0:00:02 – Speaker 1
Welcome to the nextTalk podcast, where we share real stories and practical advice for parenting the digital world.
0:00:09 – Speaker 2
We’re your hosts, Mandy and Kim. Mandy is an award-winning author and the founder of nextTalk, and I’m the director of nextTalk, a nonprofit organization created to strengthen families through open communication. You can check out all of our resources at NextTalkorg.
0:00:24 – Speaker 1
We’re your wives, moms and friends, tackling culturally relevant topics from a Christian perspective. We’re sharing what we’ve learned and where we’ve failed. We’re so glad you’re here for this conversation.
0:00:37 – Speaker 2
So last week we talked about kids and crushes and how that conversation really is like a springboard for all these other really good conversations that are super important as we’re talking to our kids about relationships and all the things that come with it. I mean it really does dig into all these other topics. It’s pretty cool to think about that. Something so small like crushes can be a springboard for that.
0:01:02 – Speaker 1
Yeah, absolutely Don’t miss the conversations when they’re little, you know, because it can lead to so many other things. You know I go back to when mine were little and you know you pray that they’re going to wait for marriage to have sex. You know, from a faith standpoint, that’s important to me, right, it’s biblical But also, like the science, matches up there too. As far as you know, you have a hundred percent chance of not getting an STD if you wait, right?
0:01:34 – Speaker 2
The only foolproof method.
0:01:36 – Speaker 1
Yeah, like unwanted pregnancies. There’s lots of things scientifically that you don’t have to worry about if you also wait for marriage, And so for me it’s yes, that faith component, but it’s a mental health component as well for our teenagers not having to worry about the complications of having premarital sex.
0:01:56 – Speaker 2
Yeah, and when they’re little and you’re starting that conversation about relationships and even though you’re at crushes, you’re really preparing them for marriage and all the conversations in between and dating and sex and STDs and everything. It’s amazing how that all can connect when you start young.
0:02:14 – Speaker 1
Yeah, and it’s like hooking up and I say that with like air quotations. As I say it, you know you’re not going to use those phrases until they’re older, obviously Right, but when they’re little, you really do need to be thinking about ahead, about this whole conversation about waiting versus hooking up, and one of the things that I think is just foundational that you need to be talking about with your kids is the heart behind the guideline. So why would God ask us to wait to have sex? Why is that even in the Bible? And I think, when you tie in just trusting God but also the science component, it’s a really good discussion with our kids, and one of the things that will come up over time is kids questioning the why They love to ask that question, right?
One of the things that you want to be thinking about early on throughout this conversation in your kid’s life is them understanding God’s character, just like you want them to understand your heart and character behind why you’re putting in roles in place. Like I would say to my kids, as an example is do you remember when you asked for Snapchat in second grade And I said no, because your little heart and mind was not ready for what was on that platform, like and I knew that I wasn’t saying no to make your life miserable, like you have Snapchat now. Right, i can say that to my teenagers, but, but I was saying no because you weren’t ready for it. And sometime God tells us to wait, sometime God tells us no because he’s protecting us. He’s a parent protecting us.
0:03:52 – Speaker 2
Yeah. So maybe your kids aren’t asking about social media yet and you need another way to explain to them why it’s so important to have these rules and to have these conversations about relationships and different things. It’s like our life is a book And if you’re the author of the book, you have to kind of know what’s going to happen at the end as you’re writing it. But for those of us reading the book, or characters in the book, it’s like we’re turning the pages. We go because we don’t know what’s coming up. But the author does, and God is the author of our, of our life And he knows what’s happening at the end and he knows all of the wonderful things that he has planned for us.
But we don’t. So we have to trust the author And so everything that is happening in between the pages you know. As characters in the book, we don’t know what’s on the next page. You know we’re turning the page and wondering. And if we trust ourselves and we just do what we think is right, a lot of times we make decisions that can hurt us in the long run And if we trust him and obey him, then the story gets to be the best version.
0:04:55 – Speaker 1
I love that, Kim. Trust the author. Trust the author, right, He has your best interest at heart And I think as little kids, as little kids you know, our kids, need to trust us to lead and guide them in the right direction as well. Just like, just like God, just like the author, like we see a head in their life because we’ve we’ve lived through some life. We know things.
