GodsDesign Sampler FULLSAMPLER-compressed - Page 40



How and When to Tell Your Kids about Sex
You must also find within yourself the energy to give emotionally to
your child when you yourself undoubtedly feel in tremendous need of
having someone minister to you. A danger in s­ ingle-­parent homes is that
­children will be moved into the role of parenting the parent, and particularly into meeting the emotional needs of the parent rather than the reverse.
If you are a single parent, encourage your child’s relationships with
­same-­sex adults who are loving and trustworthy. Sometimes this can be
the e­ x-­spouse, a grandparent, a neighbor, or a significant S­ unday-­school
teacher. Our churches should be active in such ministry. A parent can
exhort or challenge his or her church to encourage such forms of support;
after all, the Bible speaks frequently of care for the “fatherless.”11 Such
relationships do not always have to be demanding or emotionally intense
to be important.
Parents’ Own Struggles
Even when the ­same-­sex parent is present, if he or she is aloof, cold, and
distant or is an undesirable figure (such as an alcoholic or a chronically
emotionally disturbed person), the child can resist becoming like the parent. Conflict between the parents is also very destructive, especially conflict
that forces the child to choose sides. Spiritual disunity, where one spouse is
a believer and the other is not, or where spouses are at very different places
spiritually or morally, presents complications.
Additionally, the attitudes of the ­other-­sex parent can be a problem.
For instance, imagine a mother who struggles with negative feelings about
men in general and about her husband in particular. When she makes snide
comments about the father and men in general and communicates general
emotional discomfort with “things masculine,” she can discourage her son’s
identification as a man.
If you face struggles such as these, you simply must find a way or ways
to address the problems. Confront, confess, and change negative attitudes
for the sake of the child. In cases of parental absence, aim to give your child
options for having positive gender m
­ odels—­models of older, stable figures
of the same sex as the child which the child could want to “imprint” on.
Help create a context where an uncle or aunt; a grandparent; a close adult
friend; a ­youth-­group leader; a neighbor; or some other ­same-­sex, present,
significant, and reliable adult is available and builds a positive relationship
as a bridge to facilitate proper gender identification for the child.
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