It’s hard to accept the reality that our young people are even thinking about viewing pornography or getting involved sexually by engaging in oral sex, let alone doing having sexual intercourse. But what if that becomes a reality? How do we effectively change a young person’s actions? What do we do to alter the behavior of our kids?
You might ask yourself, “What can I do to make a significant impact in the life of my children so that they will listen to me?”
The first thing as a concerned parent that comes to mind may be to lock them in the house and get rid of all technology! But of course that isn’t a real solution. Your second thought may be to lay down solid rules and restrictions. Well, rules are important because they do provide the boundaries or guidelines for our actions, but that is only the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. We need to understand what brings about real change in our kids’ behavior and, perhaps more than anything else, Dottie and I have found the following charts and explanations helpful in guiding our own kids to make right moral choices.
All of our actions and our behaviors are fostered by something, and that something is our values. Moral choices are actually dictated by the values we hold. But what forms our values? Our values are formed out of our beliefs. What each of us come to believe is true and not true about the world around us forms our values and our values drive our behavior.
What we believe can also be referred to as our worldview. What is a worldview? Simply stated, it’s “how we view our world”. A worldview is what we assume to be true about the basic makeup of our world. It is the lens through which we see the world. It’s like our mental map of reality.
So why, for example, do 67% of young men and 49% of young women consider viewing pornography as acceptable behavior?* Their values tell them it’s okay because their worldview (their beliefs) has adopted pornography as an acceptable expression of sexuality. Certain beliefs have molded their values and their values drive their actions (see chart).
So if we as parents or Christian gatekeepers simply address the action or behavior of our kids, just how far will we get? Oh, we might alter certain behavior with rules or restrictions for a time. But lasting change has to begin on a much deeper level.
Many parents, as we stated earlier, homeschool their children or send them to Christian schools, youth group, or Christian summer camp in hopes of changing or molding their kids’ behavior. Their hope is that their kids will be taught the right things so they will believe God’s truth about love and sex and what is right and wrong. Then perhaps they will make right moral choices. That all may be fine and good, but we are here to say, if teaching your kids to believe the truth is all that you do, it won’t be good enough.
- Bonus Chapter from Straight Talk with your kids about sex
- * Archdiocese of Omaha’s Anti-Pornography Task Force as reported at www.archomaha.org/pastoral/se/pdf/PornStats.pdf, 2011.