I didn’t agree with a lot of things in the above mentioned book, but I did learn a lot about why and how you should talk to your children early, often, and honestly. Here are my some of my notes and quotes from the book…
Chapter One Through Five of “Straight Talk with Your Kids About Sex”
“With the internet, distorted sex information is only a click away. “Immoral sexual content is reaching the majority of our children. The average age of the first Internet exposure to pornography is nine years old. And there are plenty of sites to be exposed to. There are over 5 million pornographic sites available today with over 68 million search requests daily. More than 11 million teenagers view Internet porn on a regular basis. Forty-seven percent of families said that pornography is a problem in their home, and these were largely Christian families that responded to this poll by Focus on the Family.”
After Josh gave a talk titled “The Bare Facts: The Truth About Sex, Love, and Relationships” at a pastoral staff conference, many pastors spoke with him afterwards about problems they are having. “One youth pastor said, “My 14-year-old daughter has been giving oral sex to the boys at her Christian school.” Another pastor said, “I just found my 8-year-old son watching pornography on my office computer.””
“It’s like one young mother said, “It feels as if we are trying to raise our kids in the center of Las Vegas.”
“In order to teach our children about sex, we as parents must know the real purpose of sex, what sexual purity actually means, why there are boundaries around sex, and how a loving parent/child relationship is the cornerstone in teaching God’s view of sex.”
“As we raise our children one thing we need to make clear to them is that sex- that attraction between the opposite sex- is God’s beautiful gift to each of us. It’s not something that is dirty even though some people misuse it and distort his purpose for it. Just because a destructive culture distorts a beautiful thing doesn’t mean we act as though it’s a plague. Human sexuality was designed by God, it came from Him.”
Captivating Story About Boundaries:
“It was a warm, dark night and Justin and his girlfriend Maddie wanted to go swimming. Justin knew that the neighbors down the street were away for an extended time, and they had a beautiful in-ground pool in their backyard. So he and Maddie sneaked behind the neighbor’s house, scaled the fence surrounding the pool, and set out to enjoy an evening swim.
Justin threw off his shoes, climbed the diving-board ladder, and before Maddie could even get her shoes and socks off, dove in. He heard her scream just before he lost consciousness.
The neighbors had drained most of the water from the pool. Unable to see this in the darkness, Justin’s dive ended with a shallow splash of water and a sickening crunch of bones. His late-night dive paralyzed him from the neck down for the rest of his life.
This couple wanted nothing more than to enjoy the pleasure of a twosome swim party. The fence marked a boundary that explicitly said “Do Not Enter,” “Keep Out.” But Justin saw the fence as a killjoy, meant to keep him and his girlfriend from having fun. In reality, the fence was meant for his protection.
You’ve given your child instructions, “Don’t touch the stove,” “Look both ways before crossing,” “Don’t forget to brush your teeth.” You weren’t being a “killjoy,” your directives were meant for your child’s benefit. These commands are boundaries- like a fence designed to protect your child from harm.”
“Our kids need to understand that sex is from God for a designed purpose. Sex is a fantastic gift to increasingly deepen a married couple’s love life, to bring joy and physical pleasure into their relationship, and to create a loving family of children.”
“Let your kids know there is a clear way to enjoy the wonderful gift of sex. It’s not something dirty or wrong. It is a beautiful way to bond when we follow the instructions of how it was designed.”
“You can’t have rules without a trusting relationship with your child. Relationship is more important than rules. Having rules without a great relationship will lead you to a rebellious teenager.”
“If your children don’t see the model of a relationship they can believe in (their parents’ marriage relationship), it will be hard for them to believe it. If they see a great model worth aspiring to, they’ll be more receptive to your instruction.”
Josh knew his daughter would listen if she could answer these three questions well: “Do you know that I, your father, love you?” “Do you know that I love your mother?” “When you get married, do you want in marriage and love and sex and family life what I have with your mom and you kids?”
“God designed us as relational beings. We all need the unfailing love of a mother and a father and the abiding friendships of others. And if we don’t get those relational connections we suffer the consequences, especially when we lack a father connection.”
“Studies show that the moms are doing it right. Most kids sense mom is going to be there for them, to listen to them, to hurt with them, to sympathize with them. But with dad it’s another matter. Kids generally don’t feel that same relations security with their father. And it negatively impacts them. Most fathers could learn so much from their wives if they would just listen.”
“Consider this: If your children’s father is no longer around or is not a suitable dad, look for mature, godly men in your church who can provide a positive role model of Christian manhood for your kids.” If you’re one of those great, godly dads, be willing to include other people’s kids in your family outings or making special efforts to befriend and talk them. “A father figure has a tremendous influence in a child’s life.”
“And for all moms: You, more than anyone else, will determine how your children see their father. You have enormous power either to support Dad in his love toward his children or to undermine him and make him look incompetent in their eyes. Encourage your husband in his attempts at fathering. He needs it. Be supportive in your words to him and to your children. He needs you more than he probably realizes. So be patient, be wise, and continue to encourage him to be there for the kids.”
“A parent might say, “All right- guarantee me that if I build the right kind of relationship with my kids they will do the right things, make the right choices, and live a life I’ll be proud of.” “We wish we could. We wish we could say that following the best advice on how to connect relationally with your kids will forever protect them from the heartache of wrong choices and provide them with true happiness. But we can’t.”
“After all your best efforts, your kids may still reject you and your values. But we can say this: By making every effort to build a healthy relationship with your kids and by providing wise information about sex, your chances are much higher. By taking the right steps you are giving your kids a fighting chance of making it successfully through the sexual land mines the enemy has laid before them.”
The Building Blocks of Relationships:
- Approach your child’s world. Get involved in their interests. Show genuine care and enthusiasm for what goes on in their world.
- Accept your child.
Dottie McDowell totaled her father’s car at age 16. “Naturally I wasn’t looking forward to telling my dad what I had just done to his car. What would he say? “Dottie, what in the world have you done?”or “Weren’t you watching the road?” or “How fast were you going anyway?” or “Young lady, do you know how much this is going to cost me?” But Dad said nothing like that. The first words out of his mouth were: “Oh Dottie, I’m so glad you weren’t hurt!” Over and over Dad just told me how glad he was I was safe. He never once scolded me or lamented the loss of the car. I never forgot it- my dad accepted me even as an immature 16-year-old driver.”
- Be available to your child.
“Are you busy? Do you at times feel rushed? Are there not enough hours in a day to do what needs to get done? We all seem to live a fast-paced life these days. I cannot tell you how many times I (Josh) have allowed my hectic schedule to delay my time with my children. “Not now Sean, I have a talk to prepare. We’ll talk later.” “Katie, I have an appointment downtown… we’ll need to talk after I’m done.” “Heather, maybe later, I need to pack for the airport.” “Kelly, I’m pretty exhausted right now, how about after dinner?” Every time I said things like that, I was communicating to my kids that they were not as important as whatever was on my agenda. It breaks my heart when I think about it now.”
“The way our kids spell love is “T-I-M-E.” And when we make ourselves available to our children we give them a sense of importance. When we put them off we are in essence saying, “I love you, but other things still come ahead of you.”
- Affirm your child.
“We parents won’t always understand the feelings of our children, but we can validate that what they are feeling is real. Often the emotions of a young person are simply an outpouring of their personal experience and their internal world. Feelings represent their reality, and when we seek to understand that reality, we build a bridge of communication.
- Appreciate your child.
- Show affection to your child.
- Hold your child accountable.
Have loving limits and boundaries. When we provide loving accountability for their wrong actions, we give them a sense of responsibility.