Chapter 5

Can You Give Me a Strong Foundation?


But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.

James 3:17

We had the privilege of building our home in the suburbs of San Diego. If you know anything about earthquakes and fault lines, you know the great San Andreas Fault runs the length of California. To meet code, our home was built to withstand at least a 6.0 earthquake. Bill went above and beyond, putting steel rebar into the concrete foundation. His extra time and effort was worth it. Since we built the home there have been at least three sizeable quakes that should have knocked it to the ground. Other homes were damaged, but not ours! We are rock solid!

In a state that has more than 500 earthquakes each year that are strong enough to be felt, it is vital to have a strong foundation and be prepared.1 The good news is, just as a building can be retrofitted to strengthen it against a quake, you can go back and retrofit your family’s foundations. If your children are still young, you can create a plan to lay a strong foundation from the very beginning. So what is a strong foundation, and how do you lay one?

Secure Footings

When we built our home, Bill dug deep to place steel rebar footings in so the foundation wouldn’t slide and crack. In the same way, if we help our kids appreciate the value of digging deep into God’s Word, their lives are less likely to slide from the securely centered and healthy foundation you are laying for their lives.

Truth Is Secure

There are many reasons we believe that the Bible is true. Let’s look at just three of them.

First, God’s Word proclaims it. John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” And this truth is eternal. First Peter 1:24-25 says, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” God Himself has proclaimed that the Bible is true!

Second, history and science have caught up to the truth of the Bible. For much of early history, people thought the earth was flat. In Isaiah 40:22 the prophet boldly proclaims, “He sits enthroned above the circle of the earth.” He wrote this before the concept of a spherical earth was first theorized by the ancient Greeks—and well before the idea was finally proven!

This is just one simple example of science and history catching up to the truth of God’s Word. There are ample examples, and exploring more of this kind of truth with your child will also create a secure environment. We enjoyed many children’s resources from the Creation Studies Institute, the homeschooling world, and Christian bookstores.

Finally, our lives echo the truth of the Word. God declares certain things will happen when you come into a personal relationship with Jesus. You will be able to understand the Word, live out the fruit of God’s Spirit, and turn from darkness into God’s wonderful light. Our personal stories and yours, once you begin a relationship with Jesus, reflect the power of the truth of God’s Word. Job 19:25 declares, “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.” Revelation 12:11 gives an example of victory over Satan; “They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” Believers throughout the centuries have been so convinced of the truth that they have risked their lives to spread it far and wide.

As you interact with your child, remark on it when you see God being faithful to His Word. While teaching at a family conference in Cannon Beach, we met an amazing military family that had homeschooled all of their eight children. Most of the children were grown and were leaders in their careers, communities, and churches. As I interacted with the mom, she would say, “Wow! God did that!” After a few days of receiving her exuberant reply back while conversing, I asked her about her personal tagline of “God did that!” She said she had been saying it to her children all day, every day, for most of their lives as she saw God intervene or be faithful to His promises. It is no wonder all of her kids are equally excited about life, leadership, and following a God who “did that!”

When a child sees God is real and His truth reigns, that child will more easily obey and honor that truth. Stan and Brenna Jones emphasize the connection sex education has with an accurate view of God and God’s truth:

Here is our vision: that children grow up with godly, age-appropriate discussion and teaching about sexuality as a regular part of their relationships with their parents. Why? Because parents are God’s agents for shaping the sexual characters of their children. And we believe that both parents and children can trust God’s wisdom about sexuality throughout their lives, because that wisdom is given for their good.2

Truth Is Two-Sided

To make wise choices in your personal life, one must see truth as a two-way street. God gives truth, and that truth must be seen as ultimate truth, a truth that trumps all other opinions. And because God’s truth is preeminent, it ranks higher than the media, educational systems, or family patterns. Once a person views God’s Word as the final say, it is easier to choose to obey and live in harmony with it.

We played an ongoing game with our kids over the years we called, “Does It Match?” You might be familiar with the card game where you lay cards facedown on the floor or a table and flip them over one at a time, trying to make pairs from memory. We adapted this concept with our kids so that cartoons, TV shows, movies, or people’s life choices would all be filtered through the truth of God’s Word. We would ask, “Does this match up?”

