How do you handle your children entering into the teen years and the changes that go along with that?
Children growing up in our home are learning all along the way, appropriate behaviours and appropriate friendships and about modesty and purity. So, then, when the life changes of the teen years begin to be realized, they are already sort of prepared and it makes our talking with them and our sharing together that much easier. They still face those awkward changes, they still have the up's and down's emotionally, and they still must cross the "divide" so to speak, but they do so with an understanding that we are with them and that God has a very special plan for their lives.
When our children turn 12, we give them a gold chain necklace (Proverbs .1.9) to symbolize the 'changes' in their lives and the pursuit of wisdom and obedience to parents---this is followed by a ruby ring for our girls (Proverbs 7.3)on their thirteenth birthday.. The ring symbolizes purity, their commitment to courtship, and being set apart for God's purposes. Both our sons and daughters are asked to make a commitment to purity, to not give their emotions, their affections, their gifts, and their attentions to anyone who is not their mate---this means that all friends and acquaintances are to be treated as sisters and brothers, fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles, etc., etc. That no person is to be given the attention/affection that wouldn't be appropriately given to their brother or sister. We further amplify that by asking them to curtail close friendships members of the opposite gender than themselves. We *know* they will have close friends of opposite gender---this is natural when families are close with other families, but this is when we encourage the "brother -sister" type friendship and not the privately close sort of friendship that would likely lead to inappropriate intimacy.
One day they will either give that chain and ring to their spouse and then one of their children.
These occasions are special and have taken place both at home and then at a special restaurant with just mother and dad and that son or daughter.
Our 'talks' with them about sex kind of evolve from the time they are about 8 or 9... depending on how much they seem to grasp, and their maturity, etc. We add to this 'information' from time to time and then around the time they seem to be ready to talk courtship and what it means to remain pure, they are ready to hear some more of the 'facts.' Which is not hard... at least for our older ones so far, bcz they have been through so many of my pregnancies that they have had their basic questions answered through the course of living. I try to be factual with them and not make a big deal of it... also, I keep very specific details to a minimum---they'll experience that naturally when the Lord's timing allows it.
I want them to have enough 'information' to understand what to avoid and to have their 'plans' in place in advance---and what it means to 'save those gifts' for their wife or husband. We tell them that God has given them all these wonderful gifts and that they mustn't squander them along the way by casually giving away the first kiss, and casually giving away the first hug, or the first love letter, or the first 'love.' That they not get to the alter and have to apologize for all the precious "firsts" and precious gifts they threw away on their 'trial' models and not have anything left for the real mate.
Our older son's life was guided by these decisions and commitments and his wife is thankful that she is his "one and only--everything." Our other children have had the teaching and have seen it modeled. Now we trust God to carry them through and help them guard their hearts and decisions.
We trust God for His perfect plan for each of them.
That's the most important thing when wondering what to tell and when.
In Jesus---pamela spurling