Parenting in a Hyper-Sexualized Culture - Radical

Parenting in a Hyper-Sexualized Culture

In a culture that enforces numerous narratives surrounding sexuality, how do we approach parenting children from a Biblical perspective? In this video, Heath Lambert discusses how he tackles parenting as a Christian in a hyper-sexualized culture. Firstly, and most importantly, parents must be deeply in prayer over their children and their children’s generation as a whole. Parents must be completely immersed in interceding for their children, as they seek discernment from the Holy Spirit on even the day-to-day decisions. Even parents will inevitably mess up. Yet, being grounded within Scripture is what guides a parent’s every step in a world preaching an entirely different narrative.

  1. Praying for the Children
  2. Talking About Modesty
  3. Answering Questions Honestly and Age Appropriately
  4. Leaning on Scripture

Parenting in a Hyper-Sexualized Culture

This issue of how you shepherd your children in this kind of hyper-sexualized culture, this is the thing that actually keeps me up at night quite literally. I got three kids, two boys, a nine-year-old boy and a four-year-old boy, and a daughter six. I go into their room at night after they’re asleep before I go to bed, and I pray for them. There’s all kinds of things I pray about for them. I’m going pray that they’ll love the gospel. I pray they’ll love the Bible. I pray they’ll walk with Jesus. But the thing I pray for almost every night is that the Lord would protect them from this culture that has a bullseye on their head.

How do you do that? Well, I think the first thing we have to do is pray for our kids, because there’s so many forces out there that are after our kids and we can’t have any responsibility and do not have any responsibility for those other forces. As far as ministering to our children is concerned, I don’t think I have all this figured out, so ask me this again in 10 or 15 years and maybe I’ll have something more to say. But here are the main things we’re doing.

Talking about Modesty

First of all, we talk about modesty all the time. So I’m modest in our house. My wife is modest in our house. We make sure our kids are modest in our house. And we do that on purpose, not because we’re being prudish, but because we want to occasion the opportunity to talk about, hey, it’s godly to be modest. It’s godly to be covered up. That is a way to express care to others, especially when you look the way I look when I’m immodest. But that’s another story for another day, and you can cut that out if you want to.

But when we talk about modesty, what that does is that gives us a starting point. So we don’t have to talk about pornography. In fact, by the time you’re looking at pornography, you have derailed so badly that it’s hard to even know where to start. So we start at modesty, and we don’t look at immodest people in our house. So if we’re walking by a storefront and there is a picture of a woman hanging there and she’s immodest we look away, because we don’t look at immodest people and we don’t behave immodestly, so we’re starting real early.

If a commercial comes on and there’s an immodest person on the commercial or on the television or on the movie we turn it off, because we don’t look at immodest people. So that keeps us from having to think about something as awful as pornography with a little kid. In fact, my nine-year-old, who at the time was six, asked me… Pornography is a topic of conversation in our house because I wrote this book and people call and they hear us talking about things.

So my son asked me what pornography was one time and I said, “Well, that’s when people get immodest together and they take pictures of it.” And he was like, “Golly, why would anybody want to do that?” But I didn’t have to give him this graphic answer because we’ve been talking about modesty. So we talk about modesty a lot.

Wise Practice of Communication

The other thing that we do is… This is my personal opinion, but I think the days of waiting for the talk are over. That’s my own personal sense. In the good old days you could wait until they were 10 or 12 or 14 or whenever, and that’s when dad was going to sit down with the boys and mom was going to sit down with the girl and we’re going to have the talk and explain everything. My sense… I’m not hitting anybody over the head that still wants to do this, but my own personal sense is that that is not a wise practice anymore.

It was a practice for a day and an age where parents held all the information cards and it was a more modest culture. Now our kids have access to so much information. They’ve got friends who’ve got cellphones at nine. They’ve got friends who’ve got cellphones at nine, and they’re going to other friends’ house who are looking at heaven only knows what, and they’re talking about heaven only knows what, so I think we need to, in my estimation, make the uncomfortable decision that we’re not going to wait for some theoretical age to have the full conversation, but we need to make a commitment that when my kids ask me a question I’m going to be as honest with them as is age appropriate. So when Carson says to me, “What’s pornography,” I’m going to say, “Well, it’s when people get immodest and take pictures of it.”

Now there’s more I could say about that, but for six years old that’s age appropriate. What that does is that trains him that dad’s going to shoot straight with me. The thing I do not want him to learn at all costs is that he would start to think dad told me he wasn’t going to talk to me about that right now. Well, him learning that dad isn’t going to talk to him about that right now does not mean that he’s not going to find out about it. It means he is going to find out about it from somebody that’s not me, and I do not want that.

Answering Questions about Sex

So we have made the uncomfortable decision that that’s what we’re going to do. And I say uncomfortable because I’ve had questions about sex and sexuality that I didn’t want to have, but there they are. And as some encouragement to parents who are nervous about this, my son and I were reading through the Bible, we’re reading through the Bible this year and we got through Deuteronomy, which is tough sledding for an eight-year-old, turning nine. And we got through the first five books and I said, “Okay, Carson, we’re through the first five books of the Bible,” and we’ve been talking about these as we went, but I said, “Hey, let’s just get big flyover. What do you think of Genesis through Deuteronomy?”

He was quiet for a minute and he said, “Well, Dad, if God wants little kids to be reading the Bible then he must not care if they read about sex, because he sure does write an awful lot about it.” So I think there’s a lesson in there. I mean, if we want to be teaching our kids the Bible and having our kids be reading the Bible, try reading the Pentateuch. It’s not for the faint of heart as far as sexuality is concerned.

So I think there’s a lesson there for some parents. We can speak about sex the way God does in the Bible and we can do it in ways that are age-appropriate. So those are a couple of things that we think about.

Heath Lambert, M.Div, Ph.D. is the Executive Director at the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors and also serves as the Executive Pastor for Discipleship and Family Life at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, FL. He is a faculty member at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Boyce College, where he has taught since 2006. Heath is also a founding council board member of the Biblical Counseling Coalition.


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