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How and when to talk to your kids about sex, porn, etc.


This is a topic that we don't like to think about very much. However, it is a topic that we must be willing to address and know how to address with our children.

Before we get into the how and when to have this conversation, let us first start with the mindset that is needed to have the conversation. As a parent, I must be willing to embrace "the AWKWARD". Talking to your children about sex, porn, etc., is awkward. So let's embrace the awkward!

After you have embraced that it is going to be awkward, let's look at some principles on how and when.

We must remember that every child is different. Every child matures at a different pace. As a parent, I must have spent time studying my child, so I know when it is the best time to start talking about it.

The average age of first exposure to pornography in this country is age 8. This probably means we need to be talking to our children around this age. It may be right at age 8. It may be a little earlier. It may be a little older. Bottom line, in this culture, we can't wait until junior high or high school to have these conversations. At that point, it's too late.

You might be saying that "I'm not talking to my 7 to 10 year old about sex and porn". 

I would say, "Are you giving them a cell phone?"

You'd say "NO!"

I'd say, "Do any of their friends have a cell phone, ipad, gaming system, or access to them?"

You'd say "Yes".

I'd say, then they have access to explicit content and need to be talked to about the dangers that can come from it.

Please remember, we do this when it is age appropriate for that child, and you share information that is age appropriate. You don't dump the truck.

A great book on how to have the porn conversation with young children is Good Pictures, Bad Pictures by Jenson or Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr. (for even younger audiences) by Jenson as well.

That is a great resource in how to have the porn conversation with your children or for your child to know how to talk to you if they have been exposed to porn.

When you do decide to let your child have a cell phone (again, each child's maturity is different and that maturity determines when they can handle a phone), you also want to discuss with your children the dangers of sexting (receiving or sending explicit pics or videos of yourself and others). No child needs to deal with this. However, if they do receive these, you want the lines of communication to be open so they can come talk to you (the parent) about it. At the same time, you want them to be able to come to you to talk if someone is requesting these types of pics from your child. Technology is great, but because of the depravity of humanity it does come with some dangers!

So we have discussed when to start having these conversations. We have discussed tools to use to help to have the conversations about porn, etc.

Now comes what I think is the most important part of this blog.

Conversations about sex between parent and child, if at all possible, need the following:

1. conversation between same sex (mother to daughter or father to son)
2. not a one-time conversation but an ongoing dialogue between the parent and child
3. centered around biblical principles regarding sex and sexuality
4. parent is appropriately honest about past failings in the sex arena

Conversation between same sex (mother to daughter or father to son)-

We have already mentioned that this conversation is hard and awkward. Having this conversation mother to son or father to daughter just increases the awkwardness, especially as this dialogue happens during the teenage years.  

There are some situations where a single parent is forced to raise the child due to death of a spouse or divorce. In those situations, things can be more complicated in trying to make conversations occur between same sex. In those situations, I would encourage the parent to pray and fast and ask God for direction. Does He want that parent to have the conversation? Does He want that parent to partner with someone else in the child's life to help with that conversation? Those are hard questions that only God can answer for that individual.

Not a one-time conversation but an ongoing dialogue between the parent and child - 

Talking about sex and porn and sexting and sexuality cannot be a one-time conversation. It starts when the child is young and needs to continue throughout the latter part of childhood, the teenage years, and even into young adulthood.  

It is not an everyday conversation, but it is an ongoing dialogue for years and years!

Centered around biblical principles regarding sex and sexuality -

The culture teaches us about sex and sexuality.

The internet teaches us about sex and sexuality.

Social media teaches us about sex and sexuality.

Our time at school and in locker rooms and on buses teach us about sex and sexuality.

Much of the time that is not even a good education!

When teaching about sex, go to the source. God is creator of all things, sex included. I want to teach my children that sex is not bad or gross. It is GREAT in the context that God has given (biblical marriage between husband/man and wife/woman). I share the aspects of this gradually based upon what is appropriate for their age, and I ask God to give me wisdom in how to have that conversation.
I have blogged in the past on the seven biblical principles of sex. Check these blogs out at It is there you can learn about sex being about:

1. worship
2. intimacy
3. faithfulness
4. selflessness
5. pleasure
6. producing a Godly heritage
7. being heterosexual only

Parent is appropriately honest about past failings in the sex arena-

This is probably one of the hardest parts of the conversation, and it probably doesn't happen when the child is 8, 9, or 10. It probably happens when they are in junior high or high school. Again, you don't have to dump the truck and confess way too much detail, but you need to be honest about ways that you may have fallen short of God's plan.

We must remind ourselves that we are not our past mistakes or our sins or our shame. If I have committed my life to Jesus, then I am forgiven, and my identity is in that forgiveness. Maybe me being honest with my kids about my failures helps them avoid those failures. Maybe if the child has fallen short, knowing that mom and dad were forgiven motivates repentance instead of living in secrecy in their sin.

Ask God to give you wisdom to know when to start these conversations with your kids and ask God to give you wisdom to know how to have each conversation you have with your children on this topic.

I hope this provides some principles in how to do this. Biggest thing to be reminded of is that we want to love God with everything we have. We model that for our children in every aspect of life, including sex.