Parents, we are living in a digitally connected, sexually saturated world. Being a mom or dad in this day and age can feel more like Pioneer Parenting.
We are the first generation to raise kids in a world that is globally connected, 24/7. And the internet can be tough competition, especially when it comes to talking to our kids about sex. When you’re too tired or too uncomfortable to have “The Talk” with your son or daughter; the internet is always ready and willing to answer any question. No filter.
The internet is never going to be stumped by their questions. In fact, our kids have access to words and ideas we’ve never heard of.
So Parenting Pioneers, how do we handle this?
As your kids wonder, don’t let them wander. Questions about sex come from natural, normal curiosity. Your kids need you, not a search engine.
Listen in for encouragement and look to the Homework section for practical tips to equip you as you navigate the world alongside your child.
We are the first generation to raise kids in world that is both digitally connected, sexually saturated.
We as moms or dads, in this digital age, have to step up or game in regards to parenting kids in this generation.
The internet’s never going to say “You’re too young to be asking that question.”
- Start having important, age-appropriate conversations with your kids while they’re young.
- More conversations, more comfort. While it may feel awkward and awful at first, don’t limit you or your child to just one intense conversation. Keep the dialogue open and ongoing. The more conversations you have with your child, the more relaxed you’ll both feel about them.
- Find adults in your community to help bear your insecurities and burdens, to practice conversations with them.
Check out Josh’s new book – Treading Boldly through a Pornographic World: A Field Guide for Parents
For more on this topic, check our latest article Why Parents Are Better Than the Internet
Click for Full Podcast Transcription
I’m a dad of five kids, as many of you know. And I gotta tell you, there is this other dad out there, who is tough competition for me, especially when it comes to talking about romance, or relationships, or sex. And I do this for a living, you know, but this dad is he’s just tough competition. He’s the data net. You know, I’m talking about the internet. We are the first generation moms and dads we are the first generation to raise kids in a world that is both digitally connected and sexually saturated. There have been lots of cultures before us that have been sexually saturated that had been immersed in sexual immorality. The world of the first century church was such a world There was sexual immorality that was rampant in the church of Corinth. Rome had sexual practices that were just truly abhorrent, and violent, and misogynistic, and abusive to children. So we are not the first culture to deal with a pornographic world, a pornographic mindset that that looks down on people doesn’t see people who sees objects to us sexually. But we are the first generation of parents to raise kids in a culture that’s like that, and also rampantly connected, digitally, our kids carry around in their pockets in their palms, in their book bags, they take with them to the locker room and the lunchroom and sometimes to their bedroom devices that have access to that kind of sexual content. Now, what do I mean when I say that the internet is tough competition, the data net, or the monitor net? is tough competition for moms and dads. I mean, this every kid growing up, will have questions about his or her body, about relationships with the same gender and the other gender, will have questions about sexual development as their body begins to change will have questions about sex. Some of the questions that they will ask that they will wonder about, because their normal natural developmental questions will be. What does it mean to be a boy? What does it mean to be a girl? What’s the difference between boys and girls? As they get older, they wonder questions like What do boys like? What do girls like? What do guys want? What do girls want? How? How big should a penis get? What’s the normal breast size? Is masturbation. Okay? How does masturbation even work? They’ll ask questions like, How do I know I’ll be sexually satisfying to my spouse one day? What do guys want sexually? What do girls want sexually? And growing up in an age like today, where there’s just lots of confusing sexual messages in the air? It’s very likely they’ll also asked questions like, wait, you know, kids at my school, we’re talking about anal sex? Does anal sex hurt? What is anal sex? How does that work? They’ll ask questions about oral sex, they’ll ask questions about same sex, sexual contact. How does that work? How do two girls have sex? How do two guys have sex? Now, I’m not trying to be graphic here. I’m not trying to put images and ideas in your mind parents, but I’m just being Frank. These are normal questions that our kids are going to be asking them to be wondering about these kinds of things. And if we are not approachable, askable parents, if we’re not their go to for conversations around those things. If we haven’t done the heavy lifting, to become those kinds of parents? Where do you think our kids are going to take their questions? If we don’t want them asking us those kinds of questions, if we don’t want them to asking those kinds of questions at all? Where will they take those questions? They’re going to take them online, they’re going to take them to their phones, they’re going to ask Siri, they’re gonna ask Google. And we don’t want that. Here’s what I also mean by the ended up being tough competition. In order for us to be askable, approachable, parents, we’ve got to do heavy lifting. And if we don’t, and we’ll talk about the heavy lifting in a minute, if we don’t, they’ll bring your questions to internet and guess what they’ll find. They will never catch the internet at a bad time for a question. They will never catch the internet at a bad time for their questions. The internet’s never too busy to talk. The internet’s never too tired to talk. It’s never too late. To ask the internet a question. The internet is never going to say hey, let’s talk about that later. I’m not quite prepared to have that conversation. Now. The internet is definitely never gonna say, let’s talk about that. When you’re older. You’re too young to be asking that kind of question.
