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Clothing, Sexual Identity, and Your Influence: Ron Deal with Dr. Meg Meeker

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
July 14, 2023 5:15 am

Clothing, Sexual Identity, and Your Influence: Ron Deal with Dr. Meg Meeker

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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July 14, 2023 5:15 am

Join Dave and Ann Wilson as they discuss the impact of parents on teenage girls' fashion choices in a conversation with Ron Deal and clips from an episode featuring Dr. Meg Meeker. They delve into the influence of mothers and fathers, the challenges faced by stepdads, and the importance of helping kids develop a healthy sexual identity in today's toxic culture.

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Connect with Meg Meeker and catch more of her thoughts at

Find her on social media on Insta, Twitter, and Facebook @megmeekermd.

Intrigued by today's episode? Think deeper about culture and parenting in her FamilyLife Blended episode, Raising Kids in a Toxic Culture, or any of her FamilyLife Today episodes.

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So we didn't raise any teenage daughters, you know, just sons. Now we have daughter-in-laws.

But let me ask you this. Who do you think has the most impact on what a teenage girl wears in the home? The mom or the dad? I know what I think.

Oh, I'm interested to know what you think. I mean, a lot of my best friends had daughters and all daughters, in fact. It's interesting because I think they watched what their mom wore. But man, they pushed hard against what she would say. But then their dad would walk in and say something. And it seemed like they were more open to hear what the dad was saying.

But again, they were watching what the mom wore. That's just my take. Well, today, we're gonna get the answer to that question. Wait, what's yours? What do you think? I'm not gonna tell you.

I'll tell you later. Welcome to Family Life Today where we want to help you pursue the relationships that matter most. I'm Shelby Abbott, and your hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. You can find us at or on the Family Life app. This is Family Life Today. We've got Ron Deal from our Family Life blended. He directs that ministry here at Family Life, and he sat down with Dr. Meg Meeker, who's a doctor, pediatrician, author, speaker, writer.

I mean, she really has wisdom, and she got to answer that. And man, they're gonna dive into some real stuff today. It's gonna be so helpful. It's really gonna help parents.

And this is episode number 41 in Family Life blended. Yeah, and yesterday, we heard her thoughts about social media and mobile phones. Today, they're gonna sort of turn the corner on a new topic. Let's talk a little bit about fashion in culture. Sure. My goodness, in your book Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture, you say that sometimes mothers are more okay with girls wearing fashion that helps them fit in socially, right?

Whatever's kind of hot in the culture, even though it may be revealing and demeaning to their own daughter. And then you said something I thought was really great. You said that dads can be more conservative, but they often don't trust their judgment, and so they say nothing. Exactly. Yeah.

What's going on there? I believe that dads should have say over a teenage junior high and high school daughter's wardrobe. Now, mothers hate that.

But here's why I say that. Because if your daughter comes down to breakfast and she's getting ready to go off to school and she's in something that dad thinks is really revealing and he just sort of gasps at it, this is what happens. He said, you know what, honey?

I don't like that. I want you to change your clothes. And she goes, oh, dad, oh, dad. And then mom rushes in and says, wait, wait, wait, be quiet. You just don't understand how girls dress these days.

She wants to fit in with her friends because she needs to fit in with her friends. And dad goes, okay, I guess I don't get it. Dad gets it.

He really gets it. But he feels intimidated by wife and daughter because his wife understands something about her daughter that perhaps he doesn't. So he just goes in the background and I say to dads, don't do that. And I would say to moms, if your husband objects to what your daughter's wearing, support him. Listen to that.

Listen to that. Because he knows how people are going to see her more than you do. You're worried that she's going to fit in with her friends and maybe get some attention from guys. He knows how guys are going to look at her and he knows he does not want guys looking at his daughter that way. So dads, you know, stand tough and you need to look over your daughter's wardrobe and have a very strong say about it.

And moms, you need to let him have a say. Okay, so let me talk about the awkward piece for a stepdad. He comes to his wife imagining this conversation and he says to his wife, that's too sexy. What your daughter is wearing is too. Now, all of a sudden he's risking, she's thinking he's perverted, he's sexually attracted to the daughter. He's something like, wait a minute, you're looking at my daughter the wrong way.

