Parents and caregivers often want to know how to begin the sex talk. We would suggest, “Don’t begin with the Talk.” This might sound like a bait and switch, or as if we are avoiding your question, but honestly, the best way to deliver “the Talk” using THE conversation’s approach is to not start with the sex talk. Instead, start with the source of your child’s life.
No, not the story of where babies come from, but instead, THE Story of Who we came from - the person your child came from. In other words, what she was truly born of and made for:
“You alone were created by a huddle of hearts:
Let us make human beings.
The authority of God made all of creation. But it was the affection of God that made all His children.
The three persons of the Trinity – Father God, Jesus Christ, and Holy Spirit – gathered close together to imagine you. And God in three persons, uncontainable affections, knelt down and kissed warm life into you with the breath of His love.
You are made of the dust of this earth, and you are made of the happiness of heaven, and you are flesh and you are spirit, and you are of two worlds longing for the home of forever and Him.” - Ann Voskamp, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas
If we don’t start here (Genesis 1 & 2, John 1:1), then a biblically based sex talk will not be very effective.
Everything that we have covered before now, either in the blogs or podcasts, hinges on our children’s understanding of this: Our kids were created to be in connection with Real Love, and He is the source of the real love they experience and give. It is impossible for our children to flourish apart from the Love of God that made us. Our objective as parents or mentors is to communicate this truth to kids before and as we talk to them about the body, relationships and sex. When we lead with God’s invitation to love others out of the overflow of His love for us, it changes the entire tone and trajectory of any conversation about sex and relationships. Our kids need to know that real satisfaction of their deepest desire comes from connection to God Himself. Human relationships can only give us imperfect glimpses of God’s love. This realization disarms the dizzying power of the search for satisfaction in relationships that will ultimately disappoint.
We recommend introducing God’s Love as the origin of your child’s creation and the Source of real love as early as possible (today is a great day to start!). We also recommend you revisit this idea with your kids frequently and with a variety of approaches.. The best way to do this goes a step further than just telling kids. It requires us to intentionally connect kids with God’s Love over and over again.
How do we do this?
- It begins with your own connection to God’s Love. In what ways do you best connect with God and His Love? This may provide clues that help your child to make a connection with God.
- Watch your child or the kids you mentor with the objective of becoming an observer of who they are and what speaks to their heart. Then, experiment with ways that you can help him or her connect with God. (You can do this at the earliest of ages.)
- Read Ann Voskamp’s book, Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas, to kids at Christmas – it communicates God’s Love for us in a beautiful way during advent.
- Ask him about his favorite way to connect with God.
- Be mindful of what she says about worship or nature, or other experiences and comment about how you see God loving her through these things.
- Even if you can’t always control the environment he’s in, what are ways that you see God reaching him and loving him, and ask what he sees or experiences?
- Look for themes that are popping up in her life at any age. What messages of God’s love seem to be repetitive at particular stages in her life or throughout her life?
- Be sure to initiate and engage opportunities that connect kids to God and His love. Some examples: be a part of a church community; consider church youth camps, youth retreats, missions trips and service opportunities; introduce art or music experiences; incorporate athletics, friendships and young adult mentors your child respects, etc. There are endless opportunities, many of them FREE.
If you’re parenting or mentoring a student that is older and resistant to these conversations, try sharing stories from your own life of connecting in powerful ways to God’s Love. Or, if you desire to connect with God’s Love in a deeper way, share this with your kids too! Let her know this is what you’re asking God for her and for yourself. Even if her eyes are rolling or she has no comment, she is listening. Try to avoid churchy language, share in situations where there isn’t direct eye contact such as in the car or while working on a project together, and use as few sentences as possible to make it easier for her to hear you.
A practical example might be helpful here. In one of our workshops a brave and caring parent asked the question, “What if my teenager is struggling with God?”
THE conversation’s answer: “Ask your teenager lots of questions about the struggle. How does God feel about you? How do you feel about God? What do you believe about God that causes you to feel this way? Many times the source of this struggle is a faulty view of who God is, who we are and how God relates to us. Try to identify and question erroneous perspectives on each of these things. You can access our podcasts and blogs to help cast a new vision for God and the relationship He desires with us. This is where THE conversation must start. Before we can trust God’s direction for our lives, we have to come to believe that His desire is for us to live a life that flourishes. Once we resolve that issue, we are free to move forward into a discovery of His direction for our lives.”
It is worth repeating, if we don’t start here, a biblically informed sex talk will not be as effective. Our kids will resort to seeking human relationships as satisfaction for their longings.