Let me give a few examples of what this might look like in everyday life at various ages and stages of development:

Preschool through early elementary: While watching a cartoon, if something didn’t match up to God’s Word the TV went off and we used it as a learning time. For example, one day while our sons were watching “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” the turtles began chanting a mantra common in Eastern mystic religions. I (Pam) shut the TV off, opened up the Bible to the 10 Commandments, and read about God’s command to have “no other gods.” I then flipped through a few Old Testament Bible stories that gave examples of what happened to people who didn’t give God all their worship.

After I read the negative stories and explained what God took away for disobedience, I would find stories showing God’s blessings for obedience. Then we would act those stories out or come up with a game to illustrate the lesson. I was a pretty cool mom in the eyes of the three sons as I helped make swords and shields so they could defeat the armies of the Philistines. (It’s amazing what a little duct tape and a rolled-up newspaper can become in the hands of a mighty warrior for God!)

To pull this off, you as a parent have to make two commitments. First, you can’t use the TV as a babysitter. You have to at least be within earshot and tuned in enough to hear the plotline and vocabulary of what’s playing. Second, you have to know what is in God’s Word yourself so you can lead the matching game.

Later elementary through early junior high: After our children could read fast enough to read what was printed on a TV screen (usually around second grade), we rewarded self-initiated discernment. We had a “Discernment jar” for each child, and any good decision could result in a marble being dropped into his jar. Good behavior, good actions toward another, and good discretion in media choices could all garner a marble. A quick example might be when the boys were watching a pre-approved television channel and spotted something that went against God’s Word (a magic spell, for example). If they shut off the TV and came to us so we could go back and watch with them and talk about what they saw, they would get a marble in the jar. We discovered even Disney and some of the family channels began to slip into some non-biblical choices. Sometimes they would show engaged couples sleeping together (even if sex was not shown) or two men or two women raising a child. Sometimes a few swear words slipped through.

When the jar was full, they could go to the local Christian bookstore and buy a new book, movie, or CD. We liked to reward good discernment with tools to promote more good discernment! In junior high, we expanded the shopping options to include favorite sporting goods stores as well.

Junior high on up: At this point we kicked the Teen Media Contract into place. (We’ll discuss this in detail in a future chapter.) As parents, we wanted to roll the ball into their court—although we retained veto power if they completely missed the mark! With the contract came the privilege and responsibility of buying their own media with their own money. We did offer some ways to earn more money. If they read a book (either a Christian book or one from a list of classics) and discussed it with us, we would give them a gift card to buy another book (or movie or CD) from the Christian bookstore.

Decisions That Protect

Discernment doesn’t just happen. Kids will naturally slide to the lowest common denominator. God tells us we must teach discernment. In Psalm 119:66 (NASB) the psalmist writes, “Teach me good discernment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments.” And in Proverbs 1:4-5 (NASB) we learn, “To give prudence to the naïve, to the youth knowledge and discretion, a wise man will hear and increase in learning, and a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel.”

So we are to pray for and practice good discernment and knowledge (knowledge is what you learn; discernment is how you apply it). Invite your child to grow into more and more responsibility in gaining the wisdom he or she needs. Teach your son or daughter to prioritize, pray for, and pursue discernment and wisdom, much like Solomon asked for in 1 Kings 3:9-14:

“So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong. For who is able to govern this great people of yours?” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had asked for this. So God said to him, “Since you have asked for this and not for long life or wealth for yourself, nor have asked for the death of your enemies but for discernment in administering justice, I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor—so that in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in obedience to me and keep my decrees and commands as David your father did, I will give you a long life.”

Seek the Answers to Foundational Questions

In these early years, you need your own pursuit of wisdom. You will have your own list of questions that might come up, but here are some common ones with answers so you can be prepared:

When is it okay to change a child’s clothing in public?

Diaper changing sets a reliable pattern in place. Because of the smell of diaper changing, most parents look for a place away from the crowd to change a diaper. A similar choice is wise as you move into the potty training stage. When your child is a toddler, train both yourself and your child to always look for a private place (a car, bathroom, etc.) for the quick change. When the child is about three, listen to him or her for clues about being uncomfortable changing in public.

Who should a child bathe or shower with?

