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The Struggle With Sexuality: Helping Your Teen

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
January 3, 2022 9:00 pm

The Struggle With Sexuality: Helping Your Teen

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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January 3, 2022 9:00 pm

What to do if your child is struggling with their sexuality? From puberty to around 25yrs old connections in the brain are still forming, making new connections. Your child is very VULNERABLE at these stages. Be a resource for them to express how they feel and share what they're struggling with.. Share God’s point of view with them and relate theirs to his.

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Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Focus on the Family
Jim Daly
Building Relationships
Dr. Gary Chapman
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
Family Life Today
Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

I remember asking my oldest son when he was a middle school are using eighth grade to grade. He was on the wrestling team and I said CJ here's question how many of your teammates like ever look at porn. Like in the locker room just throwing this question out so I never his answer was everyday, every guy in the locker welcome to family life today where we want to help you pursue relationships that matter most kind and Wilson Dave Wilson and you can find us if we live or on our family life is family life today you came home and told me that before like I mingle while I was just interested.

I did not expect that answer, seventh, eighth graders were 13, 14 years old every day.

Every kid and I'm like okay what about you, you know, so it opened up this question that you know is there becoming 13, 14, 15 years old.

You know that your influence sometimes isn't as strong as the peer influence on Mike.

While these are his buddies. What are they saying based on what their doing and watching about this area and Dave, I think what happens with us as parents is we hear those things or other stats of what's happening on social media power kids are being influence and peers. We are petrified and then we get petrified and a lot of times will hover and get so controlling or will pull away being paralyzed, not even knowing what to do obviously were here today because we need help with all the doctors and now I got to doctors in the studio.

Dr. Beth Robinson is with us and Dr. will attain Scott who are great friends and co-authors of a book called talking with teens about sexuality and we've already talked a little bit to you guys but I mean your counselors, your college professor, your PhD in biblical studies. You get so much wisdom you have in the room with three listeners. Pull up your seat because these women are going to coach us with questions that you have like how do I help my teens in this area. I guess we should say welcome back to work. Really excited you're here were to be here a lot of fun about the teenage brain. I know you talk a little bit in the book about it. I don't think we always understand his parents. What's going on mentally, socially just, then the error sexuality, but obviously it applies to that. But what's going on in a teens brain. Well, I think first of all you need to know that puberty is a time when dendrites grow in the brain. It only happens twice in your lifetime.

It happens when you're a very small child, but it went dendrites okay which are connections in the brain so you have all this growth and brain set out literal in the brain, and what's happening neurologically as your teens are making connections that never made before and they begin to expect to be perfect so Juergen criticized as a parent you know you you know you are wonderful when their elementary school. They hit middle school and high school and you don't know anything and that doesn't end until their brains quit growing about 25 or 30 ready for that but there are some things that we know now pretty solidly about team brings first of all, they think normal consequences don't apply to them.

Witnessing this research now since like 1979 that part of that growth process is they don't understand the normal consequences apply. So the scare tactics that we've used for years to educate kids and think the organists caromed straight on effective because the kit automatically processes in such a way that it's not me.

So my friends might get drunk and have a wreck but that would never happen to me and I process it that way and they don't even realize a processing and that's a brain function. There's I am writing because of the way their brains are operating and that it windows that change that the years old 5525 well that frontal lobe which controls emotions and problem solving and things like that.

It finally finishes developing at about 25 to 30 depending on the kid and so when I'm talking to college freshmen about how teenage brain works, I make sure they understand I'm talking about the so this is not just 13 to 17 anymore. Recalling that early adolescence were calling 17 to 21. Middle adolescence and 21 to 30 later adolescence, and a lot of models. What is happened here saying that kids are not developing as early as they used to. What's happened in our society. What we have welcomed in technology. What we now know there was some research done. I believe it was in 2011 where they look to college freshmen looked at social emotional development and what they discovered is there social emotional development was about equivalent to a freshman in high school from 10 years earlier. So we lost all that social emotional development. We've also seen some research that shows that a typical 18-year-old male has as many social interactions as most of us had.

By age 6.

Well, you had to have social interaction with people to grow your brain. The social emotional part of your brain, I'm just thinking of coving to what that's done with so little socialization it has. And you know I saw some research that said 56% of teens have had suicidal ideation.