What a bind for him. Like, how do I have a voice in that situation? I've thought through this a lot. Let me just throw a little idea at you and you can react to it. I think in situations like this, here's a good rule of thumb for a lot of different circumstances. When you find yourself in an awkward situation as parents, stepparent or whatever, you're trying to work together. Even in your marriage relationship, just an awkward kind of bind. You don't know what to do.

You feel like you can't win for losing. Make that overt. Say out loud what that bind is. So the conversation may go like this. Hey honey, I want to talk to you about the way your daughter's dressing. And first of all, let me just say, you know I love her like crazy. And you know I have the best will for her and I want good things for her. I also know what I'm about to say is going to sound weird and bizarre and a little strange. And it might just communicate the wrong thing. I'm definitely not communicating some sort of sexual attraction to your daughter.

That is not what this is about. I want to help her understand her value separate and apart from what she's wearing. Having said all that, I feel like what she's wearing is just too revealing. I feel like it's not healthy for her. So what do you think about that strategy of say up front, here's the two sides, here's how you might view this, here's what I'm really trying to say, here's what I'm not trying to say, and then you get to whatever it is about the fashion.

I think it's a great idea. There's another tactic you could take, and I don't know if it would work as well, but you could talk about it from the kid's perspective. And you could say, here honey, I'm uncomfortable with it because I know how 14-year-old boys think. And I don't know exactly how 14-year-old girls think. But because I was a boy a long time ago, I'm concerned that those young boys would look at her this way.

And then you're taking the viewing off of your shoulders and putting it on the boys' shoulders. So mom thinks, okay, he doesn't want boys to see her this way. It's not about him seeing her this way. It's about boys seeing her this way. And just say, I know it's hard for you, it's kind of embarrassing, but you know what? Boys at 14 think very differently of girls at 14.

And I just don't want that kid who's just learning to shave, or who already shaves, who's a lot older in her class, looking at her that way. What do you think? Do you think that he may? And if so, what can we do about that? And changing her wardrobe.

I think both work. You're listening to Family Life Today, and we're listening to a portion of the Family Life Blended podcast with Ron Deal and guest Dr. Meg Meeker. Yeah, this is episode 41. So if you want to listen to all of that, please go find that on Family Life Blended. But man, that's good stuff. So good.

And there's more good stuff to come. Yeah, we're going to be talking now about helping kids develop a healthy sexual identity. If somebody listening right now has an elementary age child, what can they begin to do to just help them develop a healthy sexual identity? Well, the hardest part for parents is that kids are going to be in a school system, a public school system that is openly going to work against them. Because a lot of teachers are taught and trained in their teacher training that anything goes with kids, they should never talk against anything, that this is healthy and normal. And that if Samantha in third grade comes in and wants to be called Sam, that's good.

They should support it and go with it and make it very open. What I would encourage parents to do is say, look, your sexuality and your gender is a big part of who you are, but it's not the biggest part of who you are. The biggest part of who you are is that God created you with a mind and a heart and a soul. Yeah, you know, whether you're a boy or whether you're a girl is important and it's entwined in that, but it's not the biggest part of who you are. Because I think one of the biggest problems we have in an oversexualized culture is that we make sexuality and sexual identity and gender identity front and center in a person's life. Kids are profoundly pressured to put a label on themselves, even in third grade. We need to say to kids, okay, I know your friends and your class are thinking about this, but I want to go deeper with you.

I want you to put that aside for a little bit. So ride it out with your kids. Don't just go, oh my, my life is upside down, you know, my fourth grader wants to be a boy.

But when you're in the third grade and Samantha wants to be Sam and she wants to be a boy, and you're in the third grade looking at this person that looks like a girl, but saying she wants to be a boy, that's extremely confusing. So as a parent, you say, you know what, honey, it's complicated. You love her.

You are kind to her. Don't talk to her about it. Don't talk to the teacher about it. If you have feelings, talk to me about it. And then as a parent, talk very, very simply about it and tell your child, as we get older, we're going to talk about this more. But all you need to know right now is it's complicated. It's not part of your life. Be kind to the person.

That's it. Facing the messages of sexuality in the culture, just so hard for kids. It's absolutely everywhere. It's on every screen that they're exposed to, every media, every entertainment source, every song.