A simple way to know things need to change in having the kids in the tub together is if one child becomes uncomfortable or asks too many questions. Don’t allow too much touching or “playing doctor.” To save time, some parents will take a small child into the tub or shower with them. If you are the opposite gender, stop this practice when the child becomes aware of your gender and comments on it, or if any negative or uncomfortable feelings arise in you. If you are never comfortable, then never do it. Even if you are the same gender, if the child begins asking uncomfortable questions or touching in an inquisitive way, or if you are feeling uncomfortable in any way, then it is time to allow the child to bathe more independently.

What if my child sees me naked?

Dr. Thomas Fitch suggests:

Young children are often present with parents of either sex as they dress. This is natural. As your child gets older and more verbal, he may ask questions about the shape and look of your body…Again, such questions are normal and healthy. This provides another teachable moment for the discussion of anatomy. Privacy should become more the rule when the parent or child is uncomfortable with exposure. In general, by the time your child is four or five, you shouldn’t be naked intentionally around him. Accidental exposure now and then isn’t a problem during the preschool and early elementary years.3

Parents shouldn’t be freaked out by a child’s willing nudity, yet we parents should also be respectful of the proper time, place, and amount of nudity we condone. Too much nudity too early can lead to early desensitization of a child’s mind, while overreaction implants a negative memory toward their bodies or nakedness in general, which could be a problem if it crops up later as an adult. Stan and Brenna Jones lay a simple principle in place: “We would recommend that parents not obsessively guard against seeing family members naked [at this preschool stage], but also that nudity not be flaunted in the family.”4

What if I discover my child playing doctor?

Dr. Steven Atkins gives a commonsense answer to the predicament of discovering children playing doctor:

It can be kind of a shock to walk in on your preschooler and her friend to discover they both have their pants down and one is giving the other a shot on the bottom. While it is not unusual for kids this age to be curious about each other’s bodies, and to want to learn about them, they need to know that touching other people’s private parts is off limits. If you discover [children] playing doctor don’t scold them and make them feel ashamed of themselves. Instead, very calmly tell them to pull their pants up and let them know that everyone has private parts that aren’t for touching. Then redirect their play. Later on bring it up with your child and ask her if she has any questions about her body and answer those questions honestly and matter-of-factly. You should also talk with the other child’s parents about what happened so they are aware of how you handled the situation. This is a good opportunity to talk with the other parents about how they would handle a similar situation. It’s always useful to know where other parents stand on things, and whether or not you agree with the way they’d approach various issues. After all, you are entrusting your child to their care when she is at their house.5

As a parent, be aware that there is a difference between “playing doctor” with another child approximately your child’s same age, which can be a simple display of curiosity, and molestation that can be inflicted by an older child upon a younger one (often because that child has been sexually abused by another person).

What if I discover my preschooler touching himself?

Preschoolers spend a lot of time touching themselves, but at this early stage it is not masturbation but rather a way of self-soothing. However, the behavior should be handled, not ignored. If ignored, it can grow into an issue. If you observe this behavior, say something like, “It feels good to have the water run over your penis, doesn’t it? (Or to touch your privates.) That is because God made our bodies to feel good. But that part of your body is private. It is special. It is special because when we get married someday, we can love each other in a special way. So, honey, this touching is not for you to do right now.” Then distract the child with another activity. If the behavior is constant (many times every day for months, much more than their friends the same age), consult a pediatrician or therapist.

What if a friend or child in our home uses words we do not approve of?

If a child (yours or a friend’s) brings home a slang word, assume they are confused and set the record straight by simply explaining, “We don’t use that word in our home or family. Some people use that word to mean [explain the definition in a way that preserves as much of your child’s innocence as possible]. So from now on we won’t use that word, okay?”

We then took the next step and asked where our child heard the word. We would then pray about what we would do. Some steps might include talking to that child’s parents and carefully monitoring the time our children spent in his or her company.

How long can my child use opposite gender’s bathroom?

This one used to be easier in generations past when life was safer. A good rule of thumb used to be that if a child could read the words on a public restroom door, it was time for them to use the bathroom assigned to their gender. However, extra precaution should be taken on behalf of the child even if it makes a few adults a little uncomfortable.

When our sons were growing up, a boy in junior high was assaulted and stabbed to death in a public restroom at the same beach our family always visited. Until that moment, everyone felt safe. The bathrooms were nice and clean and there were usually plenty of good families and moral people around. However, when this young man didn’t return, the aunt who was nearby went into the bathroom and found her nephew dead from stab wounds. Eventually, a known pedophile living nearby was arrested. When this happened, our oldest son was also in junior high.

