Even if your children are far from the teenage temptation years, it’s never too early to start thinking about ways to help them say no. Once you’ve thought about it, get ready to talk about it. With my own children, who are now teens, I’ve told them that it’s natural to want to have sex; and that they need to be prepared when those feelings shift into high gear — a “heat of the moment” plan if you will. Consider these six ways teens can say no to sex.
1. Know why you want to say no.
Just chanting to yourself, “I will not have sex. I will not have sex,” will not protect our children from taking that step. Talk with them about why they want to wait. This article talks about the physical, emotional, and relational reasons why they shouldn’t have sex. Let them dig into those reasons and make them personal.
2. Plan for success.
If your son plans a date with his girlfriend that involves going back to her house while her parents are at dinner, well, his chances of successfully avoiding sex decrease. Same goes for co-ed sleepovers, slipping off to a quiet room at a friend’s house during a party, you get the idea — make sure they do too.
3. Decide how far you’ll go ahead of time.
The heat of the moment is not the best time for your daughter to talk with her boyfriend about how far they’re going to go. You know this, but does she? Talk directly with her about where she should draw the line — is kissing okay? What about touching above the waist? Is oral sex really sex? Help her walk through the scenarios and understand that once the physical interaction begins, it’s difficult to think clearly.
4. It’s okay to run away.
Tell your kids that if things are getting too heated, it’s okay to just run away — literally. They can put space between themselves and the other person. Let them know they can call you at any time. They can use you as an excuse.
5. Pornography is not their guide.
Okay, this is awkward, but your child needs to understand that no matter what they’ve heard or seen, what’s portrayed in pornography is not the norm. Explain to them that pornography is marketed to make money by showing extremes and raising those extremes at every chance. If someone they’re dating pressures them to watch pornography and do something they don’t want to, they can say no.
6. Have convictions.
Beyond the physical nature of sex and the factual reasons for not having it — pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, reputation — there are reasons that appeal to our children’s higher purpose, the purpose of living for something beyond our own physical appetites. Encourage your child to factor moral beliefs into their decisions about sex. God designed humans to have sex and enjoy sex, but he also made us different than the animals in that we also bring thought and emotion to sex.
You can also use these Waiting to Have Sex Conversation Starters. There are some really direct questions in the bunch that are appropriate for teenagers.
And what about you–what will you tell your children about saying no to sex as a teenager?