You recognize how you might be willing or tempted to say those kinds of things. The Internet also will never say where’d you hear that word? The internet’s never going to tell our kids that they shouldn’t be asking those types of questions or saying those kinds of words. They’re never going to say that. They’re Their friends are bad influences. The internet is never gonna say ask your father or ask your mother. The internet and this this one we got to face the internet is never gonna be embarrassed by our kids questions no matter how obscure, difficult, challenging, charged the questions, maybe the internet is never going to have an emotional response to our kids questions. Never gonna get angry, never gonna get embarrassed, never gonna want to run away. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have emotions that come up. When our kids ask questions, we have to recognize the internet, it’s going to be pretty level about those things. And if our kids are already feeling embarrassed or ashamed or nervous about asking the kinds of questions, they don’t want to experience our anger or our embarrassment on top of theirs, because it’ll just keep on shame. And again, I will talk about how we might get beyond some of these things in a minute. The unit also is never going to think less of our kids for the questions they have or the desires they feel. Now, I’m not saying that you would. But it’s a normal, natural feeling that a lot of us have. And you can relate with this. I can relate with us that sometimes if we ask a certain kinds of question, it’s going to make somebody think less of us. So how do we get beyond that feeling for our kids? The internet is never going to punish our kids for their questions. It’s never going to punish them for what they’ve done wrong. The internet is never going to restrict their usage. Can you imagine the internet saying up? You’ve asked that question too many times you’re searching inappropriate stuff, We’re shutting down, we’re going to limit your screen time, the internet’s not going to do that. It’s never going to limit time with their friends because of what’s going on for them. Now here’s here’s, here’s another one. The internet is never gonna be stumped by our kids questions. You know, all of us these days are growing up in a time where our kids are they have access to information that we’ve never heard of, they’ve heard of words you’ve never heard of. They’re going to be wondering about things like I’ve no idea what that is, the internet is not going to be stumped by our kids questions. This is why we as moms and dads, in this age in this digital age have to step up our game. In regards to parenting kids in this generation. Our kids are gonna have natural normal curiosity when it comes to their bodies, relationships and sex. And we want to be the kinds of people in their lives, they’re going to want to come to with their questions. Now, what are some things that we can do to become approachable askable. First thing we can do is we can start young. Let’s begin having conversations with our kids. And I noticed I say conversations plural, not conversation. Too often we put our, all our money in the bank of one conversation, then we feel so much pressure in that conversation. And our kids feel so much pressure in that conversation, that it’s just too intense. Many of us many of you listening can remember conversations that you had with your parent, one conversation was so uncomfortable for your parents, and so uncomfortable for you that you and your parents are glad it was over. We don’t want that kind of conversation with our kids. We want to have regular, ongoing, comfortable, non anxious conversations with our kids starting when they’re very young, age appropriate conversations, lots of them, the more conversations we have guess what’s going to happen. The more we talk about stuff like this, our kids, the more our kids are gonna feel comfortable, and the more we’re gonna feel comfortable. So if you try to have a conversation with your kids, and you feel uncomfortable, take it as a sign not that you shouldn’t have those conversations or not that you’re not the person for the conversation. But you just need to have more conversations so you can begin to feel more and more comfortable. Now I say that fully recognizing that even today, we’re having lots of conversations in my kids, I can still feel uncomfortable. But I would rather be the one feeling uncomfortable than having them feel uncomfortable to the point where they’re bringing their questions away from me into the internet. Next up, next up, we be in young, we have lots of conversations, those are two things. Next up, we find adults around us to help bear our insecurities and our burdens. And so if you’ve got hang ups from your past, or your present in the area of sexuality, that is definitely gonna be something your kids sniff out. And it’s gonna it’s gonna obstruct you from being able to be comfortable with your kids. So you need to find adults who can walk with you can help carry your burden. So you’re not placing on your kids. And so that burns not getting in the way of you’re having healthful conversations with your kids, including the discomfort you feel just talking to your kids about it. Go ahead and talk to your spouse if you can talk to other adults in your life, about how it is to talk to your kids practice stuff. I gotta tell you, I have friends and colleagues that we have conversations about how to talk to your kids about these things. It’s been so helpful to just frame it up with some other adults talk through stuff. We bounce ideas off each other and it’s helps us to engage more winsomely and kindly, gently non anxiously with our kids. So this is just three ideas, but how you can get in the game with your kids. I
