My Teen is having Sex!


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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Proverbs 17:17

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?


11 replies
  1. Tina
    Tina says:

    Thank you for writing about such a volatile, sensitive matter Debbie. We would all love to put our girls (and boys) in the “highest room of the tallest tower …” but that is not reality. Most of us come to realize that ultimatums and threats only make our teen and older kids more rebellious so we have to LEARN to communicate. It is easy for us to “lose it” on a topic like this one, as most of us have very strong protective feelings about it – but that helps no one. I especially love the reminder that this is something between the child and God but also to express our beliefs while trying to maintain communication.

    • Debbie
      Debbie says:

      Tina, thanks for the support. You are so right that it is a volatile, sensitive topic. As Christians we so want our kids to follow our lead and accept our values without push back. I think the “sex” issue is so much more prevalent than we would like to think because as Christians we don’t want anyone to know for fear of judgment. We need to get to a place where we can weep with and support our friends without having to wear the mask. We think our kids’ behavior is about our relationship when it is really about their relationship with God.

    • Debbie
      Debbie says:

      Pam, I don’t know where you are in the parenting journey, but thank you for the support. Topics like this can create a lot of backlash and it’s great to have others who are willing to think outside the box when it comes to the difficult issues we encounter in our parenting. God bless you and your family.

  2. Erin
    Erin says:

    So if my teen wants to smoke weed, should I have them do it in the house so it’s more safe? If my teen wants to drink alcohol, should I buy it for them and have them do it at the house so it’s more safe? And I could go on and on with examples. With all due respect, that is the craziest dose of “Christian” parenting I’ve seen in awhile and scripture does not teach what you are advocating.

    • Debbie
      Debbie says:

      Erin, I can certainly understand why you might respond as you have. I too was in the same camp for many years when my kids were younger. It is hard to condone our children’s decisions and support them when they are making adult decisions that we believe are against scripture and against our values.

      Don’t misunderstand me. I am not advocating safe-sex here. What I am saying is that sometimes our children will continue to do things that will bring them harm. We can choose to walk beside them and stay in relationship or push them away.

      Our homes need to have rules and as parents we need to set boundaries for our teens. We can limit what is brought into our home such as alcohol or weed. We can make sure our kids are not having sex in our house. However, unfortunately, we can’t monitor our kids 24/7, but we can create relationship that will allow us to have influence in their decisions.

  3. Ang
    Ang says:

    The current challenge is real. My son is 18 still lives at home and is not a Christian. He knows our ideals and values. My husband wont let his friends come over and have a beer or an 18th birthday at our house. So what did they do? Went bush in winter freezing cold and drunk with zero supervision and no cell reception. My son also has paid exorbitant money in hotels to have sex with his girlfriend and had sex in his car. All for the sake of ensuring sin doesnt happen in our home. The control my husband wants to have over my childrens lives (not his kids) in an attempt to make sure we only have christian behaviour at our patch of land, brick and mortar, feels so very far from my core values. My kids are not following the Lord. (13, 15 and 18). The reasons why are a whole other topic. Will i kick them all out because I don’t approve of their sin. No! I really want to explore this more. Is there a private forum to discuss these issues of the heart. I am currently separated because the control was fairly significant.

  4. thedesignboy
    thedesignboy says:

    I’m a dad of a 16 year old girl, she has been with her boyfriend for a year or so and I agree, the world is broken, but does that mean that I value being in a relationship and support her even though I don’t agree with it?

    It really is watered down Christianity you are suggesting here, narrow is the road not wide and easy. Not everyone can walk it, but on the other hand – I agree, the world is broke. My views I cannot push on my child, I am typing here ahead of speaking to her and my wife about the next steps as they both see it as a natural progression.

    I’m hurting over it, but I’m big enough to step back and let it happen. In this case, I can’t let go and let God. This is not the God that I know for the past 42 years. Perhaps you have a different relationship and set of values which is fine. But this post is scary for anyone with a view to just let it happen and hope that God will keep it safe.

    I am faced to either bite my lip, let it happen and just let them both know I don’t support it. Or be a fool and hurt her with religion. Both are terrible choices, who said having children was easy… lol I think no one.

    I’m going to most likely let it happen, but then work on masking my sadness and pretend to be okay with it to keep the relationship, which is a loving and happy one. I just am sad to see it reach this juncture so soon.

    • Debbie
      Debbie says:

      I can sense the love that you have for your daughter as well as the fear. It is difficult to parent girls during this phase of life. The world can be a scary place. My heart goes out to you as you navigate this situation.

      Please know that I’m not advocating just letting go and letting God do the parenting. We need to stay engaged as our kids begin to test the waters. They are trying to figure out who they are as well as come to terms with their values. Sometimes they make mistakes along the way. At times they become so adamant that their decision is the right decision for them that we as parents need to make a choice. Are we going to retreat emotionally and let them deal with their own consequences or are we going to choose to stay engaged in order to be the safety net when the heartache comes?

      May I make a suggestion? Rather than engaging with your daughter by masking the sadness, let her know how you are feeling. Be authentic. Share your fears, your hopes and dreams for her, as well as stories of mistakes that can result from the steps she is taking. Ask her questions around whether this boy fits into her dreams of the future. Begin a dialogue about how our choices sometimes determine our future. However, know that she needs to see her daddy’s heart and love regardless of her decisions.

      These are the times in our life that keep us on our knees. Prayer for our kids as well as prayer for us to stay calm in the middle of the storm that is raging inside of us is the key.

      My prayers are with you and your wife as you make decisions on next steps. Please know that my mission is to help parents work through difficult situations during the teen years. Sometimes God uses them to grow us.


  5. Janette
    Janette says:

    I was very promiscuous. I lived in a house with many rules are. I was sneaking. Then I went to live with my dad who had no rules and I did what I wanted. I felt awkward around Christians. I wanted my pit of sin. Only Jesus could bring me back from that. Sin is sin. No, I have teenagers. All I can pray that they hear my heart when I speak, and that Jesus will change their heart for his will and not theirs


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