It's everywhere. It just seems to be we have got to have ongoing constructive conversation. It's not have a talk.

It's have a series of conversations about sex with your kids, right? Mm hmm. Oh, absolutely. I mean, you know this movie Cuties? I mean, these are 11 year old kids on the cover in seductive sexual positions.

I mean, this is sick. And so if you have a 12 year old, 13 year old, a 10 year old, and she sees that photo, you have to talk to her about that. Because I'll guarantee you, she's being talked to about sex.

Yes. So you better join the conversation. And we know that a parent's opinions, beliefs and perceptions about her or his sexuality carry more weight than media's. So if you allow the media to shape your child's sexual identity, you're doing a huge disservice to kids. Now, I know a lot of parents don't want to do this. I've even had Christian parents say to me, I don't want you to talk to my daughter about sex in this appointment. I say, man, if you don't want me to talk to her about sex, then there's trouble because I'm going to tell her she shouldn't be sexually active.

Okay. And so, I mean, we don't want to shame kids. And I do it in a whole way where you tell kids it's wonderful, but they're made for it for the long haul. So they need to really pay attention to the next five or 10 years. So we talk about it in a very positive way, but we have to have to engage the conversation.

You don't need to talk about the nitty gritty all the time. But you say to your daughter or your son, what do you think about that picture? What do you think about that when you saw that on a movie?

How did that make you feel when you saw that kind of weird pornography picture come across the screen? We got to talk about this because this is really important stuff. Oh, and by the way, son or daughter, they're trying to manipulate you.

And you know you don't want to be manipulated, and I don't want you to. So let's touch base and have a deeper conversation. Let's come back to this whole blended family dynamic for a minute. Because as we're talking, I'm thinking, okay, there's all that cultural stuff going on. And we're trying to combat that within our home and help our kids make sense of what the messages they're hearing in the culture. But I'm thinking about a step family where parent and step parent don't really see eye to eye on this. So now we're adding a whole other layer of parental disagreement about what should be done or what should be said. In particular, if someone's listening and they're a step parent and they're going, man, I want to have those conversations with the children. I'm not sure I can. That's one question. The second one is the biological parent needs to be involved and they won't. How hard is that?

Right? And I just want to say to our listener, you've heard me say a lot that authority is that thing that step parents should move gradually into. You've got to earn your place in a child's life before you become the person handing down consequences and things like that. But I believe that pretty quickly, earlier than that, you can begin to be a tremendous moral influence, building character, teaching them about things like this in life. Now, you've got to get past the awkwardness of talking about sex for the very first time with your stepchildren and you decide if and when it's time to do that. If you're unsure, then let the biological parent take the lead. But that assumes the bio parent will take the lead. And what if they won't?

Then nobody's given any instruction and the kids are just being consumed by the culture. Those are challenging situations, are they not? Oh, they're very challenging. And I think that, well, first of all, you know, you always try to get on the same page. And even though, and I tell parents all the time, negotiate with each other, just negotiate.

You know, you're used to negotiating business deals or things like that. So come to the table and say, you know, these are three things that are very important for me to teach my kids. These are three very important things for me as a stepdad to teach the kids.

And I will honor yours if you honor mine. And one of those is that I feel strongly about teaching our kids, you know, how to handle an over-sexualized culture. Now, if she says absolutely not, you can't do that, they're my bio kids, you can't.

I think the one thing that you can do, A, is give her time and hopefully you can, you know, win her over. But to even talk about things from your perspective, you know, you could even say, you know, guys, I saw this movie and it had this kind of stuff in it and I was really uncomfortable. Have you ever seen anything like that?

And how did that make you feel? And kind of how can she criticize you for that if you're opening up about your experience, seeing something and inviting the kids into that conversation? It's very different than you saying, hey guys, you can't watch that movie. That's R-rated and you're 11 and all this sex is going to be pushed on you like 50 Shades of Grey. It's very, very popular with a lot of teen girls. And I felt badly for dads who are probably silenced going, mothers going, no, no, no, it's okay. So I would try it from that tact if you can't get your spouse on board. I think that you can talk about your response to cultural events, invite the kids in and then make those have to do with sexual innuendo. I appreciate that approach.