0:05:14 – Speaker 2
0:05:15 – Speaker 1
And so and we’re not God, we don’t know everything, right, but I love that little illustration. I think that’s good. These are all great things, great practical examples that you can have when your kids are little, just to set up the conversation about sex And you understand, like we’re not asking you to say too much too fast. That’s not what we want.
0:05:34 – Speaker 2
We don’t want to over expose.
0:05:35 – Speaker 1
No overexposing. Also, anytime you get an opportunity with a kid to say, well, god says marriage between a man and a woman, you know biblically, you know you can’t do that, you need to say that Again. Those are like just planting foundational seeds, like Adam and Eve in the garden, you know, just like use those real, simple, teachable moments to just set up this conversation of marriage between a man and a woman and sex should be safe for marriage. Any kind of foundational little seed that you can plant that doesn’t overexpose good stuff.
0:06:08 – Speaker 2
So all these things, all these foundational conversations you know, marriage between a man and woman, all these different examples we’re giving you you need to start these conversations before they’re in a relationship Like this is. this is like the pre conversation to the actual relationship, so that they already have this going on in their mind and you’re already having these conversations before they’re experiencing everything that comes with that, like the hormones and the feelings and the emotions. I mean, that’s a whole another set of conversations and we need to prepare them ahead of time.
0:06:39 – Speaker 1
Well, that’s what we’re, why we’re calling this 2.0. Because, listen, there’s the sex conversation before the hormones are involved, which is everything that we’re talking about. We talked about it a lot. We have another show talking to kids about sex. You can get there’s more practical examples on there But then there’s this conversation of I mean infatuated with this person, and now we have to talk about sex. That’s a whole other level of talking about sex, as you can imagine, right, once your kids are older, like the sex talk should get more evolved, it should get more detailed, it should get more like Oh, we’re going there. If it’s not, then open communication isn’t evolving like it needs to evolve. One of the things that will happen with your older teens is they will feel like everyone else is doing it, and I remember, as a teen, feeling this exact same way.
0:07:35 – Speaker 2
0:07:35 – Speaker 1
And thinking wide way. I mean, like everybody who’s somebody is doing this kind of thing And that peer pressure still exists today. So you have to provide data that says that feeling is from Satan And it’s not true. And just because you’re feeling it doesn’t mean it’s fact. Now this is an important conversation with a lot of different things, but the more you can provide data the back of what you’re saying, the better, and so the more we can line up with what God is asking us to do with that research and data, the more likely they are to listen to us and really really take that in.
0:08:19 – Speaker 2
Well, and I think it’s really good to have these numbers too, because it’s not just you know, their peers in school, like we had, it’s also social media, and everything they’re watching is over sexualized. So it does feel like everybody I know is having sex, and then anytime I look at a screen, there’s all this sexual activity happening, So it just can feel completely overwhelming. And the people who are having sex are louder about it. They really are, and so it’s it feels all consuming, and so when you can come in with real facts, it makes a difference.
0:08:54 – Speaker 1
Absolutely. The CDC just released a new survey and it’s the Youth Risk Behavior Survey that they do. This just came out in the spring of 2023. And the results are kind of amazing. So here’s what it said in this. covers from years 2011 to 2021. So I know that feels like it’s not up to date, but that’s how research works. I tell you all the time, technology moves faster than research. So I know we’re in the year 2023. Now we have data up through 2021. But this is what it shows 30% of high school teens reported being sexually active. You guys, that is the lowest in over 10 years.
0:09:39 – Speaker 2
0:09:40 – Speaker 1
So 70% of high school teens are not having sex. That is good news for our kids who feel like everybody’s doing it and I’m the only one waiting. And what’s it even waiting for? Because I’m never gonna find the person that waited. Also, like that’s what’s in their mind, that’s what was you know? in our minds. I think a lot of us fell prey to that lie from Satan, and so now we can combat that with but honey. That’s not what the data shows.
0:10:09 – Speaker 2
Well, and usually if you’re not having sex, you’re not walking around saying that. You know, we gave the other end of that. If you are having sex, you may be bragging about it or talking about it or sharing stories, and those that are not tend to be more quiet about their sexual activity. So the data even lines up with that. It makes sense that we don’t know that most people are not having sex.
