We are living in a generation saturated with sex. More skin is visible now than ever before and it is unavoidable. Flesh and provocative headlines are freely visible right at child eye level at your grocery store checkout. Advertising anything from toothbrushes to cars is done by adding sex appeal. With this kind of exposure, it’s no wonder that Christian parents have felt the need to address sexuality with their children at ever decreasing ages.
Why should the world have the only input on this sacred topic? I agree. Christian parents are responsible for educating their children about sexual issues, and the world must be tuned out wherever possible. Public schools begin sexual “education” in the third or fourth grade and continue until graduation. We should not allow our children to be dunked headfirst into that vat of slime. If your child is exposed to sex through public education or other means while they are young, then you will have no choice but to address it (and remove your child from that environment!). Culture and Christian blogs all over the web are strongly pushing parents into having “the talk” early, to take ownership of being the one to educate your children, not to let fear stop you. However, there are advantages to delaying a child’s sex education even if it is the right kind of education. Here are some thoughts:
Let children enjoy their innocence/childhood
Children who lose their innocence too soon have a harder time growing up. Knowing too much as a kid can create burdens that make childhood difficult to pass through. Children who have not even begun to develop physically simply don’t need to know as much as those who have. While American culture provides enough garbage to destroy anyone’s innocence, we should strive to protect the innocence of our children by shielding them from those sources. Let kids be kids!
Don’t strip your child of all their innocence by giving them a cucumber and condom lesson at age eight.
You can’t treat children like small adults
Society says, teach kids about sex at a young age. The more they know, the more prepared they are. The more prepared they are, the better decisions they’ll make. The truth is that knowledge and information can do serious damage to children who are not ready. Supporters of full-frontal sex education (at whatever age your child asks about sex) don’t understand that knowledge is power only when that person is capable of a rational and informed decision. Children are not capable of such decisions and treating them as adults in this way is not helping them.
Kay Hymowitz, author of Ready or Not: What Happens When We Treat Children as Small Adults argues that we have overestimated the mental capabilities of children. Information does not protect children from evil unless it is coupled with wisdom, and wisdom is sorely lacking in kids.
Sex can also ruin lives. Let’s not forget this. The impact of pornography, adultery, and fornication can destroy you. Proverbs says that the man who commits adultery will not have is shame wiped away. The young man who follows the strange woman knows not that “the dead are there”. Children don’t need to understand that sex is fun and healthy (inside a marriage), as much as they need to know that they could ruin their lives if they don’t have someone guiding them.
When your seven-year-old gets near the road while retrieving a ball, do you stop and explain that driving and walking on the road is fun and healthy as long as they look both ways and wear a seatbelt? I suspect that the average parent will provide a lecture about being run over instead. When someone cannot understand the harmful consequences of an action not yet taken, fear is an appropriate motivator to inhibit that behavior.
How does the Bible approach sex education?
Proverbs, the book of wisdom, provides (among other things) a balanced sex education to the young man, whom Solomon called “my son”. In this book, we see that Solomon spends far more time providing warnings of danger than he spends educating about biology or how wonderful and healthy sex can be. Let’s look at Proverbs 5:
He spends the first 14 verses giving out warnings about chasing the wrong kind of relationship, with the wrong person. The next 5 verses explain that he will be blessed if he marries one woman (the right woman) and stays faithful. Then lastly, he ends with 4 more verses that repeat his earlier warnings!
Parent, are you providing this kind of education to your child? Do you start with a warning, explain the benefits of sex in marriage, and then end with a warning? That is what young people need, and that is why the book of proverbs was written.
What is more important? Getting your children married to the right person, and avoiding heartache and destruction? Or is it that they would feel comfortable about their bodies, and have all the knowledge they need to be a good sexual partner? If they get the first one right, they will have decades of a blessed marriage to figure out the second.
Your turn! What are your thoughts on waiting to teach your kids about sex? Let’s chat in the comments below!
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