Get Prepared for Kids’ Difficult Questions
Okay, I promise, I’m getting close to wrapping up this series on sex and children’s ministry. In this post, I wanted to address two other topics that, again, should be addressed from the home, but the church should probably equip parents to be ready to answer. The two topics I’m thinking about are pornography and gender confusion.
When it comes to pornography, most parents aren’t having the conversation. To be honest, I feel that there are many parents out there who aren’t having the conversation because they’re not 100% convinced that it’s wrong, but just a part of growing up. Because most parents aren’t talking about it, and if they do, it’s in a reactionary way, kids never get a context of what it is, why they shouldn’t seek it out, and how destructive it really is. I remember reading a book many, many years ago called Point Man by Steve Farrar. In the book, he describes how he talked to his son about pornography for the first time. He talked about how it tries to draw us in and how it is initially pleasing, but most importantly, he described the pain and destruction of the industry, how it takes advantage of so many insecure young women, many who had troubled lives as children, and in the end, it only hurts them, too. He talked about the evil intentions of the industry, knowing that what it offers is addictive, and if it can just lure you in when you’re young, you’ll be a slave to them for life. He also talked about how it destroys families and can prevent so many couples from experiencing true happiness. Whenever you do have a conversation about pornography with a child, creating a context is way more powerful than commanding them just not to do it. I am curious, though, how those of you with older children/teens handled a talk about pornography.
I think there should also be frank conversations about gender identity with our children. Gender confusion is a bigger topic than most people realize. When I was a kid, this wasn’t so much of an issue, but today, the culture around our children is pushing confusion. I can’t speak so much about girls (because I’m not one and don’t have one), but I know that most boys struggle with this at one time or another. In the locker room, boys will be curious, and they may face the temptation to look at another boy only because they’re curious. However, in this culture, a boy might begin asking himself the question, “Why am I curious? Does this mean I’m gay?” If they verbalize this to other boys or get caught looking, other boys will tell them that they must be gay and will not let it go…furthering the confusion. I know that boys fight this internal struggle, and so few actually talk about it… so parents really do need to engage around this conversation. Thoughts anyone?