0:10:31 – Speaker 1
Well, and we’ll link that research study in the show description so that if you wanna check it out for yourself, you can. There’s also all sorts of different risk behaviors there alcohol, drugs, that sort of thing. It’s a fascinating study. I’ve spent hours on it already and I’m excited to go back and look at it even more. So that’s great research and pull that into your conversation with your kids.
The other thing, too is, as your kids get older, literally play this out with them in their mind, And what I mean by that is your kid is gonna see relationships come and go with their friends. They’re gonna be like oh, they were together six months now they’re not da-da-da-da-da, And oftentimes something sexual happens within that relationship and your kid is telling you because you’re a nextTalk family and you’ve put these principles into practice since they were little We’re doing all the foundational stuff that we talked about on the crush show and earlier in the show. You know you’re doing all of that And so it’s just standard operating procedure for them now to tell you all these things, And so you’re seeing all this happen. And those are really important moments where you can say but this person, like your friend, will never get that back.
That was a six months relationship and they thought they were in love and now it’s gone. And do you see how, giving physical stuff away to someone, you’re never gonna have that first again Like the first. And I’m not talking about just sex, I’m talking about the first kiss, I’m talking about the first I love you. There’s lots of things that we give away emotionally and physically that should be saved and be very important and they not just be words or they not just be actions Like they’re important things to protect ourselves from just giving ourselves away freely. We’re worth more than that, Like God made us worth more than that, And I think having those conversations and playing that out with your kids as they watch this happen all around them, I think is really important.
0:12:32 – Speaker 2
Well, and this is one of those areas if you are having transparent conversations where it’s okay for them to know that maybe you’ve experienced this yourself, If you’re ready to share that with your kid, if the time is right, it can be very powerful to say this is what that felt like for me. I made this decision, this choice, and I gave this part of me away And then you can actually relate to it. You’re not just talking about someone else like their friends or someone in a show. I mean, this is I felt the feelings, I went through the pain of that and I don’t want that for you. You can have better and you deserve better, And them knowing that you’ve walked down that path sometimes gives them. It really opens their eyes and makes them realize okay, mom really does get it, Like she’s not just talking about something that she heard, she gets it and that’s powerful. I mean, it’s a personal decision when and if you share that about your life story, but I think it’s important to at least consider it.
0:13:32 – Speaker 1
Well, and I would say, coming from personal experience having to walk through this and having to share my own testimony with my older child when the time was right and I prayed for that time I will say lead with the years of regret that you had. Don’t lead with God. Redeem me. I made a mistake and because then it’s almost like well, it’s okay. You know, and we I had years, years even after being married, that I was working through shame and just regret that I had about the stupid decisions that I had made. You know, i wanted her to feel that like it really impacted my life. I couldn’t just get married and be happy because there was a lot that I felt like man building a foundation of marriage on this. If this would have been the first time on the wedding night to explore all these things together. What a great, amazing way to start a marriage.
And I talked to my kids about that, like because we wanna paint a beautiful picture for them. What are they waiting for? Like seriously, what are we looking forward to? What goal is it? just to be like, check I did it, like I waited till my wedding night And so again, play this out in their mind with them talk through it and be like can you imagine going into your wedding night with both of you not knowing what’s gonna happen and you learning and exploring and doing that awkward thing together for the first time and figuring it out and making it beautiful?
Can you imagine the bond between two people that would have that instead of a five minute encounter in a back car or a five minute encounter? We’re worth more than that. We are worth more than that. I think sometimes our marriages start out tough because we don’t have that bond. We don’t have that. We’re bringing in baggage. We’re bringing in thoughts from other encounters We’re bringing in. That is not the way God intended. If you can talk to your kids about that and they see that more clearly, again, you can’t do this with younger kids, but older teens, you’re talking about other things. I mean nothing’s off the table in this conversation. I really do think it’s important to play it out and also get them to see what they’re really waiting for.
0:16:07 – Speaker 2
Every time we talk about this, about being transparent with your own story, I have to say this I feel burdened to say it because it happens so often when I’m talking with moms and dads, They say, well, I don’t want to share that because then they’ll think it’s okay.
