Broaching The Topic Of Sexuality With Your Child

Four tips that will help pave the way for better parent-child conversations.

Conversations on sexuality with your kid can be as awkward as these lamps. (credit: Michael Prewett, taken from unsplash.com) 

It faces every parent of pre-teens and teens – how in the world does one find out their:

  • struggles with pornography?
  • sexual orientation?
  • dating preferences?
  • sexual activity?

We all know how it goes with nosey parenting: it just doesn’t work.
Here’re some tips for you to consider:

Tip #1: Never make it your end goal

As the popular adage goes: people do not care how much you know before they know how much you care.

Anxiety-based parenting is often a prying one. If we do not like others being nosey about our private lives, so do your kids.

Anxiety-based parenting is often a prying one. If we do not like others being nosey about our private lives, so do your kids.

Jesus says, “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:31, NIV)

“But it’s because I care for them!” We hear you but, really – don’t. It doesn’t communicate love.
If you have not learnt about your child’s love language , that’s a great place to start. Prioritise showing genuine care for him/her according to the appropriate love language(s).

Remember: our guilt and shame in parenting can often drive our need for information from them.

Tip #2: Build a family culture of verbal affirmation

Eileen, a Cru Singapore staff who has been counseling youths and young adults for the past 10 years said, “Second-generation Christian youths who struggle with same-sex attraction have often found it difficult to talk to their parents about it.”

“They may see their issue as a burden to their parents and struggle with feelings such as guilt and helplessness.”

“Youths need to feel secure and assured of their parents’ love before they share their emotional journey with them.”

“Verbal expression of care is very important, especially in the context of Asian families.”

Positive affirmation is vital for your parent-child relationship.

 

Before you pluck up the courage to talk about sex and sexuality, be bold and lavish with using both spoken and written words to encourage your preteen or teen.

Tip #3: Go on a one-on-one trip together

Are you a parent who already has a track record of making time for your child?

If so, you can broach the topic of sexuality by inviting your son or daughter to go on a weekend getaway with you – just to hang out, have fun and talk.

Ps Mah Yeow Beng, a pastor at Bartley Christian Church invited each of his three sons to embark on a one-on-one trip to Malaysia with him. Using Passport2Purity® (P2P) and Passport2Identity® (P2I) , he could openly talk about topics of sexuality, peer pressure, life purpose in a relaxed environment using a guided framework.

“My dad was upfront about the nature of the trip. I knew what I was getting myself into when I said, ‘yes’,” shared David, 22, Ps Mah’s second son.

Ps Mah Yeow Beng with his son, David.

 

“I found the P2I material helpful for me as it reinforces values and convictions on how I want to lead my life – dating philosophy and choosing abstinence before marriage.”

One main highlight I was looking forward to in each of these trips was to hear my sons’ thoughts, and discuss any questions he has, on sexuality.

Ps Mah shared, “Honestly, one main highlight I was looking forward to in each of these trips was to hear my sons’ thoughts, and discuss any questions he has, on sexuality.”

“I was happy that we could talk about it openly. I could even share with him my own experience in handling sexual temptations.”

Ms Sarah Chua, a parenting specialist from Focus on the Family Singapore emphasised the importance of parent-child bonds in her letter to The Straits Times:

“A crucial foundation that allows children to share their concerns and questions about sexuality with their parents is a trusting and close relationship with them.”

Tip #4: Recognise that God is in control

Parenting is messy. Never make perfect-parenting your goal. Your preteen or teen is fully aware if they are chess pieces in your plan to be the perfect Christian parent.

Ps Tan Kay Kiong from Covenant Evangelical Free Church shares this in his book, Legacy Beyond Self ,

“As we keep vigilance over our children’s loves – the music that they hear, the movies they watch, the friends they mingle with, and the language they speak – it gives us a peek into their souls and helps us to understand the condition of their hearts.”

“On occasion, we may spot something that needs correcting – but here’s one thing: In order to inspire change, the encouragement of love is required, not the edict of fear.”

As we adopt a posture of surrender as parents, it does not make it any easier to see our children bear the consequences of their decisions. However, it demonstrates who God is to our children which will eventually light the way for them to know Him personally .

Conclusion

In Cru Singapore’s ministry with youths , young adults and families , what has always struck us is the long-term effect parenting has on our ministry disciples’. The family is indeed the key arena of discipleship for the youths and young adults.

Discipling children beyond Christian habits and practices are vital. Both the demands and stakes of parenting are high. We are humbly reminded that apart from a life with Jesus , we can do nothing (John 15:5).

Even though failures and mistakes are a given in parenting, you can take heart that with God and in community, you are not alone.

Let’s start some great conversations with your preteen or teen today.