And that's the depression anxiety which is also related to technology because we know that when you're using technology. Whether you're viewing porn or just aiming that increases dopamine in your pleasure centers of your brain and so when that goes you're not actually engaged in that activity. You experience depression anxiety when you're off that activity heavily depressed and scared. You and I have ratios of parent think ever want to give a screen to my child or I want to delay that as long as I can because the social interactions you just said is critical in that sort of sunset right it doesn't came in on the screens. Well I have three grandchildren that do not have screens tellers no TV in their house.

Once age 12 one Sage 10 one is age 6 and those children the six-year-old is reading a high school level with understanding and you go on their house for the book and you think you brought them the world so it is possible in this day and age today to raise children without screens and they are perfectly lovely interacting great kids. So yes, it is possible to do that. So let's say the average kid does have a screen and right or wrong. They have a screen in the sit there looking a sexually explicit material like my son says every guy he knows every day. What's that doing to their brain to addictive increasing dopamine levels. Some of the research says that you have to fast off of pornography for 18 months for brain function to return to normal so it impacts the brain and it is addictive and I I will tell you that my first time really dealing with. This was with the first child placed in my home as a foster child was in third grade and he came home very distraught from school very very distraught and the reason he was so upset took a couple days to find out why he was so upset was the third grade boys were passing around back then it was a print magazine I normal in the third grade and were making fun of him because he would view porn as he would look at it.

He would look at it and he didn't know how to tell any of the teachers what was going on to get it to stop so he quit being bullied because he would look at and he was in third grade. Wow. And so there's a lot of pressure. I think kids are feeling that to you.

If they're not interacting on social media not on tick-tock and non-Instagram feels like the world and all of their peers in all their social life is online so how can I possibly exist or have any friends. If I'm not on board with that or if I don't have a device. The research shows even being on social media increases levels of depression significantly and so as parents we have to be willing to set some boundaries. The American pediatric Association recommends one hour screen time a day total screen time.

That's tablet phone TV together when our there's a reason for that because it's hurting the brains of our kids are raising psycho to about just our kids growing physically, emotionally attain you shared some pretty interesting ideas to about this, their sexuality. Well, this is an idea that I learned from Nancy Percy who wrote love your body is there is a pervasive sense right now in our society that our brain and our body are separate things and that our brain should control and modify it wants the body and that so opposed to what the Bible says that we are body soul and spirit.

We are unity you know and were supposed to be a unity and even though Paul says that he buffeted his body that you know you have to keep your body under subjection make it my slave make it church life. But the idea was that that is something that you're doing collaborating with God. Our culture today says no, in spite of the fact that your DNA says that your one sex that even though your body, your DNA in your body says this, that your mind has such power that it can.

Not only re-represent what you say about yourself, but actually now, according to our legal system. Everyone else has to say the same thing that you say about your body, whether it's true or not, God is completely taken out of the picture of the unity of the body, and spirit being something that is you know unified with God unified by God, and to something that you can modify and control at your whim so that a parent sitting there in his got a daughter who says she's a boy or a boy who says he's a female what he said (how do they navigate that world. Well I I'm good to say that most important thing is apparent when a kid comes to you with any difficult topic around sexuality is you have got to manage her emotions before you do anything else. So don't freak out. Don't freak out.

Managed as emotions because if you get very emotional. Any emotion enough anger, excitement, whatever your kid is can interpret that as you can't handle it so you gotta be cool cucumber your kid think she can handle it. Even if inside, you're going to my goodness I don't know what to do.

Don't know what to do, how my going to handle this.

Your kid needs to believe that your calm and that you can be a resource because you want them to come back to you. The second think I'm going to say this, by the way, that's great wisdom not always easy to do, Gregory.

It's almost like you get a pray in the moment. God help me to respond in a way that brings him or her to me. Yes, feeling safe.

I can talk to mom. I can talk to dad and sometimes we almost have to timeout ourselves on some of those conversations. I mean if we can't do it for a long period of time when the kid initially brings it.

You know I think I'm a boy and I'm trapped in a girl's body. We need to sigh you know I'm a little time to pray and think about this, but I want you to know I love you because I think the most difficult thing for our kids is if they feel cut off from godly support when they're battling spiritual war so I want my kid to know that I'm safe to come to that. I can handle it. I want them to know that I love them more than they can ever imagine.

Because I would say one of the greatest lessons I've learned as a counselor is how much I love the kids I work with and I know God left some more.

