Today’s TableTalk is by Andy Braner. Andy is passionate about kids, especially teens. Andy runs a terrific youth camp focused on Christian worldview training & fun in southern Colorado (Camp Kivu – check it out), is a widely sought-after speaker and author of three books. His latest of which peels back the layers on what kids are faced with in the area of sex and relationships. Oh yeah, he & his sweet wife Jamie Jo have five kids. What Andy has to say may be hard hitting, but we need to know and act on it.
Check out Andy’s new book at The Pantry.
Thanks for sharing, Andy!! … and thanks for walking the road with me.
AND NOW FOR THE PARENTS’ EDUCATION ABOUT TEEN SEX
Ever wonder what your kids are learning at school? Sure, they bring home homework, projects, practice. But what about their at-school lives?
From the last two years of walking school hallways and talking to kids from myriad high schools, I’m afraid I know some of what parents don’t know about their kids’ weekdays. And I’m here to say the news is grim. Parents, your teens are learning about sex in ways you never imagined while most of you get an F in awareness.
But let me back up a moment. Remember when dating was just dinner and a movie? Remember when asking a girl out was a big deal? Remember when the homecoming dance came after a talk from a dad about taking care of his daughter?
Are you sitting down?
Your kids’ high school worlds today are bustling with sexuality so explicit and so unrelated to romance that it would make your hair stand on end. Oral sex among teens today, as one young woman said to me, “is like holding hands.”
Moms, dads, youth leaders: dating in 2011 is way beyond the school dance on Friday night. Many teens score a casual hook up almost every night. And the hook-up system runs online, on Facebook and Skype and in texting; and it’s shaped a dating culture filled with killer twists and turns.
And it’s time to reengage in the discussion with your kids on teen dating and sexuality.
Earlier this year I wrote a book called “An Expose on Teen Sex and Dating.” My thesis is that if we can begin talking to our kids about dating and sexuality earlier and earlier, we have a chance to curb the dangerous relationships the culture is pressuring them into.
“Expose” is not a fearful book; it’s intended to inform and equip parents to talk with their teens about today’s dating reality.
Because when parents have a chance to form a bond of trust with their teens, they can help mentor and coach their high school students through the compromising situations most of them are negotiating. After all, the average age of a person’s first sexual experience is 12.
(That’s right: 50 percent are older than age 12 . . . and 50 percent are younger.)
Parents need to rise up and have frank discussions with their sons and daughters about what’s going on as kids at school hang with their friends. And begin to paint a picture of healthy relationships.
Parents can help their teens understand how to talk with other teens with civility, and to run from the course conversations that prevail today. And that’s just for starters.
If we can paint a picture of what marriage should be like, using biblical principles as our guide, we can help our teens return to full and meaningful dating relationships minus the cloud of confusion caused by physical misunderstandings.
Our teenagers long for significance, value, and love. It just so happens they are turning to instant gratification through sexual encounters that deceive them into thinking something physical will fill the void of loneliness in their soul.
As a teen advocate for kids around the world, my goal is to both create and provide resources to turn up the conversation about dating and sexuality. Relating to the opposite sex can be real and life-giving–rather than an evil place kids that should steer clear of.
If God has created us in His image, then we have a call to encourage the image of God through our teens.
It can be scary. Both sides have let a lot of time go by with a lot unsaid, but our kids need their parents more than they know.
Parents, will you help begin the conversation?
With more than 15 years of experience in working with young people, Andy Braner uses his speaking and writing skills to teach teenagers and college students what it means to live out the Christian worldview. As founder and director of Camp KIVU in Colorado and through an innovative Gap Year program, Andy remains personally involved in the lives of teens.