Let’s face it. This topic is not something that you could conceal from your children far too long nowadays. Even Disney has slowly introduced homosexuality in their franchises, e.g. Doc McStuffins, which is targeted to preschoolers. As parents, it is one of our God-given roles to think through and address these things to our children in light of Scripture. We teach our children, guide them, and counsel them in these areas. And we pray that the Lord will preserve their hearts and minds from the corrupt influences they are exposed to from day to day.
Here are some of the important things that I have learned about how to teach children about homosexuality from Josh Mulvihill’s book, Preparing Children for Marriage: How to Teach God’s Good Design for Marriage, Sex, Purity, and Dating:
Teach Children OF ALL AGES
When I was younger, homosexuality or same-sex partnerships were considered taboo. In our day and age, it is all out in the open, and we have the responsible as parents to address these things sooner, not later.
Children of all ages can be taught the meaning of marriage, the roles of husband and wife, and distortions of marriage such as divorce and homosexuality, as well as what to look for in a future spouse. How children are taught will differ based on age, but it is important to remember that God’s message does not change based on age. Preschoolers and teenagers can both be taught that marriage is between one man and one woman.
THEY NEED TO HEAR IT FROM YOU
What I’ve learned over my short stint of parenting is that it is better that our children hear difficult topics from us first before they hear it from other people.
By not telling your child the truth, you are encouraging him or her to seek the truth from other sources. Logically, if you are not providing a child with real, true, honest answers, why should he or she ask in the first place?
TALK ABOUT IT OPENLY
Because homosexuality has become culturally acceptable, children must know what the Bible teaches on this subject. I encourage you not to be timid on this point with your child. Some parents are tempted to avoid this topic because of cultural pressure. I get it. However, silence on a subject is never the answer. Silence does two things: it communicates agreement and it abdicates to others. Silence teaches plenty. If you don’t provide a clear definition of marriage from the Bible, someone else will, and it likely won’t be biblical.
TEACH THEM THE BIBLE
Teaching children that marriage is between one man and one woman is teaching children to come under the authority of God’s Word. A low view of Scripture will lead to a low view of marriage. Avoid defining marriage based on your personal preference or lifestyle choice; rather, align your lifestyle with God’s design for marriage. The key issue is the authority and trustworthiness of the Bible. What our children believe about the Bible will inform what they believe about marriage. It is important to establish the Bible’s authority (that it tells us how to live), inerrancy (that it has no errors in its original manuscript), and sufficiency (that it is enough) with our children.
Below are some suggested ways from Focus on the Family on addressing homosexuality that is appropriate to preschoolers, school-aged children, and teenagers:
With preschoolers, there’s no need to talk to your children about specific sexual activity. They’re not equipped to understand it. Furthermore, we’d suggest waiting until the kids are older before introducing terms such as “homosexuality,” “heterosexuality,” “gay,” “straight,” or “LGBT.” You can underscore the male-female aspect of God’s design by telling them about Adam and Eve or the animals who came into Noah’s ark two-by-two (both a mommy and a daddy animal). You can also teach from real life by talking about your own marriage and explaining how the union of man and woman is a special gift from God.
With school-age children, you can further point out that there are different kinds of “love” – for instance, our “love” or liking for food, toys, material things, and activities; our love for friends, family, and relatives; and, of course, our love for God. Help them grasp the idea that marital love is unique, and that its purposes and characteristics are distinct from those of every other kind of “love.” Explain that, in the beginning, God separated humanity into male and female and that marriage brings those two components together. Tell them that marriage unites a couple in a special way, and that this is why sexual expression is intended to take place only between a husband and wife. Point out that this union often leads to family by producing new life in the form of children. Open up God’s Word and show them that marriage, in the Bible, is the most common symbol of our relationship with God.
Teens, of course, are capable of dealing with more abstract concepts. When talking with them, it would be helpful to put all of this into the context of a discussion about competing worldviews: on the one hand, the biblical, Judeo-Christian worldview, which states that God created us and designed us for a purpose; and, on the other hand, the worldview of popular contemporary culture, which says that there is no God, that “reality” is whatever I want it to be, and that meaning, value, and purpose are essentially matters of personal preference and choice. According to this second worldview, the individual is free to “customize” sexuality, sexual morality, and marriage in any way he or she sees fit. By way of contrast, the biblical worldview asserts that God’s design is eternally valid, that His plan for human sexuality matters, and that marriage, as the union of one man and one woman, is unique among human relationships, not least because it forms a complete reproductive system – something same-sex marriages can never do.
- How Do I Talk to My Kids about Homosexuality? by The Gospel Coalition [Article]
- Homosexuality Bible Study by Ligonier Ministries [Article]
- “Did God Make My Son A Homosexual?” by OPC [Article]
- “Mom, Dad… I’m Gay” A Christian Parent’s Response by David Murray [Article]
- How to Respond to a Homosexual Child by John MacArthur [Article]
- Resources on Homosexuality by Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood [Library]
- What Does the Bible Really Teach About Homosexuality? by Kevin DeYoung [Free PDF Book]
- God’s Design for Sex [Children’s Book]
- Cassie & Caleb Discover God’s Wonderful Design [Children’s Book]