Christian parents are to bring our children up ‘in the training and instruction of the Lord’ (Ephesians 6:4). This will include having healthy, age appropriate, discussions about sex. Jesus’ view of sex and marriage is clear, when questioned about marriage he refers to God’s original intention: the Creator ‘made them male and female’ (Genesis 1:27), and said ‘For this reason, a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and the two will become one flesh’ (Genesis 2:24). Jesus concludes ‘So they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate‘ (Matthew 19:3-6). Jesus and the Bible view sex as a good gift from our wise and loving Creator, to be enjoyed within a committed, life-long relationship between husband and wife.
Receiving a healthy, Biblical understanding of sex from their parents will help children as they are inevitably exposed to a confusing variety of views about sex and marriage. For example, one recent study found that 90 % of boys and 60% of girls between the ages of 8 and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet, in most cases unintentionally (London School of Economics January 2002). Early, age-appropriate discussions with your children keep the door open for ongoing conversations as further issues arise.
Below is a four book series called ‘God’s Design for Sex ‘ which parents can read with their children individually allowing time for questions and discussion. Though some topics may seem difficult to talk about at first, it is much better for children to learn a Biblical view of such issues from their parents before they get a potentially distorted view from elsewhere. Each book gives a suggested age range, but as each child is different parents need to make their own decisions about what is appropriate for your children at which age:
Book 1 (ages 3 to 5) The Story of Me (Stan and Brenna Jones) ( Book Depository – UK )
Book 2 (ages 5 to 8 ) Before I was Born (Carolyn Nystrom) (Book Depository – UK)
Book 3 (ages 8 to 11) What’s the Big Deal? (Stan and Brenna Jones) ( Book Depository – UK )
Book 4 (ages 11 to 14) Facing the Facts (Stan and Brenna Jones) ( Book Depository-UK )
(Links for books are to Amazon – US, with alternative link to the Book Depository – UK which has free delivery worldwide.)
Having raised the issue with helpful books like these, further teaching opportunities arise over time as your children are exposed to various sexual issues. Reading the Bible regularly with your children, will also often lead to discussions. The Bible has many examples of sexual brokenness, its consequences and God’s grace. Passages such as Lot and his daughters (Genesis 19), Dinah (Genesis 34), Judah and Tamar (Genesis 38), Joseph (Genesis 39), David and Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11), Amnon and Tamar (2 Samuel 13) etc. inevitably lead to questions which can be answered (or followed up) at an age appropriate level, reinforcing other conversations you have had. In all of these it’s important to emphasise God’s grace, and his wisdom as the designer of sex and relationships.Online resources: Raising kids in a pornified culture (Zach Nielson, blog post) Sex according to the Bible (Justin Taylor, blog post) How to talk to your kids about sex (Mark and Grace Driscoll, blog post) Speaking frankly about…Well, you know (Michael McKinley, blog post on addressing sexual issues in an intergenerational church setting) How and when to tell your kids about sex: a lifelong approach to shaping your child’s sexual character (Stan and Brenna Jones, book) Sex and the Supremacy of Christ conference talks (Book: free pdf )