Four ways to help teens avoid sex – without locking them in their room until they turn 25

By Contributor Josh Stephens

I recently overheard a couple of high school students talking about relationship struggles. I’d heard the conversation many times before. Somehow, in the midst of this conversation, they turned to me and wanted to know my opinion on the matter. It caught me off-guard, and I waited a second before asking, “What do you think is the point of having a relationship in high school?”

Without missing a beat, the response was, “The sex!”

Those two words echoed in my heart like someone shouting in a cave.

“THE SEX! The sex. the sex…”

Media tells us to be accepted in society you have to be in a relationship. Media tells us to be cool you have to have sex in that relationship.

Media tells us the more people you have sex with, the more successful you become.

The thing is, while you or I may be able to recognize all of these as empty lies, there is a generation accepting it as truth.

There is a generation okay with being lied to because it provides them with the sexual gratification that has been highly praised by their “role models” in society.

But what do we do?

Do we turn the TV off and ignore the media?

Do we shut our children off from the world and not let them out of the house again until they are 25 years old?

Do we hand out cards saying those who have sex before marriage are going to hell?

No.

We shouldn’t do any of that.

We cannot ignore what is being displayed in the media. Ignorance just welcomes naivete.

And we cannot try to scare students into heaven by telling them their mistakes are going to send them to hell.

What we can do is show them a better story.

This means we need to show them what life is like when you live it according to God’s design by giving them healthy examples of relationships. We have to be healthy examples of relationships.

We have to teach them their identity is not found in the relationships society so often encourages. But true identity is found in their Creator.

We have to ask hard questions. It is our job to sit down and talk with them about their intentions in relationships and how they can approach dating from a healthy perspective, the perspective the media rarely subscribes to.

We may have to have uncomfortable conversations.

We have to show them God’s plan is better than anything they could ever dream or imagine.

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3 responses to “Four ways to help teens avoid sex – without locking them in their room until they turn 25

  1. Great stuff here Josh! It’s so refreshing to read about how to have true, authentic, sacrificial love vs. what our society bombards our hearts and minds with everyday!

    I read a wonderful analogy about trying to foster purity and chastity in our teens that I think goes well with your post here. The quote is from the book, “Catholic Education: Homeward Bound” by Kimberly Hahn and Mary Hasson.

    On page 214 there is this paragraph, “Describing the image of a fire in a fireplace helps teens recognize the incredible power and beauty of their sexuality. Fire that is properly contained-used for the right purpose and in the right place-gives us warmth and light, beauty and happiness, and suggests well-controlled power. Used wisely, it brings us nothing but good. In contrast, a fire that is ignited and burns without boundaries leaves destruction, pain, and ashes in its wake. It rages out of control, ultimately destroying everything it touches. Our sexuality, both within marriage and without, is most desirable and beautiful when we use it within God’s boundaries. Teens need to sense our own joy and humility in our sexuality-that it’s a delightful gift from God that surpasses all expectations when we use it as He wishes.”

    Have you heard of this analogy before? I love it and I think it’s a simple way to explain a complex, yet very important topic!

    God bless,
    Tracy Bua Smith

  2. Thank you Tracy! I’ll think back to this analogy when the time comes in our household! Yikes. . .

  3. Tracy!

    I’ve heard that analogy before and enjoy it a lot! Thanks for sharing it with everyone here! 🙂

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