Today, Tim and Barbara Lane are sharing their perspective on parenting your teens through sexual temptations. If you missed the beginning of this conversation with the Lanes, you can catch up here and here.
Those Sexual Temptations…and Your Teen
Jennifer: Let’s say my daughter just told me she has feelings for a girl in her youth group and is afraid of what this might mean, wondering “am I gay?” How would I help her see the hope of the Gospel in this situation?
Tim: The fact that your child feels safe to share that with you is an evidence of grace itself! Hopefully the things we have already talked about have encouraged an environment where confession and asking forgiveness are the norm and not the exception. If everyday activity involves keeping short accounts with your family, then weighty conversations will flow more naturally. The gospel is for every struggle of the heart – it does not differentiate between what we typically term ‘big’ and ‘small.’ Your home (and hopefully the church where you attend) is a place that can provide safety and encouragement to have honest conversation, seek help and work towards change.
More specifically to your question, a climate of grace will not only provide a context for your child to share about their sexual development, it will provide a context to discuss what is truly going on. Instead of “freaking out” you will be able to engage your child in conversation to determine exactly what they are saying. What may start as a conversation about sexual brokenness, like same-sex attraction (SSA), can lead to a conversation about how everyone is a bit confused concerning their sexual identity – especially when moving through puberty to adulthood.
Jennifer: What suggestions do you have for the parent uncomfortable with discussing sexual sin and temptations like lust, masturbation, same-sex attractions, porn, etc.?
Tim: Again, this is a place where starting early will be extremely important. Distortions of sex and other temptations are becoming more and more accessible. Because of this, it is tempting to try to build a fortress so that your child will be shielded from it all. I can certainly understand this temptation. Helping them to engage wisely in the world is equally important. Early and honest conversations about sex are important. Make the subject seem normal and not taboo. Be candid about how God has blessed us with the gift of sex and He has loving guardrails so that we can enjoy sex to its fullest. Be positive and life-affirming. Celebrate all of God’s gifts including sex.
Jennifer: After learning difficult information about my child, how could I try to apply this hope of the Gospel in my own heart and life?
Barbara: Getting unexpected news from or about your child can be difficult to swallow. Many times I have realized that this is because I have had a false notion of what my child should appear to be in front of others…clearly a reflection of my own pride. Struggle with sin is part of life. I need to be reminded once again of my need for grace and mercy and extend that same grace to my child in that moment. Your responses to these kinds of issues are where your children will determine whether you truly believe what you say you believe.
Do you think your teen feels the door is open to discuss sexual temptations with you? Why or why not?
Tim and Barbara will share next week on how to work through a teen’s confession.
Wherever you are on your parenting journey, be sure to check out these resources:
- Covenant Eyes
- Parenting board
- The Talk: 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality, by Luke Gilkerson
- Sex Before Marriage: How Far is Too Far, by Tim Lane