Have you ever wondered how to navigate the awkward territory of communicating with your kids on the topic of romance, relationships, and sexuality? How should you talk about it? When should you talk about it? Because this can be such a foggy area, we as parents often remain silent on the topic for far too long. But silence and avoidance is not the answer. As Leslie and I have often said, it’s so important that we reach our children with the right perspective before the culture reaches them with the wrong one. In this week’s blog video I share practical solutions to help parents know when and how to talk to their kids about these critical issues, and what it takes to become a key player in your child’s future love story.
When you engage in a child’s development by communicating about their sexuality — as I always call it the “man talk” with my boys — you actually gain a position in their life for communicating about this area moving forward. For example, take their future love life; their developing romance unto marriage. I, as a parent, have a deep desire to participate in my children’s development in these areas. But one of the ways to do that is to actually engage in the foundation-laying of their understanding of their sexuality in the first place.
And so from the time our kids were young, in our home, we shared our love story with them. They ask to hear it all the time, and we have some hilarious moments. Little Avy made a whole video about our love story with her little Calico Critters, and I think I was a raccoon in her little drama. But, in other words, our kids have engaged in this area of our lives. They know the beauty of it and we want to sponsor that outlook. But along the way, we also want to impart to them understanding and gain confidence in communicating with them. Here is a principle: counsel when a child is young begets counsel when they’re older. The absence of communication when they’re young begets absence of communication when they’re older because there isn’t a trust, there isn’t a normality of going back and forth.
If you’re a parent, I would encourage you to communicate about these things, even if you haven’t talked to your child all the way through and they’re 18. I wouldn’t avoid it no matter what stage you are at, but delaying communication makes it harder. Just like when you sit down in a plane, there’s a window of time where it’s normal to say, “Hi, how are you doing? You from Denver?” And there’s also a point in time when that closes and now it’s all awkward to say, “So…”
The same is true with your children. Take those zones of communication openness and utilize them appropriately and proactively. It will actually beget an openness of communication as your kids grow up and progress. Whatever stage you are in, I highly encourage you to begin to bridge that with clear communication. If you’ve been non-communicative, start communicating. It’s oftentimes awkward at first. It’s awkward for me to talk about these things with my kids. But still, do it and break through. Boldly go where no parent goes anymore. Just go through that difficult, challenging fog bank into the territory and say, “Look, I love you and I want to speak to you. I want to build communication and camaraderie. Let’s do this thing.”
If you’d like to take these ideas deeper, join me for an eight-week course on honorable manhood.