Healthy sexuality doesn’t emerge out of silence. Sometimes parents might hope that if their kids are not exposed to sexuality/gender/attraction for "long enough," they will be okay. And, while it is necessary for parents to vigilantly protect their children from unhealthy exposure, that is not enough. Why?
1) Kids are not neutral. They are not blank-slates. Just like the rest of us, they are affected and infected by sin. No one is righteous; not even one (Rom 3).
2) Wisdom is taught. The Bible includes diverse wisdom literature. Song of Songs focuses on relationships and sexuality and partners perfectly with Proverbs. These books can help parents see the wisdom of teaching healthy, godly sexuality to their kids.
3) Children will listen to someone about sexuality. There are many loud voices in media, schools, friends, sports teams, and more. Which voice do you want them to hear first? Which message do you want to be most consistently in their ears? Which message do you want them to measure other messages against? The Word of God.
4) We want them to be put on a path that doesn’t just avoid the bad, but aims toward the good. We want to prepare our kids to grow into adults able to sing their own godly Song in marriage.
This might seem daunting, so we have compiled a list of resources that can help you navigate this conversation. Before jumping in, I want to acknowledge this conversation can be awkward. And genuine, thoughtful believers disagree in some areas regarding how to implement it. So please don’t see this list as a law-book or prescription paper. (Also, note that I have not read all of these books, watched all of these video series, or listened to all of these podcasts. I am suggesting them as possible resources and I think they will be helpful, but I'm not saying that they are 100% pure gold.) I suggest you look at the list below as something like a Christmas catalog. The catalog is filled with good stuff, but it might not all be the right stuff for you and your family right now. So look for what you need, evaluate it against Scripture, learn from it, and put it into practice for the good of your kids.
Starter Kit for Parents (a big book, small book, podcast, and article)
BIG BOOK: Mama Bear Apologetics: Guide to Sexuality by Ferrer
"As a parent, it’s up to you to help your children understand God’s truth about these integral concepts in the face of the candy-coated lies that saturate today’s world.In the footsteps of the bestselling Mama Bear Apologetics comes this invaluable guide to training your kids to know and respect God’s design in a world that has rejected it…This book will give you the wisdom to confidently raise your children to understand sex and gender through a biblical lens.”
LITTLE BOOK: A Parent’s Guide to Teaching Your Children about Gender by Kennedy
“Parenting is never easy. And in today’s culture, it is as difficult as ever. In this short book, Jared Kennedy presents a guide to help Christian parents navigate one of the most complex issues of our time: gender. With clarity and compassion, wisdom and grace, Jared offers basic explanations and step-by-step guidance for parents seeking to understand and address various issues related to gender and sexuality. The book reveals the heart of a shepherd and carefully applies the hope of the gospel to the many challenges related to these issues arising among children and young people today.”
PODCAST: How to Talk to Your Children about Sex (The Gospel Coalition)
“In this episode of The Gospel Coalition podcast, Jen Wilkin, Sam Allberry, and Jason Cook consider how parents should instruct their kids about sexuality in the 21st century.”
ARTICLE: Kids, Let’s Talk about Sex (The Gospel Coalition)
“Sex is one the most important topics of conversation parents get to have with their children. But it can sure feel intimidating. How do we bring it up? When do we bring it up? How much do they already know? How in-depth do we get? Have we waited too long? From two couples who have kids of various ages, here are four tips to steer these conversations from cringeworthy to more comfortable.”
Other Topic-Specific Resources
Protecting Your Teenagers Online (Growing Fathers)
Talking with Your Kids about Sex and Puberty (Focus on the Family)
What are the Effects of Sex Education and Gender Ideology on Young Children? (Focus on the Family)
Are Young Kids Influenced to Identify as Transgender? (Focus on the Family)
RightNowMedia Video Series
“When it comes to the matter of teaching kids about sex, Christian parents are often confused about what to say and when to say it. The Talk is a series of 7 studies, all anchored in the Scriptures, that helps parents to talk meaningfully with children about sexuality. The Talk was written for parents to read with children ages 6 to 10 years old. The study supplies elementary-age children with foundational truths about sexuality at a level they can understand.”
God Made All of Me: A Book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies by Holcomb and Holcomb
“With the help of God Made All of Me, parents and caregivers can begin conversations with boys and girls about their bodies, helping kids understand the difference between the appropriate and inappropriate touch of others. This life-changing resource shows readers how to establish the foundation for a healthy bond with their children to meet increasing challenges of sexuality, which they will inevitably confront in childhood and adolescence. By teaching their children how to establish body and health boundaries, parents are imparting invaluable skills for their kids to express thoughts and feelings.”
Good Pictures, Bad Pictures by Jensen and Fox
“Young children deserve to be armed early against internet dangers. Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr. makes it easy for parents to protect their young kids ages 3 to 6. Using gentle, age-appropriate messages, children will learn to Turn, Run & Tell when they are accidentally exposed to inappropriate content.”
Changes: 7 Biblical Lessons to Make Sense of Puberty by Gilkerson
“Make no mistake, puberty can feel like an awkward time in a child’s life. But with the right perspective, children can be taught to anticipate puberty as a blessing. Changes is a series of 7 studies, anchored in the Scriptures, that helps parents talk meaningfully with children about the mental, emotional, and physical changes puberty brings. Changes was written for parents to read with children ages 8 to 12 years old. The study supplies children with a Bible-based understanding of puberty in a language they can understand.”
Talking with Teens about Sexuality by Robinson and Scott
“Talking with Teens about Sexuality will help you understand your teen's world and give you effective strategies in the midst of cultural pressures. Drs. Robinson and Scott provide scientifically reliable and biblically based information about gender fluidity, types of intimacy, online dangers, setting boundaries, and much more. Along the way, the book provides useful conversation starters and insightful guidance.”
“Relationships was written for parents to read with their kids ages 11-14 years old. This study will help prepare your teen for sexual temptations that they are sure to encounter and give them a greater understanding of biblical sexuality.As Christian parents, it is of utmost importance that we're guiding our teems through the sometimes overwhelming sexual desires and temptations they experience. Relationships is a series of 11 Bible studies that provide a foundational understanding of how to navigate sexual temptations and desires in a godly manner.”
“If you've struggled personally against the powerful draw of pornography, or if you've ever tried to help someone fighting this battle, you know how hard it is to break its bonds. But there is good news: no matter how intense or long-standing the struggle, Jesus Christ has the power to free people from the enslaving power of pornography. The Gospel has a power that works practically in the lives of those who seek to imitate Christ—and you can learn how to live into that power.”
A Final Note
You don’t need a perfect track-record to engage in these conversations. God’s design is right even when parents have strayed from it. Every person who has hit puberty is a sexual sinner in some way or ways. But as John Newton said, “I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Savior.” Remember that this ongoing conversation is ultimately about the plan and work of our good, right, saving God.