For most of us the words “My Teen is having Sex!” would send us spiraling into terror. Our pulse would race, we’d be gasping for air, and most likely our minds would go into that world of “What If’s”.
We’d start blaming ourselves for what we didn’t teach our kid or what we did wrong in our parenting. We’d want to lock our kid in their room until they are 30 and can make better decisions.
In other words–we’d want to control the situation and possibly make sure it doesn’t happen again.
If you are like most Christian parents, teens having sex outside of marriage affects you deeply at the core of your value system. And depending on how you might have struggled with your sexuality as a teen or young adult, the potential regrets and possible abuse involved, or a transgression from a spouse could send you to the very place the enemy wants you–a place where your desire for your teen’s obedience and compliance with your values becomes more important than the relationship.
So how can you stay calm in the midst of the emotional storm that threatens to take you into a pit of despair? How can you maintain the relationship with your teen in a healthy way that breathes life into your relationship rather than playing the game of blame–blame toward yourself for not being a good enough parent and blame toward your teen for not following the right path?
- Acknowledge that your teen is a separate human being who can and will make their own decisions. At this stage of the game you can mentor–walk beside them–but you can’t control their every move 24/7. Tell this to yourself as well as your teen.
- Validate your teen’s sexual desires and talk about the world’s view versus your view. Let’s face it, sex is everywhere in our culture. TV and movies portray sex like shaking hands. You and I are friends, let’s hop in bed together is the world’s mentality. Remember that our teens are having to make choices between our beliefs and the world’s when their frontal lobe won’t be fully functioning for almost another decade.
- Listen to your teen’s view on sex without judgment and without emotion. Find out how invested they are in the relationship. You can share your beliefs and make suggestions after hearing them out, but be sure to agree to disagree if need be in a calm manner expressing your sadness–not your anger.
- Take necessary precautions. This is where I know I’ll get into trouble in the Christian community. If your teen is choosing to have sex, make sure it is safe sex. Here’s why.
A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.
As Christians, we need to think about how we can best love our teen who is struggling. Why would we want to bring potential harm to this person whom God gave us to tend and nurture when we have the means to help protect them?
Once we have knowledge that our child is having sex, we now have the ability to arm our teen with the means to protect them from something more–pregnancy, STD, or some other fate.
We need to not believe the lie that providing birth control means that we are condoning the behavior. Be honest, tell your teen why you are doing it–to protect them and you. Arm them while still putting boundaries in place–especially in your home that you can control. But continue to stand firm on why you think their promiscuity is a mistake.
Yes, there will still be other possible consequences such as future regret and a broken heart that we can’t protect, but we need to remember that the relationship is more important than the behavior.
I’ll admit, ten years ago I would never have bought into the concepts in this post. It’s amazing what God does to a person’s heart when He allows us to see the pain and broken relationships other women have endured from God fearing Christian parents who had good intentions. Working with women who have the scars of their family’s love that turned into anger-filled control when they “made wrong decisions” helps me see their need for love and acceptance in spite of their choices.
What these women long for more than anything is to feel the loving arms of their parents saying “I don’t agree with your decision. I wish I could change your mind. I wish you would accept that as your parent I do know that this mistake will lead you to a place you really don’t want to go. You know what the Bible says about sex outside of marriage and this decision is about your relationship with God more than it is about your relationship with me. But as your mother, I accept that you are your own person and I will walk beside you and will always be here when you need me.”
I re-engaged with a woman a couple of months ago who was caught in this very dilemma more than a decade ago. Her teen daughter was having sex and rather than becoming that hysterical mom she calmly and rationally talked about the situation. Knowing her daughter wasn’t going to change the behavior, Mom took her daughter to the gynecologist in an effort to create relationship as well as prevent an unwanted pregnancy. I asked her specifically, “How is your relationship with your daughter today?”
Her response, “It’s good. She is happily married and I see her at least once and sometimes twice a week. She is even talking about trying to get pregnant soon.”
Isn’t that what we want as parents–to see our kids thrive after we’ve walked with them through the difficulties of life.
Dare you to not let the enemy steal your relationship with your teen as you navigate the turbulent waters.
“Let go…and let God”,
I’d love to dialogue with you over the issue of teen sex in our culture today. Got thoughts you’d like to share?