They’ll think if I did it, mom and dad did it, then it’s okay for them to do it. It just doesn’t work that way. You being transparent and opening up and sharing your struggles, your bad decisions, the things you’ve done, allows you it’s almost like opening up a portal for them to see you as a human, not just mom and dad who has walked through something hard and what that looked like and how painful it was or how wonderful it was. Whatever the story is, It gives them a new perspective on what it means to be an adult and what it means to struggle through something from the person they trust the most. If you have that relationship and you’re ready to share that, it is not going to give them a green light to make the same mistake. It just doesn’t work that way.
0:17:05 – Speaker 1
Also, there’s all different kinds of analogies out there. I know one time my kid came home from youth group and said there was this analogy We’re talking about sex today at youth group. By the way, kudos to the youth groups who talk about the hard things like yes, yes and yes. They should not just be talking about flipping things at youth group. They need to be talking about real world issues.
0:17:28 – Speaker 2
Dig into it Yeah.
0:17:30 – Speaker 1
If not, get your kids to a different youth group. But anyway, my kid came home and said there was this analogy given at church tonight about a box of chocolates. Anything that you do physically or words, that you speak to someone, you give away each chocolate By your wedding. You finally met the person God has for you. You’re so excited to share your life with them. But do you have any chocolates left? Have you given away all those first to someone else? I thought it struck an impression on my kids and it created good conversation. Anytime those practical things are being spoken, you’ll use them. That’s great conversation diggers, especially if your kids is bringing it to you and say, hey, i heard this, we can think about it, even if you think it’s cheesy. Don’t say that, just dig into the conversation. They don’t need to know if you think it’s cheesy or not, because there’s all sorts of different analogies out there that people use.
0:18:32 – Speaker 2
Well, if they’re willing to talk about it, then talk about it. I mean, i heard an analogy that I really loved and was helpful for me in the conversation with my kid, and a friend of mine from the past had shared this with me. She said, when you’re looking at a fire in a fireplace, like, describe what that looks like. And she was saying this to her kid and her kid was like it’s beautiful and it’s warm and it’s something I’m drawn to and something that I want And it’s great, i like fire. And she’s like, yeah, in a fireplace it’s a wonderful, beautiful thing.
So but imagine now that fire outside of a fireplace all over our house burning you, burning our things that we treasure, then how does it make you feel? And the kid was like scared, hurt, dangerous. She said that’s what sex is. If sex within a marriage, like fire within a fireplace, is safe and beautiful and something that we are drawn to, but outside of marriage, like fire outside of a fireplace, it is dangerous And it is not what God intended And it scars you for life. And that was such a great analogy for me because it’s something we can all really relate to. you know the fireplace setting And it just really made the conversation come alive when I use that in one of our talktimes.
0:19:54 – Speaker 1
Well, and I love the way you describe it, because you can just tell you have littles by describing a fire to me. You’re not going to do that with older kids. You’re going to be like, hey, a fire in a fireplace, it’s great in the fireplace, but if it gets out and it burns this house down, it’s not great. Sex is like that too Sex inside of a marriage. So it’s so funny how you describe it when you’re talking to your littles, versus how you would describe it with a teenager.
Like if I ever asked my teenager, how does a fire make you feel They would be like oh, you’re nextTalking me Stop talking mom. So that’s the difference here with young kids versus older kids, on how these conversations kind of go.
0:20:36 – Speaker 2
And boys versus girls too.
0:20:38 – Speaker 1
Well, and personalities Personality Sometimes they want to feel you got to draw them. And my kids are very like to the point. I mean, they’re older now and we’ve talked about all the things And so it’s like, just get to the point, mom, what are you trying to convey here? So I love the fireplace analogy, though no matter how you’re presenting it, it’s a great analogy. Also with older teens.
You know, we really need to talk about the different consequences of sex, and what I mean by that is the physical. So the STDs, unwanted pregnancies, and you also need to add in the unwanted pregnancies and then the abortion conversation, because that’s that’s a conversation, the physical part. We did a show with an RN about. It was a great show on like STDs that you can go listen to. It’s very specific about that conversation if you need help with that.
