Today, Tim and Barbara Lane are diving into the very difficult waters of discovering your teen’s sexual sin and/or having them confess their struggles to you. If you missed the beginning of this conversation with the Lanes, you can catch up here, here and here.
Discovering or Confessing Sexual Sin – How Should We Respond?
Jennifer: What if my child/teen doesn’t confess, but I discover their temptations and/or sexual sin? What, then?
Barbara: Providing an environment where confession and asking forgiveness is a daily activity provides a place for this to happen naturally. If you find yourself in a spot where you have not been able to provide this (possibly you are a new Christian or you have older children and are just understanding these things for the first time), enlist the wisdom and guidance of someone else who has. One of the most important things you can do is to stay calm. There are simple ways of bringing up difficult things. Depending on the situation, possibly a way to start the conversation is to ask when would be a good time to sit down and talk – allowing them to engage at a simple level. Starting out with a word of encouragement about something positive followed by an expression of how thankful you are for God’s grace in your own life and in the life of your child. God loved this child so much that He allowed him or her to be caught in something that could have led them down a very different path.
Jennifer: If change within my son or daughter doesn’t progress how and when I want it to, what would you suggest?
Barbara: First of all, prayer for your children on a regular basis cannot be stressed enough. It is during times of prolonged struggle and suffering that I have seen God’s hand clearly in a way that only He could have arranged. It had nothing to do with us as parents. Sometimes these prayers are answered quickly and sometimes after many years.
I am a big fan of living life in a community with others – your church, Christian friends, neighbors, families who share your faith and will love and pray for your children alongside of you. Some of the most significant times of growth in grace in each of my children’s lives have come as a result of a loving friend, Sunday school teacher, youth group leader or campus minister supporting my work as a parent. The big question each parent or couple needs to ask is whether they are living in this kind of community. I would say this is even more important given the fact that less and less families live close to one another. The body of Christ must function as an alternate extended family.
Jennifer: What final piece of advice would you offer to the parent whose child/teen has just shared with them what they struggle with?
Tim: You are a sinner in need of grace lovingly talking to another sinner in need of grace. It’s complex, but it is also quite simple. Pray and ask others to pray with and for you as you wisely seek to parent your child. The more important contribution you can make as your children mature into adulthood will be how transparent you are about your own struggles with sin (and, as appropriate, sexual sin) and your gratitude for God’s grace.
Have you discovered your teen’s sexual sin? Or listened to them share their temptations with you? What would you do differently next time? How did you see God’s grace and mercy at work?
Hopefully these conversations with Tim and Barbara Lane have been helpful for others, too. If you’d like to learn more about the work they’re doing, click here.
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