We have a problem.
Sexual dysfunction and addiction are stealing our children.
With the smart phone takeover and the overproduction and overconsumption of pornography, healthy sexual development for children, teens and young adults is more than just a challenge.
How can we help our children develop healthy sexuality, and is it possible to cultivate an environment in our homes for our children to attain it?
It is important to start from the beginning to set up an atmosphere of prevention of sexual dysfunction. You will have to think through and establish the guardrails you want to establish for your family.
Here are some initial ideas:
· Educate your children about sex starting at a young age. There is age appropriate curriculum for children as young as three to five years of age. This initial curriculum is not detailed in terms of intercourse, but begins to set the stage for a healthy sexual understanding. If you are the parent of a teen and you did not start this process early, its not too late. Just make sure your plan for implementing is one that does not cause disruption to the relational connection you share.
· As a parent, it is important to set yourself up as the expert. When children here about sexuality first from other children, they are set up to think their peers are the experts. This is wrong on so many different levels and for so many different reasons. If you are the one speaking with gentle and wise authority on the subject starting from a young age all through your child’s growing years, they will know you have a better understanding and will be more likely to listen to you.
· Many parents have not healed from or have not resolved sexual issues in their past or present. This creates discomfort around the issue of discussing sexuality. When a parent takes the time to deal with their own sexual issues, there will be more freedom and clarity to talk comfortably about sexuality with their children.
· Purchase and set up a tentative plan for implementing sex education information throughout childhood and adolescence. This should include regular developmental information as well as the purpose for sex in adulthood and porn prevention information. Do not just rely on your child’s school to do this. Children and teens need to hear about this important aspect of life from the people to which they are most bonded.
· Ask your children what they are learning or hearing from friends at school and in the neighborhood. Stay calm when they tell you what they have been learning. Just position yourself as the expert.
· Check in regularly about porn. Let your child tell you what, if anything, they have seen and help them process this information in a safe way. Partner with them to prevent these images from being as readily accessible to them and get them resources to aid in preventing these images from intrusively controlling their thoughts.
· Set up the norms or standards in your home for technology use. Do not allow technology behind closed doors. All phones and other devices should be used and stored for charging in open spaces where people are passing.
· Children and teens who are home alone often need a specialized plan. This is difficult for single parents and parents who work so creative brainstorming with a therapist or a like-minded friend is a good idea.
The best way to prevent sexual dysfunction and confusion is relational joy in healthy community. Pornography and illicit sexuality are highly addictive especially to the brain that is lonely for relational connection. Also, it is important to give children/teens a clean slate in terms of keeping pain, trauma and relational upset fully processed in the brain. Make sure your kids are in right relationship with you and if not figure out how to get there.
Keeping children and adolescents sexually safe and free from dysfunction is no small task in our culture. Human sexuality is beautiful and vital to our growth as individuals. Find a therapist or expert to aid you in this journey. It is worth the fight!
You can do this.
God’s Design for Sex Series
Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr.: A Simple Plan to Protect Young Minds
Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr.: A Simple Plan to Protect Young Minds (Kindle)
Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today’s Young Kids