also shameless plug here, one encourage you to pick up a copy of the new book I’ve written with Daniel Weiss called treading boldly through a pornographic world. It there’s just so much in that book. It is chock full. And here’s the idea behind the book. We do not believe that your kids need us they don’t need me and my co author, they need you parents, they need you. And so this book Look is designed to equip you and empower you to be all you can be and to bring your full self to your kids because they need you in this age, if they don’t have you, they’re going to take their questions, their concerns, their problems, their shame somewhere else. And that somewhere else, most likely the Internet, and that’s going to be sending sending them into a more confused, more shameful, more addictive place. You don’t want that for your kids you need to do now listen, I said the internet is tough competition, when it comes to this, this realm, but I want to close on encouraging word. And all the more reason for you to get into this more seriously with your kids. Because in a in very specific ways, you are also much, much more equipped the internet will ever be. You are tough competition for the internet in these ways. The internet is never, never really going to listen to your kids. They’re never really going to listen to your kids. The internet’s never really going to attune to the tone of voice that your kids use. They’re never going to hear the tone the crack in their voice. They’re never going to tune to your kids facial expressions as they’re talking to you about these things. The Internet will never attune to know if your kids feeling embarrassed or ashamed or sad, or hurt or angry around these things. You can do that. The internet is never going to embrace your kids, when they’re feeling dirty, when their bodies are feeling they’ve been used or they are misused. You can embrace your kids and help their bodies to feel love to the internet, we’ll never be able to do that for your kids. The internet’s never gonna be able to give your kids grace and love when they fall in short, or rebelled. In fact, the internet, all it can do is invite them deeper into the mess that it’s that they’ve been in. it’ll it’ll it’ll move them further away from the light but you you can give them grace and love so they can enter into community again and walk in the light. The Internet also is never going to pick them up from school, make them their favorite dinner, invite them to do something fun, let them borrow the car. So even after your kids have messed up even after they’ve asked tough questions and feel embarrassed, even after they’ve been ashamed, the internet’s never gonna go to show them that their failures, do not define them in your eyes. The internet is just going to give them more and more reason to believe that it’s this is all who they are that what they’ve been pursuing is all that they are. You know what the internet does, when you look at stuff on it, right? It kicks in, there’s algorithms Go on, there’s programming that’s in there. So they’re more and more likely to see that content when they go back to online. But you can help your son or daughter recognize there’s so much more to them and you don’t see them as the sum of their failures. And finally, all this sums up to the internet is never gonna embody Jesus to your kids. you and you alone can be like the father of the prodigal son, the inner can’t be internet can’t do that. The internet is much more likely to be like that distant country that leaves your kids feeling disconnected, dirty, alone, lonely, ashamed, and far from where they want to be. But you can be like the father So Jesus, I pray for every mom and dad listening the day to be encouraged or they wouldn’t know that they alone can incarnate something for their kids, the internet cannot for them. So Lord, however intimidated we may feel in this age, however, overwhelmed and threatened we may feel by how quote unquote good a parent, the data net mom or net internet may be for our kids, Lord, it doesn’t hold a candle to your design. And we are your chosen people or we are the chosen ones to pour into our kids in ways that moms and dads and only moms and dads can. So moms and dads I bless you to walk and your sons and daughters. You are the one for this job.
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