I think it's really good. By the way, I think in my experience when a biological parent says to the step parent, no, you can't do that. I don't want you bringing that up. I don't want you talking about this.

Don't say that. I think it comes down to trust. And as you said, so you need more time and it's still about negotiating and finding unity, parental unity in this. So keep the conversation going. It's sort of like become curious step parent at that point. Hey, honey, help me understand what it is that makes you uncomfortable about what I would like to say or what we want to do here.

Because until they trust that what you're bringing to the table is truly going to be good for their child, they're not going to let you do it. Right. So that's what you're chasing in that moment. Keep the conversation going behind the scenes. And if you get into gridlock, you know, get a counselor, a helper, a pastor, somebody else to just kind of join the conversation and maybe help you guys lead through it. There's some sort of roadblock there. And sometimes it's helpful just to have another voice.

Yes. The other thing you could do is ask for her permission to have the kids watch somebody online. I do this a lot, but talk about sexuality and abstinence in a healthy context because maybe they don't want you talking about it, but they'll let another person that you trust talk about it. And there are a lot of people out there who are really advocating for your kids who your spouse may let them listen to. But usually I think if a parent really objects, it's either because they were trained to object.

These are just things you don't talk about. Or they had a bad experience or something like that. But I think you're right, just keep working on the spouse and keep encouraging.

I'll throw something back at you, Ron. The real difficulty I have is when you have one parent who is telling them messages that are healthy and good. And then you have another parent who's got, you know, girlfriends or boyfriends cycling through the house. And, you know, very inappropriate. You know, how do you reconcile that? And the child is moving between two very different homes.

Yes. We actually did an entire podcast on that subject, when the other household has a very different set of values than what you're trying to teach. Podcast number 26, I'll recommend to our listeners two homes, two sets of values from a child's point of view, where we talked with Melody Fabian about her exact experience in that realm. And, you know, one of the things that I think is generally true is that children definitely hear the messages of both homes. They definitely take those in, and because they love their dad and their mom, they want to please them. And that puts them in such a difficult bind. The level of conviction, if that's the right word, a belief that they have about their own values, sometimes can be a guiding light. But if they're not really sure what they believe, then they're just going to waive whichever way the wind blows in whichever home that they're in. And that does lead them to experiment with different kinds of behavior.

And for the Christian parent who's trying to invite their child to walk in the light, that is so difficult to watch and experience. And so the thing that we tell people is you continue to be the influence that you are. In some sense, we all have to send our children into the world, right? It's called adolescence. It's called school.

It's called, you know, hanging out with friends. I mean, there are always going to be worldly influences. Sometimes it's just the other home that's a part of that.

And so we continue to teach and to live and to try to demonstrate the light as best we can and pray, pray, pray, pray, pray that they can move toward it. Are there potholes? Are there, you know, oopses? And are there difficulties in a child's behavior in life? Yes, in the midst of that, absolutely there are. Maintain your connection, your love for them. Continue to demonstrate that. And at the same time, consistency around what you believe and teach and what you want for them. And more often than not, I think kids come back to that.

But it is definitely a challenging situation. The only thing I wanted to add to that is what I've seen is often kids may go, you know, one way or another way during adolescence. But ultimately they recognize what is good and true and right. And often if they're familiar with that, they circle back around and that's where they land in their 20s and 30s. So I always want to encourage the parent who is trying to do the right thing to just be patient, to keep teaching and being an example of where you want the child to be.

And I really believe they'll come back to that because eventually they realize that the lifestyle that the wild parent is having doesn't end well. Wow, Ron, as we've been listening to your Family Life Blended podcast with Meg Meeker, whoa, you guys dove into some issues that are crucial in our homes at this time. Thank you, because we need a biblical perspective on this because we hear the culture's perspective on it all the time. So I'm really glad you guys have talked about this. Yeah, these are real world subjects and, you know, we've got to be ready to go after it as parents, grandparents. You know, one of the things as I reflected on my conversation with Meg that I would just love to add to the conversation right now is we also need to be balanced. I think sometimes in talking to our kids about God's truth, about their sexual identity and their sexuality, that that can inadvertently create a situation where children feel like they have to withdraw from, stand back in judgment of those at school or in their world that don't hold that same biblical viewpoint.

