“Mommy, what is sex?”
Our children’s questions seem to come out of thin air, almost always taking us completely off guard. Regardless of how prepared we think we are, we’re seldom prepared on the spot for all the tough questions that children ask.
Stammering and pausing, stuttering and shocked, non-stop thoughts running through my mind – I’m thinking, “Why are we talking about sex, she is only eight years old—Where did she even hear that word? Wait, did I hear her question right?”
Imagine as a single mother, raised to stay in a child’s place and to speak when only spoken to, I could not begin to understand what I could say to answer my daughter’s question that would be clear and concise for an eight-year-old to comprehend.
So, how did I answer the question? After gathering my thoughts and catching my breath, I said, “Let’s talk about that a little later, mommy needs to go put a load of clothes in the washing machine”, and quietly exited the room with hopes that it would buy me enough time to pray and gather my thoughts about the question my sweet-faced baby asked me.
But, as soon as I returned to the room, the questions continued. They didn’t go away. Unfortunately, I was not given time to ponder and pull together the right answers.
Parents Get Ready, the Hard Questions are Coming!
Let’s be honest, as parents we want to shelter our children from the storms and complications of the world by slamming their bedroom doors and keeping them in a safe bubble.
However, as Christian parents, we must allow the Bible to guide us and break the wall of fear – empower us to face and address our children’s inquisitive questions. Because if we do not open the door for frequent, candid, and truthful communication with our children early on, the world’s doors will certainly burst wide open. Society may force them to listen in, discover, and absorb the information in a way that is not favorable to God and to us as parents.
When a family is rooted in God’s Word, it is easier to steer through the hardest topics because we know that our own opinions are not what matters most. It is God who gives wisdom and clarity for us to deal with every scenario we face in this life.
Using God’s Word as a foundation to talk with our children and have transparent and open conversations equips our children with the resistance and power to fight destructive influences, temptations, and peer pressure.
The Word of God Holds all the Answers
Here are five ways we can equip, educate, and empower our children to willingly and openly talk to us as parents about very uncomfortable issues:
1. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. (James 1:19)
Be eager to listen and ask open-ended questions. Listen to your kid’s opinions, and resist the urge to fuss, point the finger, or be judgmental. Many times, our children are not seeking advice or judgment, but instead, they are asking for answers, support, and a listening ear.
2. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. (John 14:6)
Remain calm, consistent in truth, and welcoming regardless of the subject. It is so, so easy for parents to get upset and overreact when our children say or do something that is disturbing or questionable. In these instances, it is important for us to be open, honest, respectful, loving, and approachable.
3. Love is patient, love is kind. (1 Corinthians 13:4)
Just as God does with us, parents must apply love and compassion when talking with our children. Sure, words are often easier than doing, right? It is not until we are faced with something that interrupts our peace that we must make the decision. How can we handle the issue the way God would have us to and avoid being judgmental at the same time? We must always avoid making our kids feel ashamed about what they have shared with us. Like God, we must love without condition and be forgiving.
4. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
We are all imperfect. Therefore, it is fair to say that no one has all the right answers. After all, we’re all human. It is okay to not always know the answers or how to respond. Truthfully, there will likely be more times than not that we may have to “get back with” our children’s questions, and that is okay. Why? Because sometimes, they just want to be heard with love and compassion, anyway.
5. Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)
Always use God’s Word as a foundation to share your views. Remember when you were a child? Think about a time you shared or asked your parents a hard question about life and they responded in a way that made you feel ashamed, angry, or embarrassed. How receptive were you to their response? Did you want to share your thoughts on the subject with them again? No, right?
As Christian parents, it can be helpful for us to share what we think, but it is even more helpful to share what God says is true. Because God’s words are so strong and He says they will not return empty, there is no need to fuss or pound it into their minds. Instead, it’s imperative that we are gracious and allow God’s words the space to guide us and our children.
So, what’s the play call?
Remember that no matter how the seasons, days, months, and years change, our God will always remain the same. God will give us the strength and tools to answer any questions that our children might have.
So, let’s be mindful of God’s words as we raise our children to be God-fearing vessels of the world.