Recommended for ages 11+
Give a Vision for God-Honoring Sex
Sexual integrity is about saying “yes” to living out and according to God’s design as a sexual being. Sadly, culture leads us to think that sex is something the world has created and that we must leave our faith to enjoy sex. And, culture does more to encourage and pressure our children experience the joys of sex outside of God’s design. But because God is the creator of sex, His design leads to the greatest joy and flourishing for sex.
How do we help our children live a life filled with the intense joys of sex that God has created for us and stand against the lies of the culture?
START WITH GRACE
Maybe when it comes to sexual integrity, this is an area that you yourself have failed in. Maybe you know this in an area that your child has already failed in. Or maybe you haven’t addressed this topic ever and you think it is too late so why start now. There is grace and forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sin, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God’s grace and forgiveness is bigger than you or your child’s past sins.
This may bring shame and guilt and lead you to believe that you are not qualified to address this with your own child. That is a lie! God has chosen you as your child’s parent, which means you are qualified and the person to talk to your child about this topic.
If this is a present sin in your life, you need to start by asking yourself the questions:
- What am I doing to get help in this area?
- What next steps do I need to take?
Whether this is a past or present issue, God can and wants to use you to impact your child’s life. Lead knowing that there is forgiveness from your heavenly Father and that you can make a generational change in your family.
1. GIVE A POSITIVE VISION
Give a positive vision of the purpose and joy of sex in the context of marriage. God created sex and he created in to be enjoyed within the covenant of a lifelong marriage. And it a good thing to enjoy! Counter the lies of culture be teaching your child that when sex is experienced with in the create bounds from the Creator, it is most fulfilling, most enjoyable. Speak honestly with your child of the joys of intimacy or of the mistakes you have made. Both your good and bad experiences can be a teacher to your child and used to remind them of God’s design for sex.
2. CLARIFY THE STANDARD
Psalm 119:9 says, “How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word.” While Jesus Christ was the only person to live a life of total sexual integrity, He invites us to follow His example by fulfilling the purpose for which we were made. When it comes to sexual integrity, our children need to understand that their bodies belong to God. 1 Corinthians 6:18-21 says, “Flee from sexual immorality…your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit…you are not your own…Therefore honor God with your body.”
3. FOCUS ON SEXUAL INTEGRITY, NOT JUST SEX
While it is important to remain a virgin before marriage, sexual integrity is much more than saying no to premarital sex. There is a current trend in teen culture to define virginity as not “going all the way,” while anything else is considered fair game. God desires for us to have much more than “technical virginity” before marriage. He has a great plan for our hearts, minds, and actions. Teach your child that sexual integrity involves every area of life.
4. DELAY TEMPTATION
Kids want to start dating younger than ever before. One study showed that a child who starts dating at twelve years old has only a 9% chance of remaining a virgin at eighteen years old. If they wait until sixteen, however, they are 80% likely to be a virgin at eighteen. God made us with desires that are very good. But those desires can be awakened too early. So, talk to your child about sexual integrity before allowing them to date and continue dialogue after they start the process. The topic can be awkward, so try to make the experience a dialogue, not a one-way conversation. For one child that could mean scheduling a regular coffee date; for another it might mean chatting while hunting or attending a sports event. Be sure to find some context for keeping the lines of communication open.
5. PRAY FOR THEM AND CONTINUE THE CONVERSATION
Commit yourself as a parent to cover your child in prayer. Pray specifically for his or her purity in relationships, a clean thought life, integrity in school and other activities. Pray for a heart that is connected to Christ and a mind immersed in God’s Word.
This is not a one and done conversation. Although it may be an awkward or challenging conversation, this is not something that you do once and hope it sticks. Create avenues for ongoing conversation with your child. Allow your kids to share their point of view and their reasons for what they think; this doesn’t have to change your decision as their parent, but kids who feel like they’ve played a role in the decision-making process are more likely to follow and obey the decision that is made. Discussions and dialogues in which parents are genuinely curious about what their child thinks or feels will help keep communication lines open. Open communication helps create safe place for them to come to, especially if they fail in this area. If you bring shame and judgement when they come to you instead of grace and forgiveness, they just won’t come to you the next time they sin.
WRITE LETTERS TO YOUR CHILD
Share your heart and scripture and vision instead of mere rules. Give them a vision of God’s plan for their lives. Plan a time to talk about the letter after they have read it such as a special breakfast or coffee date. Take time to listen to what they say and try to steer clear of teaching or lecturing.
HAVE YOUR CHILD WRITE OUT WHAT THEY WANT IN A FUTURE SPOUSE
As they get closer to dating, have them pull that list out and talk through the potential individuals that they are interested in dating to see if they fulfill that list. Ask the following questions: What would your future spouse want from you in purity? What do you want from your future spouse?
INTEGRITY CONVERSATION GUIDE
Use the Integrity Conversation Guide to help your child set boundaries and accountability to remain pure.
Take advantage of these resources as you begin the habit of prayer with your child.
YOUR CHILD'S NEXT STEP
As children get older, they become ready for additional steps along Milestones. Set a calendar reminder for your child’s next birthday to return to this page to select their next step. Thank you for becoming intentional about guiding your child’s faith journey!