And so number one become number two. Make sure your kid knows no matter what your current level and you're gonna be there and then you get to the scary part and the scary part may be a lot more to unwind than we can talk about just in a radio show. Because really, you need to go get some help from a Christian counselor to navigate what's going on what's happened what's leading your child believe this, I can tell you from counseling experience that lots of times kids express gender issues as part of identity and even sexual preference as part of identity development in adolescence and appearance can just stay calm and walk in faith with their kid and make sure that the kid knows you love them.

God loves them and they know what God teaches that the phase passes so we don't have to keep bringing it up every day not a good idea to put the child in charge of when it comes up who so that you can have this conversations because 20 years ago I saw kids get very cut off from their families back then it was usually sexuality they got very cut off from their families and they didn't hear anything from a biblical perspective because it was a very welcoming homosexual community that pulled them in and involve them and that became all of their social connections and I'm not gonna turn loose of my kid that easily. I'm going to fight. Yet it sounds like. In that case, they're going to where they feel safe and loved in years and that's the role of us make them feel safe and love that I'm guessing you would say the same thing to the Christian community or the church. When a person first has the courage to say this is what I believe about myself whether my preferences this or I think about what you have a girl's body started there. Get your emotions in check. They need to feel safe and loved and then like you said, then the hard work against his and you talk through truths and grace what God says what the word says and that's when it often becomes problematic in terms of them feel safe and loved, though, is when you get to that point.

. I guess you've done this many times, especially with college students, you know. So what you do. I have but I'm gonna tell you that I learned from attain a lot more about how to do this in using God's word as the mirror and just letting God's word what they look at.

Not my interpretation.

But God's word you read it when God struggled with this but I'm did the Alateen out of you do this in the course of writing the book. One thing that came out of writing a book together as I had to examine my own beliefs and find out if they were truly biblical as her difficult foundation for what I've I think, and courses we start examining our traditions and our belief sometimes they're not biblical. I mean there's somebody's interpretation of the Bible and not what the Bible saying itself so this was an adventure.

Writing this book that she has the strategies like that. One of saying I'm gonna love you no matter what I'm going to help us be able to provide materials that any parent of any denomination can look at and say is this what the Bible says is this God's word on this. Can I have confidence in God's word over my own experience and over my own opinions in my own feelings and really the decision that I and she had to come to in writing the book is the same thing Raskin the parents to are you going to rely on the word of God to be the final authority on this or you can ago, a culture he going to go with not rocking the boat with relationships what's going to be your bottom line and if it's not Scripture then there are other kinds of books telling you how to other people. I can tell you how to handle the issues and the relationships you cannot got out of anything you know and I we have successfully done that in our culture. How do we do that how do we share God's word biblical viewpoint of sexuality without using it as I like a hammer were hammering it into them. How do you do that in a loving way that our kids can hear and I feel heard as well. One example that that we talk about is Romans 120 when it talks about homosexual behavior and ask a kid to sit down with you and say what do you think these words mean what you think it means to be unnatural what you think it means when God says something is detestable.

You tell me what you think this means rather than saying what this deftly proves this and proves this in process and friendship to show them the teachings in Leviticus and then find out that Jesus quote some of those so that Paul quotes some of those so that's not just Old Testament law and just ask them to use their brains chimed in a different just a little bit. I think that approach is great when were just working with teaching our kids like we talked about that in your own home. Yes, you that I think when we get to the point that that is an issue sites on the sexuality. I think we had to be very gentle and how we present that information to our kids and so I do think we want them to read those verses. But I think we want to give them time and space to process so give us a conversation.

What's that sound like he finally had those conversations in counseling, kid. Yes, I mean, the conversation is your saving the kid wants to please God and you talk about what their faith means to them and how important that is to them and then you say okay, I've got the passage I just want you to to read it, pray about and pray about once a day to versus rain, pray about and see what wisdom you develop from reading and praying about it when you're ready to talk about it. We'll talk but it's on your timetable and in the meantime I'm imagining parents. I'm imagining like you're praying for, speak to my kids. Let them know how much you love them, let them know how much I love them.

Let them know that your word is trustworthy because a lot of kids are saying. I don't know if I believe the Bible so that the factors well well and that I think the time is a be a great time for you to talk about supernatural one assumption that we have to make in our lives is that we have a supernatural religion, supernatural faith, and that if a God who can raise the dead.

