Our world is hyper-sexualised. From advertising, to music, to fashion and the media, our teenagers are flooded with sexually-charged content. So how can we raise teenagers in a world like this? Thankfully, biblical counsellor Eliza Huie has written a brief, biblical, and encouraging book to help you navigate this difficult subject with your teenager.
Having framed the issue and encouraged the reader to meditate on Psalm 103, Eliza then highlights 7 tips—7 “don’ts” (which also integrate “do’s”) that aim to equip and encourage parents. Briefly, they are:
- Don’t overreact: Parents can easily overreact to the sexual sin of their teenagers. Yet, she says, this often “inhibits continual communication” and can cause your teen to “see you as someone to hide from when they fall.”
- Don’t preach or lecture: talking less and listening more often enables a parent to gain a greater voice into the heart of their teen.
- Don’t disconnect: stay connected to your teens and to their relationships; be aware of who their friends are, what they watch and listen to, and what they see and hear.
- Don’t think, “not my kid”: every teenager, regardless of the (Christian) environment they live in, will be exposed to temptation and is vulnerable to sin. Sexual sin is something we are all susceptible to.
- Don’t avoid discussing the changes they are experiencing: teenagers are experiencing massive bodily changes. Being aware of what these bodily changes are helps you—the parent—better understand your teenager and walk with them through these changes.
- Don’t underestimate the role you play in your teen’s life: one of the most surprising lines parents may read is this: “Teens want to learn about sex from their parents.” I wonder how many parents of teenagers know that, and act on that? As a parent, you help your teenager make sense of their world, and they need your voice. Talk to them.
- Don’t send teens the wrong message about sex: God created sex as a blessing, and we want to help our teenagers understand it as inherently good, yet easily corruptible because of sin.
These 7 tips are not meant to be exhaustive, but they are based on Eliza’s experience and knowledge as a parent, counsellor, and student of the Bible. Not only is this brief book practical and biblical, it is also very encouraging. We all fail in our parenting in many ways, and Eliza is aware of how a parent might feel defeated or discouraged in this area. Parents may also start to become extremely fearful as their children enter the teenage years. However, regardless of your particular concerns, this wise resource addresses those apprehensions by equipping you to think about raising teenagers within a biblical framework.
This is, of course, a resource that will greatly benefit parents (even if your children are not yet teenagers). But it will also be very helpful to pastors and biblical counsellors, who may need to provide counsel and help to parents.
Throughout the pages of this brief book, Eliza paints the reader a beautiful picture of parenting that is filled with grace and rich, two-way, communication. One of the overarching impressions I received was how important it is for parents to be regularly investing in their teenagers—talking to them, listening to them, and seeking to understand their world. Although the world is hyper-sexualised, God can truly help you to lead your teen in this area. I warmly recommend this excellent book.