As my children get older and more mature there is so much that they need to know from us, their parents that cannot be taught effectively or properly in the world. I dare not trust the schools with the education of our children when it comes to matters of sex. This is something that just cannot be taught with worldly wisdom and stay in harmony with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As my oldest daughter is close to moving into the Young Women program of the church and we teach her about sex we know that the day will come when she will want a boyfriend and start dating. While we certainly will and are making an effort to teach morality and the law of chastity to our children we cannot ignore the possibility that one or more of my 3 girls could end up having sex while in their teen years while still being unwed.
This has led to the conversation with my wife about how we would deal with such a situation if it were to happen. Within our home we are very open about sex. We teach our children that there is nothing wrong with sex and the importance of treating it with respect. We try to teach our children about proper use of sex and help them understand that it is normal and natural. As a result of this our eldest daughter who is turning 11 next month has asked a lot of questions about sex and is quite comfortable talking to us about it even to the point of asking about specifics of our sex life as her parents, for which we are very grateful.
This is not to suggest you should tell you kids every little detail but rather answer questions openly and honestly in a way that provides them with the information they are seeking while ensuring you give them information at a level of understanding that they can handle.
Numerous studies have shown that kids who have been effectively educated in an environment where sex is a normal topic of discussion and not taboo or embarrassing are less likely to have sex pre marriage. A proverb states “train up the child in the way he/she should go and when he/she is old he/she will not depart from it” The key is when they are old, not young.
Children and especially hormonal teens make decisions without thinking quite often. While we hope that they make good decisions we cannot rely on that fact that they will in every circumstance. As a parent how do you handle your teenage daughter or son becoming sexually active despite your best efforts to teach them the gospel standards?
A friend of mine on Facebook recently commented “Having been the parent of a teenage girl at one time and was one myself a long time ago! It really doesn’t matter what rules you give them if they want to have sex they will. All we can do is to try to teach them the values of safe sex or to wait until a committed relationship but they will make up their own minds. Plain & simple.”
This seems to be a common sentiment of worldly wisdom. It is also something that me and my wife have also come to understand that if any of our daughters decide to have sex with their boyfriends while still under age youth it is not something that we can stop from happening. Having once been teenagers our selves at one point we both understand that moment you ban something from happening is the moment that a child will often rebel and do it anyway.
Because we value our relationships with our kids we have and will continue to teach them the importance of chastity and modesty but also have told our eldest who is now entering puberty that it is important for her to be able to come to use and be open and honest with us in all aspects of her life, including her sex life if that is the case. If we were to be angry with her and ban her from making such decisions we have felt that it would only serve to push her away from us, loose trust in us and create a barrier where she would not feel she can talk to us and would engage in even riskier behavior.
Ultimately how do we respond? Both me and my wife agree that the best way to respond is not to stop sexual activities but rather ensure that safe sex is being practiced. This is not to condone such behavior but recognizing that if we are not open enough to accept that our child has made such a decision then the only other outcome is resentment and anger. Through our educational talks we have told our daughter that if she makes such a decision then she needs to tell us about it regardless if she is doing this in our home or elsewhere. We would be angry with her for hiding that fact that she is having sex from us. While we would be disappointed in her for making such a choice it is more important for her to be able to be honest about it.
Within the church we teach that free agency is a vital part of the gospel, because of that free agency we have to allow our children to make decisions, even choices that will harm them in some cases. As hard as it is sometimes we need to sit back and allow them that choice.
Through these conversations our eldest has stated that she does not want a boyfriend till she graduates high school. We have told her that this is a great decision and we hope that she sticks to it. She also understands that we will continue to teach her the importance of the law of chastity and that we will always be here to listen to her and help her with any problems she is having.
When all is said and done I trust that my girls will make the right choice but if they don’t I want them to be able to come and tell me that they plan to have sex before they do. I would buy my girls a pack of condoms and birth control and give her the privacy she needs because I know I can’t stop them once they make that choice. Only my girls can stop that and I would rather she be safe and protected than pregnant and infected.
And that is the gospel according to Andrew.