There's a big stumbling block I hear often when parents talk about approaching the subject of sex with their children. Talking to kids about sex when you didn't wait can be scary, hurtful, and humbling.
It's hard for parents to get over this hurdle and move forward with positive biblical sexual behavior conversations. “I didn't wait, how can I tell them to,” is a question lingering in the back of many parents' minds.
This roadblock stops parents from engaging their children in meaningful conversations that are necessary to equip their children to navigate the highway of sexual behavior.
Why is this such a problem for parents? I've identified four reasons why the past gets in the way:
- You're afraid of being called a hypocrite
- You fear losing the child's respect
- You are ashamed of your past sexual experiences
- You feel guilty because of your sexual experiences
There's a pattern in all of these reasons. They are all based on the lies of the enemy. Fear, shame, and guilt are not from God and they cannot hold us back. We cannot effectively parent from a place of fear. Stop letting your past parent your children.
You are Not A Hypocrite
Years ago, I knew a woman who frequently said she had no place telling her children they could not smoke dope or have sex because she was guilty of the same when she was a teen.
You are not a hypocrite because of past mistakes. You're a hypocrite if you're still willfully making those mistakes and telling you children not to.
Here's the definition of “hypocrite” as per Dictionary.com:
a person who pretends to have virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., that he or she does not actually possess, especially a person whose actions belie stated beliefs.
This friend of the past, she was a hypocrite. Not because she did do those things but because she was still smoking dope and having premarital sex.
You're not a hypocrite when you admit your mistakes, learn from them and want to guide your children in a different direction. It is when you excuse your behavior but condemns theirs that see you as a hypocrite.
Losing Your Child's Respect
It is never more clear that your actions have lasting consequences than when you have to admit to your children that you have a past.
My friend's daughter would not talk to her for a few days after she found out Mom and Dad had not waited for marriage. Her daughter wasn't being a brat, she was hurt and sad. The parents she thought were perfect were suddenly not perfect. This leads to some healthy discussions over time about choices and sexual behavior.
In a healthy home, children adore their parents and the thought of them sinning in such a “big way” can be hard for a child to process.
The decision to reveal details of your past to your children is one only you can make and it might lead to a rocky road for a few days. It is important that you share details only when your children are ready to hear some hard truth.
Handled well, your children will not lose respect for you but will gain a deeper understanding of consequence, redemption, and mercy.
You Are Ashamed
Shame, like a heavy wet blanket, weighs you down. The painful feeling of failing will cloud your parenting perspective and lead you to make decisions based on protecting your emotions because if exposed, the shame will compound and turn to humiliation.
If you're refusing to talk to your children about biblical sexual behavior because of shame you are being played by the enemy. As a child of God, you are free from shame, guilt, and condemnation. God knew what you were doing, he knows now the things that haunting memories that make you hide inside.
Your past does not disqualify you from parenting your child well.
Look at the promise God gave in Isaiah:
Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.
If you are holding onto shame from your past sexual experiences you will parent from a place of woundedness that clouds your perspective.
Be it willfully sexual misconduct or the deviant act of others, there is no shame in the shadow of the Lord. If you are struggling with shame you need to seek healing and restoration from your past. I walked this journey and I share my story of restoration here.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed.
You Are Living with Guilt Because of Your Past
Guilt and shame are good friends. They always seem to travel together and when one shows up the other is quick to hitch a ride. But guilt and shame are two distinct enemies.
If shame is a wet blanket, guilt is an iron shackle.
Guilt takes you to that place of believing that you were the cause.
Think of it this way. If you are in a minor traffic accident and found guilty of causing it, you are then liable and must pay the consequence. A fine, an insurance rate hike. In our physical world if you are guilty than the punishment fits the crime and the consequences are justified.
But in the supernatural, Jesus Christ has paid our fines, taken our punishment, and suffered the consequence of your sin.
Your messy past is no longer a chain to keep you weighed down. Don't let guilt stop you from having healthy conversations with your kids about sex.
Sexual Abuse Side-Note
If you were the victim of sexual abuse the guilt and shame, although complete lies, can still feel very real. Many victims blame themselves and the reason that they could have changed the situation or that their actions caused the abuse.
Sexual abuse is never the victim's fault.
Talking To Kids About Sex
You are not alone in your journey of parenting. There are several resources out there aimed to help you have meaningful, biblical conversations with your children.
One of my favorites is a series by Luke & Trisha Gilkerson. The Talk, Changes, and Relationships are incredible resources to help you in your journey of talking to kids about sex. You need not be a homeschooling family to use these resources.
Has your past hindered your sex conversations with your kids?