Written by Student Ministry Pastor Nathan Kocurek and High School Ministry Leader, Linda Wylie
There is a biblical foundation for our conversation about dating and sexuality. Looking at 1 Corinthians 6:9-20, we see that Paul’s letter to Corinth is about living differently in a fallen world. Paul explains that believers are to have different attitudes toward lawsuits, sex, and other controversial topics. Historically the attitudes toward sex in Corinth were not too far from modern culture:
- The body didn’t matter; “give it whatever it craves” including sex
- On the other extreme, sex was considered dirty, and a necessary evil
to be avoided…
But looking at this passage, we see that the Bible says sexual fulfillment is a good gift from a great God. But enjoyed in the wrong context, it can also go very wrong! As a member of the redeemed family who will one day live forever in the perfect kingdom of Christ, we “Corinthians” need to stop cheating ourselves. We don’t have to keep living under the domination of sin…all these sins that once defined us, including sexual sins, have been covered by the cross. Paul encourages us to assert our new identity as heirs of the Kingdom, and that includes the way we view sex.
Frequently Asked Parenting Questions
How should we view sex? 1 Corinthians 6:14-17
- Biblical View: Sex is a gift because it points to an intimate relationship with God made possible by the Gospel.
- In the same way that our bodies can have this union, and be fully known in this deeply satisfying experience of intimacy, we can look forward to our perfect union in Christ.
- The Biblical View is a very HIGH view of sex. Anything else is less than God’s best for us.
How do I start talking to my kids about dating and sexuality?
- Begin with a Biblical view of sexuality, teaching them that sex is a gift from God in its right context.
- With dating, you have to make your own parenting choices and discuss it with your teen. The most important thing is to open the door of conversation and keep it open. Your guidelines regarding dating should evolve as your child grows in age and maturity
What’s a date, how is it different from dating, and why should anyone do it?
- A date is a one-time event for the purpose of encouraging and getting to know each other.
- Dating is a defined status in the relationship with clear expectations and the purpose of evaluating toward marriage.
- We want our teens to date several people through their teen years. This experience prepares them to look for qualities and character that will be most compatible in the long run.
Who should my teen date?
- A believer who is seeking to grow in their walk with the Lord.
How do I respond to a first serious crush?
- Don’t panic! Attraction is normal. Ask good questions in a conversational way without overkill on advice or rules.
How do I help when my teen is dating?
- Encourage respect for boundaries, both sexual and emotional.
- Ask your teens if they’ve ever heard common myths about sex. Common myths teens believe: pre-marital sexual activity is not as wrong as actual sex; it’s okay since we will be married; pre-marital sex is necessary for practice or to discover compatibility for marriage. Debunk those myths!
How do I help my teen get out of danger?
- Encourage your child to call you no matter the circumstances. Our kids need to know they can call us even if they’re at a crazy party or sneaking around.
How do I respond if my teen is viewing pornography?
- Don’t panic! Pornography is a habit that grows in secrecy. Offer your teen a better plan for sexuality, the Biblical view. Support and accountability are available through relationships in church small groups.
- Fight the New Drug uses scientific evidence and personal stories by young people to reveal the harmful effects of pornography.
What’s the right age to talk to my kids about sex, and what should I say?
- Take a look at the book, “How and When to Tell Your Kids About Sex” by Stan and Brenna Jones.
What’s different about dating in the world of smart phones and social media?
- Teens are driving later and going out less. They’re homebodies who care more about their first smart phone than their first car. They’re struggling with self-worth and identity like any generation of teens, but those struggles are often magnified by social media. School district counseling websites often have links to excellent resources regarding Digital Citizenship that can help our kids.
What about resources for prodigals and strong-willed children?
- Stonebriar offers Parenting Prodigals, a ministry devoted to parents and grandparents with wayward children of all ages. This group provides tools and support to help parents manage their personal lives while facing the challenges of loving a child gone astray. It meets Tuesday nights at 6:30 in room B203.
What about teens experiencing depression, anxiety and suicide?