We had always tried to send our sons either with their dad, a friend, or another brother to any public bathroom. Going in pairs was mandatory. If I was alone with a son and he was over the age of six, I would allow him to use the men’s bathroom but I would stand outside the door. We had an agreed-upon time limit. If my son didn’t come out in that time, I would first ask a man exiting to go back in and ask, “Is there a boy in here whose mom is Pam?” (I didn’t want strange men to know my son’s name.) If no man exited, I would prop the door open and simply say, “Is anyone in there?” Typically my son would shout out and I could verbally check on his safety.

Having your mom stand outside the public bathroom might be a bit embarrassing, but if you play it cool and simply act nonchalant, it doesn’t need to be something that embarrasses him or threatens his masculinity. And at least equal precaution should be taken with a daughter. Trust your gut. In some settings, like at church or your kid’s school, you might be able to allow kids to fly solo to use the facilities, but again, if in doubt, don’t risk it.

Keeping the Foundation from Fracture

In a world that is more and more sexually saturated, with societal restraints and morality being worn away, our kids are more at risk than ever of being victimized by sexual predators. A third of all girls and a quarter of all boys will be sexually molested between the ages of four and nine.6 The pain reverberates: “Eighty percent of the people I work with who struggle with sexual sin were sexually abused as children,” notes Mark Laaser.7 This is a parent’s worst nightmare, so let’s discuss how to protect the kids.

Only seven percent of children are molested by strangers. That means ninety-three percent of children who are molested are abused by people they know and trust. The likelihood of sexual abuse doubles in a blended family. Stepbrothers and stepfathers are the most likely perpetrators. Children who are at higher risk include those with a mother with a negative view of sexuality, those who are isolated from friends and have a poor relationship with their parents, those living in poverty, and those whose parents are poorly educated.8 Also at risk are children who don’t have a strong male role model at home, those who are shy or disabled, and those who are quite naïve (lacking street smarts or that “something is wrong here” gut feeling).

We hate to have to prepare you with this information, but you should know the tell-tale signs of concern that should alert you that sexual abuse may have occurred. Your child might experience behavioral problems or be showing signs of physical pain or changes (including vaginal or rectal bleeding, pain, itching, swollen genitals, discharge or infections). Your child’s behavior might become suddenly sexualized by things like compulsive genital touching, overt sexual actions or comments, or seductive or inappropriate behaviors or comments. You might also see more subtle emotional changes like sleep problems, depression, withdrawal, a lower sense of self-worth, fear, anger, or anxiety if you leave his or her presence, and a sudden tendency to keep secrets.

Profile of a Pedophile

Most molesters are male and typically over 30. Most sexual abuse is by a family member. The most frequent type (but least talked about) is an older brother molesting a younger sister; it is five times more common than the most publicized type—a father molesting a daughter. The majority of molesters are single. If married, their union usually lacks intimacy. The abuser is often also a past victim of child molestation himself.

If you are new to a friendship, look for these warning signs:

• He has gaps in his employment or personal history (which might reflect jail time or moving to avoid being caught).

• He is often fascinated with children and prefers children’s activities.

• He will often refer to children in pure or angelic terms, using descriptions like innocent, heavenly, divine, pure, and other words that describe children but seem exaggerated.

• He has hobbies that are childlike, such as collecting popular expensive toys, keeping reptiles or exotic pets, or building plane and car models.

• He has few friends his age.

Pedophiles often target children of a specific age. Some prefer younger children, some older. He often seeks out children of the same age he was when he was victimized. Many pedophiles seek out children close to puberty who are sexually inexperienced, but curious about sex. Often his environment will be decorated in childlike decor and will appeal to the age and sex of the child he is trying to entice.

The pedophile will often be employed or volunteer in a position that involves daily contact with children. This will often be in a supervisory capacity such as sports coaching, unsupervised tutoring, or a position where he has the opportunity to spend unsupervised time with a child. He might chaperone camping or overnight trips; frequent video arcades, playgrounds, or shopping malls; offer babysitting services; participate in internet gaming with children; join social networking websites; and even become a foster parent and betray those who most need to be protected. They may frequent children’s events even if they have no children or grandchildren.

The pedophile often seeks out those who come from troubled or underprivileged homes. He then showers them with attention and gifts, enticing them with trips to desirable places like amusement parks, zoos, concerts, or the beach.

