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In four months my daughter will get married. Her journey through adolescence was similar to other girls. Somedays she had to endure ridicule and name calling for not giving in. And others days she was praised and applauded for saying no.
When I told her I was writing this post for moms trying to raise godly girls she shared a few thoughts with me on what we did that helped her stand for purity in an anything–goes culture.
Jaclyn is very much like your daughter. Friendly, kind, and involved in sports and piano lessons. She was a fashion–conscious teen who wanted to be liked by others.
Like your family, we have lots of conversations: who did what to whom, what were their friends doing, and the latest relationship statuses to name a few. I listened intently to how they described situations and tucked concerning comments away to be discussed privately at a later time.
Tom and I wanted to teach our kids the virtues of adhering to God’s design for marriage. We decided to start talking about dating, sex, and purity early. At the time, we didn’t know exactly how to approach such sensitive topics. Nor did we know how to get the kids to aspire to guard their heart and maintain purity. Many of our friends chose the courtship vs. dating approach. When their daughter reached a certain age, her parent’s would purchase a beautiful ring symbolizing purity and give it to her after sharing the goal of waiting. The ring was a reminder of her desire to wait until marriage to become involved sexually. Some of them included the whole family, while others kept it between the parents and the daughter.
After a lot of prayers, we decided courtship wasn’t for us, but neither was dating. Looking back I see how we combined the ideas of each and came up with our way. We saw nothing positive about casual dating, so we opted out during the high school years. Courtship was too formal and something we chose not to follow.
We often spoke about how important it was to get to know someone apart from the label of boyfriend attached. Jaclyn and the others children had mentioned how this helped them when others inquired about why they weren’t “dating” anyone.
When culture collides with real life
I remember after one of her sports tournaments she wanted to talk about an awkward situation that took place. It went something like this.
“Who will be your comfort buddy tonight?” the girls asked Jaclyn.
She responded, “Excuse me! What do you mean?”
“You know, who will you hook-up with this weekend?”
As you can imagine, I was upset when she told me what she’d been asked by her teammates. These girls were asking my precious daughter who she was going to have casual sex with. Comfort sex! I thought to myself, who has comfort sex at their ages? I’m sure it took me a few minutes to respond because I was trying to gather my thoughts.
When I could finally speak, I let her know I was proud of her.
I realized the courage it took for her to say “no-one” in front of the entire team. The peer pressure to go along with the others was intense. What made it harder was that she was with her teammates at a weekend tournament in another city. I usually traveled with her, but this time I couldn’t go.
As she and I talked, there were four things she specifically brought up.
Develop core convictions
What helped her stand strong was our focus on developing core convictions. They weren’t a list of dos and don’ts she had to follow. They were deeper than that. Core convictions are what gives our kids the courage to say no not now. Those convictions must come from God’s Word. We taught her scriptures that address marriage, love, and, yes, sex. She mentioned how teaching her God’s Word was a tool. When a situation came up, she knew God’s standard. Knowing the Word was an anchor for her to hold on to when confronted, or tempted do what others were doing.
To help your daughter develop core convictions, she must know that God wants her to enjoy being loved and has someone special for her. She needs to trust Him and wait. Don’t be afraid to talk about sensitive topics often. If you don’t, someone else will!
Acknowledge the desire to be loved
Affirm her natural desire to be loved by someone is normal. Talk about the meaning of love and intimacy within the context of marriage. Start this conversation early. We didn’t wait until she asked about sex. The reality is your daughter has already formed an idea from movies, music, TV sitcoms, classmates, and from watching you and your spouse interact. Jaclyn was grateful we were willing to talk about God’s plan for her life. Surprisingly, several of her friends couldn’t talk to their parents about sex or dating or their feelings.
Many times I told the children, I’d rather you long for a partner than jump into something and be miserable for the rest of your life.
Paint visual pictures of why waiting until marriage is worth it
When I see a picture of a couple on social media, I find myself wanting to know more about their story. How they met, when they fell in love, what brought them together. Our girls often wonder the same thing. Painting a picture in their mind about adult life is incredibly valuable. And, a great way to share truths in a non-threatening way. By painting visual pictures of how beautiful intimacy can be when she waits you are helping her look forward to having a healthy sexual relationship with her husband in the future.
Talk with and listen to your child’s struggles
Jaclyn has repeatedly shared how much she appreciated our chats. Your daughter is willing to be open with you if she feels heard and listened to. Talking about dating, kissing, sexting, or other sexual topics can be discussed casually over time when trust is established. It’s important that I tell you, one conversation about the birds and bees will not be enough if you want your daughter to refrain from sexual activity.
The best time to talk to your daughter is when it’s just the two of you. Some conversations will be longer than others. It’s also important to pay attention to her body language. You’ll know when it’s time to change the subject.
Keep the end goal in mind when talking or listening.
She may share thoughts or experiences she’s had that you wouldn’t approve of but, don’t let that become an awkward situation leaving her to feel ashamed or dirty. Be prayerful and let the Lord lead you in your response. It’s better not to say anything until you have time to think about a proper response.
Connie Albers has spent much of her adult life as a homeschool mom and mompreneur with an outreach and ministry to homeschool parents through her speaking and various leadership roles. Balancing her roles as a wife and business partner, speaker, homeschool expert, author, and active volunteer, she has learned to discover resilience and joy within the stop and go of life.
More recently Connie is the Associate Producer for Schoolhouse Rocked: The Homeschool Revolution, a full-length documentary on homeschooling, where she is also honored to be featured in the film. Her newest book by NavPress outlines positive approaches to parenting teenagers. The enthusiasm she has for helping parents navigate social media led to her taking a post at Social Media Marketing World as the Volunteer Relations Manager.
Connie and her husband, Tom, have been married 34 years and have successfully homeschooled their five children, all of whom continued their studies and graduated from the University of Central Florida, each child graduated debt-free. You can also join her in her latest venture of fulfilling her desire to equip women in their calling through her Equipped To Be ministry, and with her website. The Albers family lives in Winter Garden, Florida.