Before you tackle the job of steering your child's decisions about sex, we recommend you (and any other parenting partners) come to agreement on the basics.
- Are we in agreement with each other about our standards for sexual activity? (For example: The healthiest standard is faithful sex with only ONE uninfected lifetime partner)
- What age have we agreed is appropriate for dating? Does it vary for group dates? Car dates? One-on-one dates?
- What dating activities are appropriate and inappropriate for our children? (Swimming dates? Movie choices? Time alone?)
- What character qualities do we want our children to look for in their spouse? Trustworthiness? Dependability? Honesty? How will we help our children identify and evaluate these qualities in their relationships?
- In knowing and understanding our children, what kind of person would best complement each of our children? (See "The List." Can easily be revised as they mature & develop their own preferences.)
- If our child has already "experimented" with sexual activity, how will that affect our discussion? If something has been done to our child (rape, incest, abortion, STD, etc) how will we handle that? What do we want to communicate, as parents, to our child in that situation?
- What and who else influences our child's view of sexual behavior (School/Teachers? Youth group? Friends? Coaches/teammates)? How do we respond to media portrayal of sexual activity that is in conflict with what our family values are?
- What are we doing to expose our children to models of healthy, affectionate marriages?
- How does OUR relationship affect our children's view of marriage? Are we affectionate? Affirming? Can they tell our relationship is a high priority?