How to Help Parents Talk to Their Kids About Sex

Talking to kids about sex is awkward. Talking to parents about talking to their kids about sex is even more awkward. Just even googling sex (which sounds really wrong) can make you feel weird (and even get you in trouble at work). So what’s a leader to do? Here are a few ways you can help parents talk to their kids about sex:

Encourage having talks over the talk
When I was growing up “The Talk” was how parents talked to kids about sex. It was definitely awkward. When we think of “The Talk” today it should be less of a one-time event and more of an ongoing dialogue. As parents get questions from their kids about sex they should be open and honest. Encourage parents to stop avoiding and start answering.

Promote age-appropriate sharing
What I love about “The Talks” approach over “The Talk” is that parents don’t have share everything they know in one sitting. They have years to share small, digestible pieces early and often. It moves the conversation from an all-you-can-eat buffet to an intimate and meaningful meal with someone you care about and trust. It’s less about passing on everything and more about sharing what’s appropriate in the moment.

Affirm what they’re doing right
As you talk to parents about how to have these kind of talks start by affirming what you see they’re doing right. Most parents want to do a good job with their kids. Most only hear what they need to be doing better. This creates feelings of inadequacy that lead to frustration and overwhelm. Help parents see what’s going right (even if it’s small) before diving into what needs to change.

Recommend helpful resources
It’s always a good idea to recommend additional resources parents can follow-up with on their own. There are a lot of experts out there who know more than me and you. Let parents know who they are and where they can get their hands on quality materials and books. Here are some of my favorites:

Provide complementary programs and events
Depending on what you’re able to do you may want to think about how your church can use its programs and events to help. Maybe that’s a rites of passage event for 6th graders. Or a purity ceremony for 8th graders getting ready to enter high school. Or even a forum on sex and the internet for parents and teens. Whatever your church can provide will be hugely appreciated by the parents you minister to.

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