Amber Carroll is Equip’s Parent Content Specialist. She has the wonderful privilege of teaching her two kiddos, ages 5 and 7, about God’s designs for family, intimacy, and sexual stewardship. After 400+ hours of research, writing, collaborating, and revising, she’s produced a 6-week virtual course for parents titled “Christian Parenting in Sex-Obsessed Culture” to help other parents do the same. The Course is designed for parents of kids ages 2-12.
Parents, our kids live in sex-obsessed culture.
We see it in movies, TV shows, songs, catalogs, billboards, product packaging, commercials, celebrities – all of secular culture is promising our kids that romance is both a right and a necessity, demanding that bodies be used for sex-appeal, and teaching our kids that consent is the only “rule” when it comes to sexual pleasure.
Cultural Christianity isn’t much better. Many of the biblical truths about sex, marriage, singleness, and family have been assumed, avoided, or distorted. We teach our kids to “save sex for marriage” with the dangerous assumption that all of our kids will experience only opposite-sex attraction and will one day marry. We assert that sex is only to be enjoyed in the context of a covenanted one-man-one-woman marriage, but unfortunately we often stop there.
This wrong focus on sex and marriage leads to painful results in our churches. Yet more often, parents hesitate to talk to their young kids about sexuality because they feel ill-equipped. That’s why we’ve developed Equip’s new Parent Course to (1) equip parents of kids ages 2-12 with a deep familiarity with God’s wisdom for sexual stewardship for all people AND (2) provide practical guides for age-appropriate conversation with kids, broken down by age group.
Wrong focus leads to painful results.
By focusing only on dating, sex, and marriage when we try to communicate a biblical sexual ethic to our kids, we teach our kids that the best things in life are sex and marriage. To those who will never marry or have sex (for whatever reason), we mislead them into believing that their singleness isn’t valuable and can’t be used in service to God’s kingdom. And to those who will marry and have sex, we set false expectations that marriage and sex will end loneliness and fulfill them completely. Plus, a focus on dating, marriage, and sex communicates to gay teens that if they obey God’s teachings, they are likely to miss out on the best things that God has to offer.
Here’s what happens in our churches when parents and pastors only focus on sex and marriage:
Very few people submit to the calling of singleness in order to serve God with undivided attention,
More Christians fall into pornography usage (somewhere around 10% of Christian women and 64% of Christian men view pornography at least monthly), and
Divorce rates soar when the fulfillment we were promised doesn’t come (among those who attend church regularly, about 38% have been divorced).
And when we don’t talk to our kids about same-sex attraction, assuring them that God loves all people, regardless of orientation, and that God has the same standards for sexual stewardship for all people, regardless of orientation, our gay kids hide their attractions for 5+ years, feel that God doesn’t love them, or feel that they need to change their attractions to be acceptable to their family. This often leads to depression, suicidal thoughts, and loss of faith. In fact, 54% of gay people who grow up in the Church end up leaving the faith (Us versus Us, Andrew Marin).
All followers of Jesus are called to a lifetime of sexual stewardship, to follow the standards God set up in His Word. And parents, we are mandated to pass God’s wisdom about sexual stewardship on to our kids (Ephesians 6:4, Proverbs 22:6). We must think deeply about what God’s wisdom means for our own lives and our kids’ lives, and then we must be proactive about having conversations about these things with our kids, early and often, beginning in preschool and continuing throughout childhood.
The problem: parents hesitate to lead their children.
But Christian parents are ill-equipped to discuss sexuality, sex, intimacy, marriage, singleness, and family with our young kids in meaningful, compassionate, and theologically accurate ways. We need help, but the resources available are inadequate: books and video courses designed to help Christian parents talk to their kids about these topics focus almost exclusively on sex and marriage, assume that all our kids will be straight and will one day marry, posit marriage as the answer to loneliness and the only way to find family, and lack theological depth. So too often, we stay silent, scared to bring up these topics with our young kids, fearful of saying the wrong things. But without open conversation with parents, kids are left to come to their own conclusions about the best ways to find family and do relationships.
Lead your children in conversation about sexuality with Equip’s new Parent Course!
That’s where Equip’s new Parent Course comes in. We don’t want you to stay silent. We don’t want you playing catch-up when your kids have grown into teens. Instead, we want you to be prepared, confident about answering questions when they arise and confident about initiating conversation about sex and sexuality, intimacy and family, marriage and singleness with your kids throughout their childhoods, from the preschool years through college and beyond.
“Christian Parenting in Sex-Obsessed Culture” isn’t like other resources aimed at Christian parents. We don’t just focus on marriage and sex. Our focus is much broader, encompassing the whole of God’s designs for family and relationships. As you move through the five-week course, you’ll take a deep dive into theology to examine these questions: How did God design us to meet our intimacy needs? Where can our kids find family? How do sin and brokenness affect us in the area of sexuality? How does God expect our kids to steward their capacity for relationships, romance, and sex? The course will also focus on strategies you can use to communicate God’s designs for relationships to your young kids, namely those ages 2-12. We’ll talk about the ways you can initiate conversations about sexual stewardship in age-appropriate ways and ways you can respond to your kids’ questions and the sex-obsessed culture that they’re immersed in every day. Lastly, we’ll examine the questions What if my kid is gay? and How can churches support gay kids?
At some point, in some way, your kids are going to learn about sex and sexuality. If you aren’t taking the time to educate your kids about these things, that doesn’t mean the Enemy and our sex-obsessed culture and some mis-informed kid on the playground aren’t. We live in culture, and messages about sex and sexuality surround us all the time, and most of the time we don’t even realize it. Our kids are vulnerable – both to the narrative of secular culture but also to the better story that God tells us about how we’re made for intimacy and family and where we can find the most good in this life. If we want our kids to enjoy the beautiful things relationships have to offer, we must teach them how to do that. Equip’s Parent Course can help you do that.
But don’t just take my word for it! See what others are saying about the course:
It is very evident that hours and hours of research and prayer have been put into this course. -Brian from Indiana
Understanding the biblical support for committed singleness and Christian marriage for the kingdom was valuable and challenging—it helped me see all the potential outcomes for my children and grandchildren. -Vanessee from Tennessee
This content is so needed by parents everywhere. It is thoroughly researched and well thought out. I would recommend it over and over. -Beth from Virginia
For a free preview of the Course and to register for one of our upcoming sessions, go to equipyourcommunity.org/parentcourse!