Talking to your middle schooler about sex

Written by The pureHOPE Team
Published on May 06, 2022

At its root, “conversation” means to “turn with” or “dwell with.”  It’s not about crafting the perfect moment to have a one-time, high-pressure sex talk. It’s about creating open, ongoing dialogue in the context of a safe, loving relationship. This is the beginning of a lifegiving, lifelong conversation.

This is part 3 of a 4-part mini-series that will be a field manual and reference through every season of your parenting as you open up conversations about sex. 

In each of our 4 parts, we discuss age-appropriate ways to engage children as they grow in understanding God’s better story about sex. Each part is broken down into three sections: protect, equip, and model

This is how we want you as parents to think about your role in teaching and guiding your child in these conversations that are both planned and organic. 

Here are some ideas to address with your middle school age child as they grow in understanding God’s story of sex.

Middle Schoolers

Protect 

Diligently guard against access and exposure to sexually explicit and exploitative content through content filters and, more importantly, ongoing conversation.

Maintain good boundaries and limits on screen time and tech use. As research continues to confirm the adverse effects of social media—especially on developing young minds— consider holding off on introducing social media accounts until high school. 

Guide appropriate conduct, speech, dress, self-respect, and consideration of others.

Get to know their friends and discuss choosing friends with wisdom.

“My kids accuse me and my wife of being… overly concerned about tech, and they say that none of their  friends have the same rules… That’s because we have seen the dangers of technology firsthand. I’ve seen it in myself; I don’t want to see that happen to my kids.” —Steve Jobs

Equip 

• Continue to talk to your kids about God’s purposes and design for sex—both our sexual stewardship as male or female image-bearers, and God’s design for the sexual union in the marriage of a husband and wife.

Talk about the reality, harms, myths, and lies of pornography and other sexual perversions.

Remember, as bodies change these can be awkward years; affirm your children and answer questions graciously.

Know that masturbation can be a struggle for both boys and girls. Openly discuss this struggle with sons and daughters.

Cultivate dialogue about their increasingly complex feelings and normal physiological responses.

Build your child’s confidence in their worth, noting their unique personalities and strengths and sharing these praises and identity-rooting statements with them often.

Remind them that they are smart and capable.

Model

Think critically about culture and technology, and discuss regularly.

Attend your relationships through active engagement.

Listen! Ask, and make yourself available to answer hard questions.

Consider others in your community who you can point to as role models for your kids.

Every child and every relationship is unique. You won’t always say the exact right thing, but keep engaging your children in an ongoing open conversation.

Check out the full Pocket-Guide to Talking About Sex for Parents for more resources in this area.


Consider a few extra resources:

 

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The pureHOPE Team

pureHOPE exists to proclaim God’s Truth about gender, purity, and sex. Like many people, you may have grown up thinking the Christian worldview of sex was more of a check list or a rulebook. But actually, God is a creative and profound Author, telling a compelling story through His design and purpose for sexuality. Learn more at purehope.net or follow us on social media @findpurehope.

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