If he can do that he can do anything. That's right, he can't he can't do anything and so he can change minds he can change attitudes and by couching our religion is something that is beyond what is seen and what is felt by us and letting our children know that there's something that as as it says in Ephesians, our battle is not with flesh and blood its with powers and principalities. If we keep our nonsexual language are non-specific conversations with our kids about the unseen realities and that's something I didn't do well with my children was talk to them about unseen realities. We don't know what's going on, you know, and that God is fighting battles. We don't know he's doing things for us. If that is the basis for conversations with kids. Then when we bring scriptures into it were able to let them understand that this is not something were imposing from the outside. It's unnatural to our lifestyle and that goes back to what you said about talking about the Lord when we sit down when we go on the road or whatever and I think for parents to understand that God can change things in ways we can't imagine.

In relying upon our own faith to instead of feeling like we somehow have to do something to change our child.

Now it is a little bit about planting the seed and watering it and watching over our heart because I Mike I am to take care of the situation in mind and you know I I and there is a power in surrender that we forget there is. I mean I'm thinking even as I look back over the last 20 years of carrying our boys. There were moments smiling because I could see and stomping through the kitchen.

You know you're doing that then we bolted at moments where you lay down the wood and you're like circling down the law that were not all really about sexuality because I was just about you know your band these rules.

This way, this is our house but when it comes to these kind of conversations that were talking about here that are really soul because we don't often talk about. We having thought about here, but when you talk about sexuality at any level. There's a soul part of it is sacred not just because it's creative. I got a beautiful boy go, but it's connected to our soul. So I think that's what reasons were afraid to talk about it.

We can feel that even though we don't know what we can feel like this is I'm waiting out here in the deep end and I don't know if I want to swim here, but man what are children are asking questions or there in chaos and confusion. This is when we have to be the parent. Like you, you've Artie said that enters into a conversation, even if it starts with the question, but enters into it gently because no one is strong-armed into the kingdom that you are loved in with grace, but there is truth, so there's that balance in Jesus was the perfect embodiment of grace and truth. John chapter 1 we that's supernatural we can do that apart from the work of God in our life but man it if I'm a parent. Listen right now it's like I want to step in a conversation is going to be scary, but I gotta do it the way you model for us today is been a real gift to say okay, keep your emotions in check make sure they feel safe. Make sure they feel loved. Okay, let's have a conversation and sorta on their terms like let them process it let them pray it through and get back to you and then be there ready to lead them to truth in a graceful way and I just can and Dave and that before we do all of that we are praying continually all the time about all these things in James one, when it says if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives generously without reproach. It is so important as parents that we not only are intentional about the kinds of conversations that we heard about today, but it's important that our tone during these conversations be the right tone that were not talking about human sexuality uncomfortably that were not talking about fearfully or shamefully, but that we're talking about it as a positive good for our lives in the right context are teams need to hear that message and they need to hear it from us and Beth Robinson obtained Scott really coach us as parents how to have these important conversations with our teenagers in the book that they've written called talking with teens about sexuality. Critical conversations about social media, gender identity, same sex attraction pornography purity dating the whole lineup of questions. Find out more about the book you can order it from us or call one 800 FL today to get your copy again. The title of the book is talking with teens about sexuality order it or call one 803 586-329-1800 F as in family L as in life and than the word today and David and mentioned the resource family life is created called passport to purity. So many of you have used this resource effectively with your preteens to help have some of these difficult conversations over the course of a two day getaway with your child the passport to purity resource is available, you might want to add to your New Year's resolution list this year I get away with your pre-team and/or order to passport to purity kits so you have it ready to go when you and your son or daughter are ready for a couple of days away, to have some important conversations together, our team here at family life is excited about the new year and honestly very excited about the response from blisters like you over the last few weeks. Many of you heard us talking about the matching gift opportunity that was available to us, you heard us talking about our need for donations at year-end, and many of you responded in fact were still getting mail and were still tallying the results so we don't have the final numbers yet, but we just want to make sure we said thank you to each of you who donated at year-end, so the family like today can continue and expand can move forward in 2022. So thank you for your vote of confidence in your ongoing support of this ministry and we look forward to this new year along with you.

We trust it's gonna be a great year for your marriage and for your family and we want to be here to help make that happen all year long.

We hope you can join us again tomorrow when working to hear from Beth Robinson obtained Scott about the kinds of positive conversations we can be having with young people about dating about marriage, about sexuality that get them ready for a good future. That conversation happens tomorrow. Hope you can be with us for that on behalf of our hosts Dave and Ann Wilson on Bob Lapine will see you back tomorrow for another edition of family life today like today is a production of family life accrue ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most

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