Raising Teens in a Hyper-Sexualized World [Book Review]

As parents of teens and pre-teens, that first conversation about sex, sexual identity, and pornography can be discussions that we feel ill-equipped for, nervous about, and may even want to avoid. As Christian parents wanting to disciple our kids to have the mind of Christ about these things, we must be proactive discussing these topics with them. If we are awkward discussing sexuality with them, it can make them feel even more awkward discussing it with us. No matter how apprehensive you may feel or lost about where to start, there are tools for us to learn how to dialogue on this topic with our teens. One great resource is the compact size book, Raising Teens in a Hyper-Sexualized World by Eliza Huie.

In her book, Eliza highlights seven key tips for having these discussions with our kids. They are:

Tip 1: Don’t overreact

Tip 2: Don’t preach or lecture

Tip 3: Don’t disconnect

Tip 4: Don’t think, “Not my kid.”

Tip 5: Don’t avoid discussing the changes they are experiencing

Tip 6: Don’t underestimate the role you play in your teen’s life

Tip 7: Don’t send teens the wrong messages about sex

Wisdom for Parents

One of the things I appreciate about this tiny book is that the author begins by reminding parents of the importance of taking our own heartbreak over our children’s sexual sin to the Lord first that we may respond “thoughtfully rather than react shockingly.” This also helps us as parents avoid overreacting or responding in anger (12). In doing so, we remain dependent on the Lord for our parenting and shepherding of our kids.

Another helpful point made in the beginning of the book is that “sexual sin is not the unforgiveable sin” (13). This is important for us to remember and to help our teens see their need for Christ to cleanse them of their sin and to know that He will do it. Our teens need to know that God forgives them, and we can too (13). Thus, it makes the goal of repentance more desirable and forgiveness seemingly more accessible (13).

The Big Picture

The last thing I appreciate about this book is that the author’s examples of how to talk to one’s teens about this topic can be applied to any topic.

  • Pray first and talk with God about our own sadness over their sin
  • Ask God for wisdom in how to respond
  • Repent of any sin in our own response whether past or present
  • Reflect and prepare a response to my teen that facilitates communication and pointing them to the Cross

When practicing these steps, we model the relationship with Jesus that we long for them to have with their Heavenly Father. Next, continue to pray proactively for your kids and remember that God is working in both your hearts.

Talking with our teens about sex and the struggles that often come with it helps normalize these conversations and creates healthy discussions and growth opportunities for you as a family while looking to Jesus to guide you each step of the way.

Learn more about Eliza Huie and her work on her website.

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