Welcome to your Trotter site!Click here for more info.

Walk with them

Engaging our Children on Biblical Sexuality - From the Desk of Pastor Tim

Our culture as a whole is eager to talk to our children about sex. As early as preschool, our kids are taking in messages that teach them about what it means to be a boy or girl.  At this young age, ideas are being formed on the purpose of love and sexuality.  Many are being teased about “liking” someone, long before it should ever be a thought. 

What our children believe about sex will be rooted in what they believe about God and His plan for us to flourish as humans.  This reality makes it crucial that we are intentional about talking with our kids about sex.  We want to be the first and the primary teachers, outlining the beauty of sexuality as designed by God.  We want to show them what is right and normal, before they adopt the distorted, perverted view of sexuality that they see and hear around them. 

For many of us, we are in uncharted waters.  If our parents talked to us about sex, it was probably when we were entering adolescence.  In the past, many parents main concern was that their teens saved sex for marriage.  Discussions on pornography, sexting, gender ideology, or same-sex desire was virtually absent.  Times have certainly changed, and so must our conversations.

It is very intimidating to know how to approach this subject.  It is often easier to just avoid it.  However, our kids not only need us to teach them, they actually want us to help them navigate this difficult subject.  Remember, our kids do not feel awkward unless we make it awkward.  They are curious and are trying to learn about the subject.  Talking about sex can be a normal and a repeated conversation that you have with your kids.  You can do it! 


As parents, we need to be intentional.  Otherwise, fear may keep us from ever talking to our kids. 

We will never be prepared enough or know enough.  I remember the first sexual conversation I had with my oldest son, who was 8 years old at the time.  We were driving one evening and noticed several deer in a field, one of which was a piebald (mostly white) deer.  Nathan asked why it was white when all the other deer are brown.  He opened the door and I stepped right in!

After giving a brief explanation of genetics and how the deer has traits from both a buck and a doe, our conversation quickly transitioned to humans.  Having witnessed animals mate before, he asked a series of questions relating to a Daddy and Mommy having intercourse.  I gave him a simple answer, which was followed by silence from the back seat.  He then said in a disbelieving, disgusted voice, “So you and Mommy HAD to do that four times?”  Thankfully it was getting dark and he could not see me chuckling to myself.  He is good at math – we have four kids! 

We need to take every appropriate opportunity to talk with our kids so they learn that God created them, even their genitals.  Our sexuality is a normal.  He created them to experience sexual pleasure through the intimate, covenant relationship of marriage.  Sexual pleasure is a reminder that we were not made to live life alone.  Our kids need to hear these truths repeatedly as they grow, with age-appropriate language.

The following age specific information is written by Dr. Juli Slattery of Authentic Intimacy.

AGES 3-4

“Preschoolers are all about discovery–including their bodies. Without shame, they touch every part of themselves, returning to areas that are pleasurable and comforting. This is normal exploration and not what you might consider “sexual” touch. In general, ignoring or gentle redirection is the best approach when this occurs.

When you teach your child at this stage, begin with the goodness of how God created our bodies, including the specific parts He gave to boys and girls.  It may seem wrong to use words like “penis” and “vagina” with a four-year-old, but most experts agree that using the appropriate terms is better than using silly names like “woo woo” or “willy.” You can initiate teaching about marriage and where babies come from by using picture books that provide age-appropriate language for.”

AGES 5-8

“While developmental psychologists once termed this the latency stage (meaning kids are not likely to be thinking about sex), modern culture unfortunately introduces sexual themes to school-age children. Your children may become curious as they make observations or become exposed to sexual themes through friends or the media.

You want to be intentional about being the place your child brings all their questions. You do this by continuing to initiate conversations about love, marriage, sexuality and gender. You also need to alert your child about the ways that the good gift of sex can be twisted. This is the age to begin talking to your son or daughter (always with age-appropriate language) about pornography and inappropriate touch.”

AGES 9-14

“If your parents talked to you about sex at all, they probably did so as you entered adolescence. At this stage of development, kids need to be prepared to understand their changing bodies and how to deal with sexual desires and experiences. This should be a season of specific and many conversations teaching your child about the biological, emotional, and spiritual elements of sexuality while also inviting questions and dialogue.

There is a lot to cover during this stage of parenting, so don’t try to fit everything you want to tell your son or daughter into one conversation or even a weekend. While it may be wonderful to have a special time away, don’t make that the only time you talk about sex. If you have a child in the tween and early teen years, consider having a weekly or monthly date. One father discipled his son with “Bible and bagels” every Friday morning. A mom had ongoing conversations with her daughter with a monthly after-school outing.”

AGES 15+ 

“By the time your child is in the mid to late teens, you might feel like your job talking about sex is done. Unfortunately, most conversations between parents and teens about sex involve negotiating boundaries or consequences. This is one of the reasons why it is critical to stay engaged in positive conversations with your teen about sex. Your teen is still learning, absorbing messages from the world, and needing to learn from your wisdom and guidance. Kids this age want to discuss their ideas, not just listen to yours. Instead of teaching, think of coaching and guiding in your conversations. When you set boundaries and limits, explain why. Help your teen develop the critical thinking skills to someday soon make independent decisions. At this stage it can also be appropriate to share with your teen what you have learned through your sexual journey–your regrets and what God has been teaching you.”

Seize the Moments

There is no doubt that everyday life gives us opportunities to discuss sex.  Innocent questions will arise on subjects like where babies come from or why we shouldn’t be naked in front of people.  Older children will notice moral failures in the news or their friends identify as homosexual or non-binary.  These situations force us to talk about sexuality as God intended and the brokenness and sexual perversion we see in the world around us.  These spontaneous discussions foster true discipleship and produce more fruit than a list of rules. 

 As we have these conversations, it is beneficial to ask our children questions before we reply.  Asking and listening shows that we care and that we are safe.  Our children need a safe place, a listening ear, and a place to process.  Don’t be afraid to ask your children questions related to sexuality that are both general and personal.

Have Proper Expectations

Raising healthy kids who are sexually whole is not a pass-fail test.  There is not a one-size-fits-all.  Every child’s experience will vary.  Unfortunately, it is almost guaranteed that our kids will be exposed to pornography.  We may have a child that struggles with gender confusion or same-sex desire.  As hard as it is to imagine, we also may have a child experiment with sexting or even experiment sexually with a peer.  These things happen. 

The thought can be overwhelming!  As parents, we must recognize that the world is a sexual minefield and there is a lot of struggles surrounding this subject.  Don’t run from the struggle.  Good conversations, growth, and victory will be had if we stand our ground and lovingly engage our children, supporting them in the process. 

We are to model God’s love to our children.  They will do things they shouldn’t do, breaking house rules or boundaries that were given.  They will stumble.  When that happens, it is impossible to be prepared and know how to respond to every situation.  However, our goal must be to extend grace and communicate God’s love.  

Sometimes it is in sexual failure that we or our children learn the extent of God’s forgiveness.  Be open with your older teens about your failures and how you have personally experienced God’s forgiveness in your life.  Be vulnerable, which will in turn develop deeper relationship with your child. 

The many conversations about sex are not “just a conversation about sex.”  They are teaching moments that allow you to impart God’s design of love, intimacy, marriage, and truth.  We are teaching our children about the goodness of God.

In the sidebar are several resources for you to consider using to help you effectively engage your children on this subject.  I have used some of these, but not all.  May God bless our efforts to raise a generation of sexually healthy disciples!