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Presbyterians Protecting Life - P.O. Box 461 - Glenshaw, PA 15116 - (412) 487-1990

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YOUTH SEXUALITY SERIES 

SUGGESTIONS FOR PARENTS

Compelled by the Gospel, PPL equips Presbyterians to champion human life at every stage

PPL YOUTH SEXUALITY SERIES

SUGGESTIONS FOR PARENTS

By PPL Board Member Dr. Patricia Lee June

September 2019

 

  1. Set a good example. Live in fidelity in marriage; if divorced/widowed/unmarried, do not engage in sexual activity yourselves.

  2. When introducing the issue to sexuality to children and youth, start with the positives – the design of God for sex within marriage, and its benefits.  Add the cautions about negatives when the subject comes up (discussion of a TV show, what another child said, a family crisis, or as your youth matures.

  3. If you have sinned, at the appropriate age and time, consider confessing your sins and repentance to your child (not in unnecessary detail); also discuss the consequences of sin.  God brings good out of evil (Gen 50:20, Rom 8:28).  This is especially important to stress if your child was conceived out of wedlock.

  4. Assure your children that though it will sadden/grieve you if they have sex outside of marriage (whether or not they become pregnant as a result), that you love them and that you will be there with them whatever the consequences.  Yet actions have consequences - you cannot make the consequences vanish. 

  5. If you waited for marriage to have sex, tell your youth how this has been a blessing.  Tell them the blessing it was to you to have a spouse who has shared their body only with you.

  6. From a young age, try to eat together as a family, with no electronic distractions, at least daily, talking about daily activities, daily blessings from God, etc.

  7. Fathers, set an example for your sons in how you treat their mother.  Spend time with your sons, encouraging them in their interests whether physical or artistic.  Show non-sexual affection for your daughters – this lessens the risk of their seeking affection in sexual encounters prior to marriage. Teach both to praise God for the sex that He made them.

  8. While you cannot eliminate what your children see from acquaintances at school/at friends’ homes, limit exposure in your home.  Keep computers and televisions in central areas of the house, install filters, check histories on these and phones.  Don’t allow programs/books/music with sexual innuendos or positive acceptance of non-marital sex. 

  9. At an early age, discuss what parts of the body are acceptable to look at/show/touch and what to do if they are exposed to an inappropriate picture or touch.  Teach your children to look other people in the eyes.  Do not allow girls to dress provocatively. 

  10. Pray together as a family, discuss Scripture in the context of day-to-day life, attend church regularly.  Nominal Christianity provides no protection in sexuality, but attending church services weekly lowers the risk of teen sexual activity, pregnancy, and abortion (at all ages).  As Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says  “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”

  11. Encourage your child’s involvement in productive healthy activities – volunteer as a family.

  12.  Talk with your children about the characteristics of a good spouse.

  13. The risk of non-marital sexual activity is greater from 18-19 than under 18 and peaks in the early 20’s. 

  14. Encourage your children to test everything according to Scripture; to avoid alcohol which lowers inhibitions; start firm against negative peer-pressure and not to accept teachings of professors just because they are professors, but to test them also.

  15. Use caution with long-term boyfriends/girlfriends.  Temptation increases.  Keep visits to public areas of the house and limit physical contact allowed.  Avoid cuddling.

  16. Question of HPV vaccine:  The vaccine should be discussed within the context of God’s design for sex within marriage.  The vaccine is very (but not 100%) effective if given prior to exposure and needs 2 doses if started at age 14 or less, but 3 doses if 15 or older.  It lasts 10-12 years - probably much longer A girl can become infected from a spouse who was not a virgin at marriage or who is unfaithful. Discussion of this vaccine is an opportunity to discuss rape (recognizing that rape cannot be totally prevented though caution can lower risk, and both boys and girls can be raped) and the risks of oral sex and anal intercourse.  This is graphic, but these behaviors have become common.  More study is needed regarding questions of possibly decreasing ability to get pregnant after HPV vaccine.

  17. If your son is confused about whether he is a boy or a girl, reinforce his biological sex that God made him - that God made him this for His good reason.  Same with daughters. After puberty, most children will accept their biological sex. Counselling may be useful - this usually happens in families with problems - but choosing the right counsellor is extremely important – chose one that will affirm biological sex and not gender confusion.

  18. Currently, social contagion gender disorder is becoming common in teen girls, usually ones who do not fit in socially. 

  19. Encourage sexual abstinence regardless of the direction of your child’s sexual desires (homo- or hetero-). It is both the Godly answer and the medically and emotionally healthy answer.  With the promotion of social acceptance, many youth question their sexual orientation, but most will have heterosexual desires by the end of puberty.  While promoting the benefits of heterosexual marriage, encourage your youth that permanent sexual abstinence is also God’s will for some.  And if your youth falls into sexual sin, remember that we are all sinners, and that God has forgiven and changed not only homosexual sinners, but adulterers, those engaging in premarital sex, gossips, idolaters, the proud, alcoholics, persecutors of Christ, etc. 

 

Ways to protect your children away from home

  1. Investigate your school system’s sex ed curricula.  Some reinforce what you teach; others push sex “as long as you are ‘ready’ and it is consensual” as well as acceptance of non-heterosexual sexual activity.  Remember that curricula can change, so check it out every year. 

  2. While you cannot eliminate what your children see from acquaintances at school/at friends’ homes, get to know your children’s friends and their families.  If they do not share your values or if they provide inadequate supervision, allow your children invite them over to public spaces in your home while you are there, but do not allow your children to go out with them or go to their homes.

  3. Watch out for movie theatres.  Not only are most movies today inappropriate for youth (or adults), but the movies are common places for young teen girls to meet boys (often older boys) and leave with them, returning in time to be picked up by parents.

  4. The risk of sexual activity increases with the greater difference in age between the girl and boy.

  5. Make sure that alcohol (and other drugs) are not available at social events your teen attends – or available to them and their friends at your house.   Warn your children about the inhibition lowering effects of alcohol and other drugs, including as they leave for college.

  6. Let them know that they can always call you if they get into a risky situation. 

 

Red flags:

  1. Depression

  2. Falling grades

  3. Alcohol or drug use or smoking

  4. Friends that use these or are sexually active

  5. Provocative clothing, music, emails and texts

  6. Pornography and sexting

  7. Withdrawal from healthy activities/non-communicativeness/defiance

  8. Excessive public physical affection

  9. Signs of pregnancy or of hiding pregnancy; urinary tract infection

Dr. June is a practicing Pediatrician in Moultrie, GA. Dr. June graduated from Emory University School of Medicine in 1975 and has been in practice for 44 years. She completed a residency at University of Alabama Hospital, is certified in Internal Medicine and is affiliated with Colquitt Regional Medical Center. Dr. June serves as a board member of the Amerian College of Pediatrics as well as Presbyterians Protecting Life.