But there’s the physical part, of course, all of that stuff which I call, i guess, surface level stuff. It’s physical, but there’s so many other emotional consequences. To me, that is the, the bigger, the emotional, psychological, the mental health component, and it’s almost like if you are living in this hooking up culture, you’re you’re devaluing yourself, you’re you’re giving yourself away freely all the time, your expectations of when you’re going to let somebody have that part of you. There’s no guide. I mean, you’re just in a hookup mode, right, and so you have to kind of look at that and say, man, like what kind of value are you putting on yourself? Like, what kind of where’s your mental health? that with that? And then if you finally wake up from that fog and realize, oh my gosh, i’ve done all this, then there’s a whole other set of emotional consequences that you have to live with, dealing and processing the shame, the guilt, the choices and all of that. I mean, it’s just a lot of work that I think that, with sex, we don’t really think about until you’ve done it and you’ve lived it, and what we want to convey is those kinds of consequences to our kids. I think you have to be careful here, though, because we do want to always think to ourselves if our kid does choose this right, we always want to be the person that they can confide in to process it with, and so and as Christian parents, i think that’s very difficult to to be like.
This is what the Bible says, this is what I want for you, because of the physical aspect, because of the emotional aspect, because of the spiritual aspect, all of these different aspects. I pray this for you. But if you choose something else like, i still love you and I want you to be safe and I wanna process that with you and I’m here for you And to me that’s not giving permission. If you have, for years and years and years, instill these values in your kids and talked about the foundational of wide awake and all of it. I mean, once they get to a point they get to make their own decisions. It’s their life to, and sometimes kids have to make mistakes before they appreciate the grace of Jesus. I was one of those kids And that’s sad, but sometimes you have to live a little life.
And so what I want to encourage Christian parents of older kids is no matter what your kid chooses here in this sex world, this hooking up sex conversation, you gotta love them. You gotta love them unconditionally and make sure they’re safe. I mean, if they’re choosing to have sex and you’ve tried to get them to wait, you need to make sure they have protection. You need to get them to an trusted OB that you have. Do everything that you can keep them safe physically, as much as you can get them to a counselor, say I know you’re sexually active, this. I just want you to keep and stay mentally healthy, like walk alongside of them in that, don’t kick them out, don’t shun them, don’t hate them.
We live in a broken world and things aren’t gonna turn out the way we want them to turn out, but the hope in this is one day Jesus is coming back and he’s gonna fix it all for us. But I really do wanna encourage parents of older kids, because I do think a lot of times we try to instill, waiting until marriage, avoiding the hookup culture, and then all of a sudden our kids wanna do something else And then we just stop parenting because we’re mad. And I don’t want you to do that. I do not want you to do that. They still need your guidance, they still need your love. They’re gonna need help to process all of this, especially if that relationship ends and then they’ve realized, uh-oh, mom and dad may have been right. And then it’s a whole other level of shame and embarrassment and that you have to walk through as a family.
0:25:30 – Speaker 2
Well, and there’s just, there’s so many layers there, and I think, as you said, sometimes as Christian parents, when things don’t go the way we imagined for our kid, we just don’t know what to do and we feel this sense of shame and hopelessness. And now what? And it’s the same thing we say about parenting young kids and talking to them about all of these things If you don’t parent your kid, someone else will, the world will, and so if you stop pouring into them and walking beside them and loving them through whatever decision they make, even if you hate it, the world will embrace them and pour different values into them, and it will be. You will be out of the picture. You don’t get to speak into it anymore, and that’s a time when they need you the most. So it’s hard Like we’re not saying that any of this is easy, but it’s so critical to walk beside your kid, no matter what their decision is. Do not abandon or shame them.
0:26:29 – Speaker 1
The hope in this is God is a God of redemption right, and so we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, like that’s what scripture says. Your kids are gonna fall short. You fell short. You still do fall short, and so just remember that, as you’re parenting this, we wanna do everything we can to instill that they will wait. You know, i do believe their life will be easier if they wait until marriage just because they avoid all of these consequences that we talked about, but if they choose a different path, we’re still gonna love them and we’re still gonna make sure they’re safe. Thank you so much for joining us, listening and sharing our podcast. Because of you, this show is in the top 5% of over 2.9 million podcasts.
0:27:17 – Speaker 2
We have lots of resources for you, from counseling to live events. Or if you have a show idea or a question for our team, visit our website at nexttalkorg. We’d love to hear from you At nextTalk.
0:27:29 – Speaker 1
we’re more than cyber parenting. It’s conversations to connect. This podcast is not intended to replace the advice of a trained healthcare or legal professional, or to diagnose, treat or otherwise render expert advice regarding any type of medical, psychological or legal problem. Listeners are advised to consult a qualified expert for treatment.
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