- God can lead your family through a difficult time or crisis through conversation, prayer, and spiritual direction offered one-to-one by pastors and pastoral leaders at Stonebriar Community Church. Call Care Ministries at 469-252-5364.
What if I encounter conflict with other parents?
- Your values and rules for dating may not be shared by the other parents of your teenager’s friends. Conflict often is created between parents and their teen son or daughter, and then resentment toward other parents quickly ensues. Accept the fact that not everyone shares your personal convictions about dating, smart phones, dress codes, etc. Extend grace to other parents, and be clear with your teenager about your values and rules.
A note to single moms with sons:
- The church offers a great opportunity for single moms to find support through friendship prayer. Your son’s small group leader can be a great role-model, but don’t underestimate your ability to discuss Biblical sexuality and have ongoing open and honest conversations with your teenage son about dating, sex, and making wise choices.
Here are some ideas to try in your home:
- 10 Things Not To Do When Parenting Teens (see resource below)
- Book Time: An hour before bedtime, read a book about sex and dating like “Boundaries in Dating” or “Every Young Man’s Battle.” Alternate reading aloud one page at a time and discuss questions.
- Prayer Partners: Find a group of like-minded parents who would like to meet together on a regular basis and pray for your kids.
Helpful Books: The Age of Opportunity, Sacred Parenting, Parenting: From Surviving to Thriving
TEN THINGS NOT TO DO WHEN PARENTING TEENS:
Although we hate to give parenting advice, below is a list of 10 things we have learned from experience.
- Don’t make excuses for mishandled responsibilities. Teens need to own it.
- Don’t expect or demand perfection; teens are learning to be adults.
- Don’t do everything for them or make decisions they can make.
- Don’t criticize them harshly for falling short or go on-and-on about it.
- Don’t discipline them in front of other people.
- Don’t prevent all adversity, failure, or negative feelings.
- Don’t shame them or belittle them by telling them they should have known better or done something better.
- Don’t tell them their opinions; ask good questions and let them learn from experience.
- Don’t demand everything be done immediately, but provide reasonable deadlines.
- Don’t forget to apply the consequences, and connect the dots between discipline and love.
ADVICE TO PARENTS FROM TEENS
We took an informal text survey of teens active in our student ministry group. Below is a list of 5 things they wanted us to tell their parents:
- If parents make a huge deal out of mistakes, kids won’t want to tell their parents when they mess up.
- Be up front with your teens and don’t sugar-coat anything.
- Be relatable and honest; approach the conversation about sex more from how it’s God’s design and plan for our lives. Try to stay away from extremes like, “It’s all bad, so don’t date or have sex.”
- Have grace when your teens mess up, and don’t freak!
- Be supportive and walk your teens through situations instead of freaking out.
Emerging from the depths of the late 1970s, Nathan spent his formative years under the influence of Hall & Oates, Duran Duran, and other notables while listening to KRBE in Houston on the clock radio beside his bed. Nathan was influenced to love Jesus by the example of his young single mom, and he grew up with a love for God but an incomplete understanding of discipleship. As a result, as a teenager, he indulged in a relentless and at times reckless pursuit of social and athletic achievements, seeking to assuage an innermost feeling of emptiness that he could not escape. Finally, by God’s grace, the Spirit of the Lord made it clear to him that none but Jesus could satisfy what he was lacking. The answer had been there all along. Later, Nathan married the girl of his dreams and they ran off to California, had two sons, and returned to Texas where they adopted their sweet daughter. Having served as a Student Minister at two previous churches over the past 18 years, Nathan and his wife, Marie, are now thrilled to follow the calling of Christ at Stonebriar Community Church.
Linda Wylie and her husband, Kevin, have been married for 21 years and recently renewed their wedding vows while looking forward to 20 more years together. Linda is a mother of two teenagers and recently transitioned into Stonebriar’s Student Ministry after years in Early Childhood Ministry. Her passion is to share her unique approach to life with kids needing authentic love and encouragement. Linda is a people person who loves the Lord and wants nothing more than to show others who Jesus is with her life. She can be a mess, but always with a good sense of humor, so watch out when you see her coming. She will challenge you to look outside yourself.