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Five Ways to Address Sex and Sexuality with Your Kids

By Natalie Burchit


Teens do not want to hear or talk about sex with their parents. It’s embarrassing and, let’s be real, gross. I say this in jest as my young adult children roll their eyes and say, “Of course you’re writing an article about sex.” But here’s the reality: they will talk about it with someone, and it needs to be you.   

  1. Talk Early and Talk Often

Start talking about sex and sexuality when your kids are young. The world will have its pull, but if you have laid a clear foundation, its influence will be a lot less enticing. When kids are young, use the real names for body parts and talk about how God designed boys and girls to be different. We liked to talk about the “swimsuit zones.” If it’s covered by a swimsuit, it’s meant to be private for only mom, dad, doctor, etc. to see and care for. Take away the taboo and celebrate the amazing bodies God blessed us with. This takes away the stigma and lays a foundation for a healthy body image and good conversation around sexuality.   

  1. Be Honest

Wow, this is a tough one. When your kids start asking questions and it feels all too soon, be honest. When your teens want to know about the mistakes you’ve made and the consequences, be honest. They will respect you and trust you. The level of honesty is measured by their age and maturity. If your four-year-old asks, “Where did I come from?” they may not be asking about the birds and the bees. They might just want to know if they were born in Bentonville, Arkansas, or somewhere else because their new friend at school is from Toledo, Ohio. Teens may ask some interesting questions that make us just as uncomfortable as they are, but if you’ve shown them that you will always answer honestly and without mocking them, they will continue to ask you.  

  1. Be Proactive

The internet, social media, and gaming are all areas where kids have an open door to see things that we wouldn’t want them to see. Should we throw it all out and isolate our children from the culture? Probably not, but we can be proactive in how we monitor their exposure. There are great parental control programs that help filter out inappropriate content. Limit screen time and keep all screen time “public” (such as the living room or kitchen). No TVs, phones, tablets, or gaming systems in the bedroom or a room with a closed door. It’s okay to buck the trend and insist that your children don’t need screens. Check out the great resources at ScreenStrong.org. 

When my oldest was a preteen, he loved researching different countries to explore their cultures, food, people, etc. Some of the filters we had in place limited what he could find out, and in frustration, he wondered why he couldn’t have free reign of the internet. I told him, “The restrictions are there to protect you, and in time, you can have more freedoms. I would never take you (my ten-year-old) to Beijing, China, drop you off in the middle of the city and wish you good luck. You don’t have the ability to navigate the city and stay safe. The internet is “Beijing,” and you’re not ready to go by yourself.”   

This explanation satisfied him for a few more years and painted a picture for him that helped him understand why we had restrictions.   

  1. Listen

Listen more than you talk. Yes, I started with “talk early and often,” but ultimately this is an opportunity to listen to your kids. Listen to their frustrations that “all their friends” have tablets or computers in their rooms and acknowledge that it must be difficult to be the odd man out. Our daughter had an encounter with a stranger on the internet that scared us all. We took her phone away for several weeks, and during that time her grades improved, her self-esteem improved, and she thanked us. She even voluntarily extended her time without her phone. Without the distraction and weight of this six-ounce object, she could see what a waste of time it had been. And instead of us all being head down in our devices, she talked, and we listened. I wish I could say we didn’t too quickly return to our old ways, but that lesson stuck with us.   

Listen to their questions and remember that there’s a lot of misinformation passed among teens and preteens. Ask them open-ended questions to get them talking, such as “How did you feel when your friend wanted to look at something we have said not to look at?” “Tell me some ways you can say no to your friends if they want you to do something we’ve said no to?” If (more likely when) your kids are caught in something that you’ve restricted, take time to listen to how they got there and how it made them feel. If you respond with anger or disgust, it will shut down the opportunity to engage them and build trust around the topic of sex.   

  1. Pray

This is clearly the most important. Pray. Pray for wisdom. James 1:5 (NASB) says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously.” Pray for your children to have wisdom about sex and sexuality. Pray for your patience and love towards your children and frankly yourself through this process. Pray for forgiveness when you mess up because you will. And ask your kids to forgive you as well. This is a tough topic to navigate, but we as believers have an opportunity to handle it better than we have.

About the Author


Natalie Burchit

Natalie Burchit is a wife to one incredible husband, Bill, and mom to three amazing kids. She loves writing and speaking, encouraging God’s people to fully embrace the masterpiece He is creating in them. The Burchits have served in full-time ministry for over twenty years and have a heart for God’s church.   

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