life. (I know, brutal.) Don't trust ABC Family or Nick Jr. to have kid/pre-teen appropriate material. Most of the stuff on those channels could be described as teen soaps.
- When you encounter soft porn (Victoria Secret, magazines at the check out), teach your kids to turn from it. Teach them, especially your boys, to begin to learn to bounce their eyes from sexual images.
- When your boys are old enough (12 or so), buy the book "Every Young Man's Battle" and encourage your husband to read through it with your son and talk about it. If you are single, ask a male family member or do it yourself.
- Teach your girls to be modest. Require them to dress modestly. Teach them to honor the young men in their life by not wearing tight, form fitting clothes that make it very difficult for young men to stay pure in their thoughts.
- Teach your girls how to act in front of young men. To respect them and not be flirtatious.
- Teach your boys that their job is to treat young women with enormous respect and honor.
- Don't talk/ tease them about their friendships with the opposite sex. Treat the friendship as what it should be.....simply friendship. When we say things like " Oh, is she your girlfriend?" or "Is that your boyfriend?" we may be doing it very innocently, but what is does is puts the idea in their head that it's time for them to have a boyfriend/girlfriend. When it's not even close to being that time in their lives.
- Make sure your kids know they can ask you anything...then get ready....cause they will!
Bottom line....your child's heart is what's important. We can try to keep the crud of the culture out of our home, but our kids live in this world and we can't protect them from everything we would like. So, we work very hard to protect what they are exposed to and we concentrate a lot on their relationship with God and with us. We pray that their hearts will beat after the things of God and they will desire Him above all else. And we establish trusting, communicative relationships with them from the beginning.
We also place value on the beautiful act of sexual intercourse between a man and his wife and we let our kids know this has been God's plan since the beginning of time. The culture has changed and folks have flowed right along with it, but we must instill the truth that God never changes....He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Ask for God's help to know the best way to keep your kids innocent in their thoughts and their knowledge of sexual things. As always, remember, God loves your child more than you do and He is there to protect them as He helps them to walk in His plan in this very important area of their life.