Pedophiles are masters of manipulation. They first become a child’s friend, building up his or her self-esteem. They may refer to the child as special or mature, appealing to their need to be heard and understood and then enticing them with adult-type activities that are often sexual in content, such as viewing X-rated movies or pictures. They offer them alcohol or drugs to hamper their ability to resist activities or recall events that occurred.

Many times pedophiles will develop a close relationship with a single parent in order to get close to their children. Once inside the home, they have many opportunities to manipulate the children using guilt, fear, and love to confuse them. If the child’s parent works outside the home, the pedophile has all the time he wants to abuse the child.

Pedophiles stalk their targets and will patiently work to develop relationships with them. It is not uncommon for them to be developing a long list of potential victims at any one time. One factor that works against the pedophile is that eventually the children will grow up and recall the events that occurred. Often pedophiles are not brought to justice until such time occurs and victims are angered by being victimized and want to protect other children from the same consequences.9

Sex offenders can be tough to spot on the surface as some are married and hardworking, employed within a wide range of occupations. They are usually well-liked and respected community members, and may even be well-educated and regular churchgoers. However, a more sure sign is that they relate better to children than to adults.

Answers to Have Ready

Create a S.A.F.E. place to grow up by checking a child’s…

Skills to Speak Up

Teach your child that their body is private. They own their body and all rights to it. Teach your child as early as possible to close the door or go into a private room or bathroom to change his or her clothes. In addition, give your child the power to speak up and teach them that…

• It is never okay for anyone to touch your private parts (except a parent or doctor to protect your health).

• It is never okay for anyone to ask you to touch their private parts.

• It is never okay for anyone to ask to see you naked or ask you to see them naked.

• It is never okay for anyone to ask you to be sexual with someone else while they watch.10

• Don’t explain—just go! Leave the person and the place.

• If you can’t leave, yell for help!

• If they threaten you or your family, they are liars and weak. Go and tell!

• If they say it’s your fault, don’t believe them. Go and tell!

• If they promise gifts or money, it is not worth it. Go and tell!

• Tell your mom, your dad, your teachers, your pastor, or the police. Tell it until someone does something to stop it.

Tell your child that No means no! Reinforce this when your child is playing at home, even just roughhousing with you or siblings. If they say, “Stop!” abide by their wishes. Compliment your child when they give an opinion, speak up, correct others, or show leadership. Confident, courageous, assertive kids are harder targets for pedophiles.

Give your kids permission to tell you anything sexual in nature without worrying that you’ll overreact. Satan’s greatest tool is darkness, so when you shine the light by talking about this or any sexual topic, it is like taking a flashlight to a cockroach—they run for cover. If your child feels free to talk with you about his or her feelings about a friend, a family member, or a babysitter, you have a better chance of protecting them.

Adult Involvement

Are any adults showing uninvited attention toward your child? Do any adults or older teens show behaviors that make you or your child uneasy? In a church, school, or community setting have the adults been properly vetted to spot anyone who might have a background with sexual violations?

Trust your instincts! If you are in God’s Word, praying, and doing your due diligence, you should trust your instincts as a parent to protect and equip your child to live in this broken world. If a girl feels uncomfortable with another adult touching even an acceptable area of the body, respect her instincts and allow them to guide your response. If a boy becomes shy or uncomfortable around a peer, older child, or adult, remove him from the situation while you gather more information. Give your son or daughter encouragement to always talk to you anytime someone makes him or her feel uncomfortable.

Friendship Circle

Do any of your child’s friends have parents going through a family trauma (divorce, domestic violence, etc.)? Do any of your child’s playmates have parents or older siblings with addictions to drugs, alcohol, or other behavior-altering substances? Do you know if any of your child’s friends’ siblings are sexually active or have been molested themselves?

If your child tells you about a playmate who is watching media you are uncomfortable with, if their playmates’ parents are experiencing marital problems, or if they have much older siblings who seem to show overt and unusual amounts of attention to your child, put some space in the relationship. If you doubt the attentiveness of the parent of one of your child’s playmates or if your child communicates neglect (saying that the parent is distracted or unavailable when your child is visiting), don’t allow your child to visit their home alone. If you know a child has been sexually molested, make sure their interactions with your child are supervised at church, school, or in your home. It is just better to be safe than sorry.

