We have finally completed our four week teaching series at Johnson Ferry that we aptly called “Let’s Talk About Sex.” And we are exhausted. Jenifer and I feel like we risked a lot to boldly go where few people have gone before.
Since so much of our time has been focused on these issues, my blogging has been horribly neglected, so I will do my best to get back into the swing of things. In the coming days, look for more regular posts as you have come to expect them here at INFO for Families.
As we taught, we made numerous references to books that give further insights into the subjects we covered. I figured that this would be the best place to put them.
Though not a book, we have often recommended the Flag Page as a great tool to gain a better understanding of the unique wiring of your kids and/or spouse. As we have said before, your greatest influence on your kids in the area of sex (and just about anything else) will happen through relationship. If your heart-connection with your kids has pooped-out, the Flag Page is the ideal way to get it going again. Go to The Flag Page site to get started.
Here are some of the books we like…
Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality by Jim Burns is an excellent “one stop-shopping” book on issues related to teens and sexuality. It has current statistics, Biblical principles, and a clear action plan to encourage your kids to set healthy boundaries for their sexuality.
A companion book by Jim Burns is The Purity Code. It is a book that can be read by tweens and young teenagers to give them the information they need to make wise decisions. It’s also a great book that you can scan with them and then let them read at their own pace.
Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting our Children is a more cerebral book than most of these. It gives a powerful explanation of the long-term emotional and physical effects of sex on our kids. It effectively provides the scientific reasons why issues of purity are so critical…and it proves that God is right.
Interviewing Your Daughter's Date by Dennis Rainey is THE MANUAL for how a dad should provide oversight into the dating lives of his kids. A few Sundays ago, many laughed out loud when I shared that my girls have to tell boys to call me before they can go out with them. This is not a joke. Our kids (both boys and girls) need clear accountability as they date. And they need to know that their parents are not oblivious idiots. Sadly, many parents tend to be.
Every Young Man's Battle by Stephen Arterburn gives a clear explanation of why and how lust and pornography can totally mess up your life. It coaches teenagers to set clear parameters in these areas. The authors also give some very practical steps to guard your heart and mind. Additional books in the series include Every Man’s Battle (for men), Preparing Your Son for Every Young Man’s Battle (for tweens), and Every Young Woman’s Battle (for teen girls).
For Young Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn is the book that Jenifer highly recommended for teen girls to read. It has many great insights into the mind of the teenage boy. But the biggest takeaway is the content on how boys think about the way girls dress. It opens the door for lots of discussion on why modesty is an important virtue.
For Parents Only: Getting Inside the Head of Your Kid, also by Feldhahn, gives parents helpful insights into the mind of they typical teenager. It will help any parent to look past the external behaviors that drive us crazy and into the heart of what is truly going on inside a teen’s heart and mind. This simple book has the power to diffuse many volatile parent-teen relationships.
I Kissed Dating Goodbye was written by a young pastor named Josh Harris while he was still single. He describes how his dating experiences as a teenager and young adult affected him and his relationship with God. His main argument is that dating, as an institution in our culture, has significant shortcomings and we are wise to be on the look out for them. His perspective is pretty extreme, but worth looking into.
I Gave Dating a Chance by Jeramy Clark was written mainly as a response to the previous book. In it, the author explains how he has been able to make dating work within the context of clear Biblical parameters. An interesting study would be to read the two ”opposing” viewpoints in these dating books and then prayerfully consider what would be most wise in your home and with your kids.
Technical Virgin by Hayley Dimarco deals with the changing definitions of virginity and calls for a return to sexual and emotional purity. Dimarco has a lot of great stuff for teen girls and I would recommend just about anything she has written.
Soul Virgins by Doug Rosenau gives a clear game plan for older teens to maintain their physical and emotional purity. Rosenau lives in Atlanta and is a great counselor on many of these issues.
Hurtby Chap Clark is powerful stuff. Read this book. Chap was at Johnson Ferry’s Ultimate Leadership Conference a few weeks ago and he absolutely rocked our world. We learned more in a few hours about teens and their world and their ability (or inability) to make wise choices on their own than we have learned in five years. Much of his lifetime of research on teens can be found in this book.
For parents who are looking for books and resources to talk to younger kids about these issues, check some tips and ideas from a previous INFO blog post on How and When to Talk to Your Kids About Sex.
Keep checking the blog in the coming days for more resources on this topic. I will be sure to reference some of my favorite websites on these issues, as well as put a few notable video clips up.
For those readers who aren’t in the Johnson Ferry world and who didn’t hear the teaching we did over the past month, we hope to have the audio clips online in a week or so. The INFO For Families podcast should be up and running then, as well.