And we would not want that. The one consistent picture we see of Jesus is that he always moved toward people who needed truth. Now, that's a very important balance. We move with truth, but we move toward them emotionally. We connect, we stay in their lives, we engage with them, we draw up close, don't pull back in judgment. And so I think that's a hard balance for me as an adult to coach my child to try to move toward their friends, move toward that kid in school who's gay or lesbian or trans and to still befriend them, love them, be near to them, if you will.

And at the same time, hold on to a biblical viewpoint about their particular lifestyle. That is tricky, that is difficult, but it's something that I think we need to help our children try to do. And I think, Ron, as I'm listening and I'm remembering, even when our kids were back in high school and college, there's a fear in us as parents that we think if our kids are around some of these lifestyles, they'll be coaxed into it. Is that why we're afraid? Because I love what you're saying, move toward them, love them, that's what Jesus did, but why are we so afraid as parents? Yeah, I think that's a legitimate fear, honestly. I mean, bad company ruins good morals, right, Scripture says.

And so that is something to be aware of. But let's just say if we arm our children with love and a confidence in how they posture themselves with their friends, then I think they can come in with a strength, not a weakness. It's the weak child who's going to be influenced by the world.

It's a strong child who's doing the influencing. Yeah, and I think as both you and Meg said, we need to be having conversations with our kids around the dinner table, in the family room, wherever. I think it's easy, you know, when you're not sure what to do and there's different lifestyles and your kids are being exposed to that, you pull away and then you don't even talk about it.

Yeah, we bury our heads. As a family, I think our kids are thinking, what do mom and dad think? And if they're in a blended situation, they're hearing different opinions in different homes.

Possibly. Man, it is a topic that we have to say, what is our perspective? What do we say? How are we full of grace and truth as a family? And then as we send our kids to school or to be around people that have different beliefs and are living different lifestyles, how are they loving in such a way that the trans kid at school wants to be around our kid?

Because they feel loved by him, but they also know they're going to hear the truth from him as well. Yeah, Dave, you nailed it. Let me give our listeners one how-to, very practical. One way you influence your children, in particular teenagers, is talk indirectly to them rather than directly. Hey, listen, son, you need to do this. Daughter, you need to say this, do this.

That might be met with resistance. Talk about yourself. The indirect approach is to say, you know, I've got a coworker and I had a conversation with them the other day and inside I was feeling this little turmoil about, well, do I say the truth or do I continue to just engage them and love on them? And you talk through real world experience for yourself of how challenging it is to posture with love and at the same time hold the truth. And you just tell that story and leave it sitting there. Kids get the message. They hear what you're saying. That's a great way to influence them to try to help them figure out how they're going to walk back into that space with their friends. That's great wisdom.

And what else would we expect from Ron Deal? Thanks. Thanks, Ron, for really giving us tools and helping.

That was awesome. Yeah, I love that talking indirectly with our kids can really deliver a message without them feeling like it's a lecture or we're just trying to fix them. So, so important, in particular, selfishly for me as my kids move into their teenage years in just the next few years.

Yikes. I'm Shelby Abbott and you've been listening to Dave and Ann Wilson with Ron Deal and Meg Meeker on family life today. Meg has given us so much wisdom today and she's written a book called Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy and Safe.

Wow. If that isn't needed right now, this book, you're going to learn certain important truths like what every daughter needs to know about God, why depression is often a, quote unquote, sexually transmitted disease is what she calls it, and how to launch your daughter into successful womanhood. You can pick up a copy of Meg's book at Now, you can listen to the full program with Meg Meeker on our blended podcast in the show notes. And if you are listening to this conversation and wondering how you can help kids in your church or community, you may be interested in this year's Summit on Step Family Ministry, a one day virtual event.

This is the perfect time for you to learn more about how you and your church can minister to blended families in your community. You can learn more about the October 12th virtual event and register by going to Now, coming up next week, Dave and Ann Wilson are going to be joined in the studio with Jordan Rayner. He's going to talk to us about how our work matters, that work is a gift from God and that your work points to God. That's next week. We hope you'll join us. On behalf of Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Shelby Abbott. We'll see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a donor supported production of Family Life, a crew ministry helping you pursue the relationships that matter most.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-07-14 06:31:45 / 2023-07-14 06:43:13 / 11

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