Environment and Atmosphere

Are your yard and home difficult to access or walk into undetected? Do you have play spaces within the home in close proximity to the busy high traffic areas where adults can easily oversee children playing? Have you gone to a sex offender registry website to discover which homes in your neighborhood might have a convicted (but released) sexual offender living there?

If your child attends a church, community or school-sponsored class, are there at least two adults in the room, and are there windows and open doors to raise the adults’ accountability?

If a child goes to others’ homes, do you know the backgrounds of the adults and older siblings who live there? Do those parents give sufficient attention to children playing? Do you know and agree with the songs, TV, movies, or internet use of the homes that your child visits? Early sexual exposure can lower natural resistance toward sexual exploration or sexual games predators sometimes use.

One last note: If you discover that a friend, family member, or neighbor has a history of a sexual offense, ask this person for a meeting and simply explain that you have discovered some information that is troubling your heart. State what the information is, and then ask him to explain his story. Thank him and tell him you will be confirming his story before you discuss any future interactions between him and your family. By asking for their story and confirming it with a second source, you might discover an error in judgment of a young adult (perhaps sexual assault charges) filed by the zealous parent of a girl who had remorse over her premarital sex but didn’t want to own up to being a willing partner. In many places around the world, little or no differentiation is made between violent serial sexual offenders and an 18-year-old youth whose teenage girlfriend complied with his sexual advances.

Consult a counselor, police officer, or other professional who can explain to you the relapse rate of various offenders. For example, pedophiles who are repeat offenders will likely reoffend, while a middle schooler or high schooler who is in treatment might be safe for your family to be around (in a very structured setting with consistent adult oversight). A teen who had a one-time sexual offense but came to Christ and has years of a clean record could be safe to interact with if your families are very close, although a clear plan would need to be in place for any family gathering. Always err on the side of the child’s safety.

Parent to Parent

When talking with another parent at this stage, it will likely be to negotiate childcare and discuss privacy rules in the home where your child will visit or be cared for. Explain your comfort level in the vital areas and simply ask them if they are willing to accommodate you. Here are a few common examples:

“At our home, since we just have boys, the kids all take a bath together. There might be questions if the kids bathe with your girls. We would prefer not to have to put you in a place to have to be asked those kinds of questions, so would you mind if the boys bathed separately?”

“We just explained how this baby got inside mommy’s tummy. We told Sarah that every family explains things differently and at different times, so if she happens to bring anything up, would you mind just telling her something like, ‘Let’s talk about something else right now and you can save that special conversation for your mom and dad.’ Are you okay helping us push pause on her questions so we can deal with them later?”

Simply treat others as you would have them treat you and most of your parent-to-parent discussions should go smoothly. Sometimes these conversations turn into mentoring moments as some moms and dads might ask you how you handle some of these more sensitive topics. This is a wonderful time to dialogue about your values and beliefs. Be sure to not preach or lecture, but simply share, “What we believe is…” or “What we think God wants us to do is…” Explain your point of view and allow them time to process the information.

Answers for Your Heart

For you to gain the ability to lead your child in God’s truth, you need to have a growing relationship with God in His Word. To grow, you must PLANT God’s Word into your life consistently:

Probe: Ask questions, then go to mentors, Logos Bible Software, commentaries, or a study Bible for answers.

Listen: Hearing other people teach the Bible and relate how it is affecting their lives encourages growth in all of us.

Acquaint yourself: There is no substitute for reading God’s Word consistently. Get a One-Year Bible or download a reading plan from a trusted ministry and try to read the Bible cover to cover.

Nail it down: Memorizing specific verses makes them readily accessible so they are ready when you or your kids need them most.

Think it over: Apply the Word with questions like, “How do I live this out? And how does this apply to my life?”

Truth is your ally. When you lay out God’s truth of what is right and wrong in the area of sexuality, piece by piece in age-appropriate ways, your child will know when to call out for help and say, “This is wrong! Leave me alone!” One leader put it this way:

Many “experts” today, in their rush to always make kids feel good about their sexuality and in their hesitancy to establish any moral norms whatsoever, recommend parental tolerance of even the most outrageous of childhood sexual experiences. This is unwise. Establishing clear norms for acceptable and unacceptable behavior for your children is part of protecting them. It’s part of helping them enforce clear boundaries of protection for themselves. The best way to prevent abuse of your children is to build their character by giving them the beliefs, skills, and supportive environment that will best protect them.11