Careful Conversations to Share With Your Son
About the Guest
Does your son attract girls like bees to honey? Dennis and Barbara Rainey can relate, having raised two handsome sons themselves. The Raineys share how dads can be proactive in a son's life by having some meaningful, intentional conversations with them about various topics including: the value and application of godly wisdom, how to handle sexual temptation, God's design for sex in marriage, and the characteristics of an adulterous woman.
Dennis RaineyDennis Rainey cofounded FamilyLife®, a ministry of Cru®. Since the organization began in 1976 through 2017, Dennis’ leadership enabled FamilyLife to grow into a dynamic and vital ministry in more than 109 countries around the world helping families discover the joy God intended for their relationships with God, spouse, and kids. Dennis has authored or co-authored more than 35 books, including best-selling Moments Together for Couples and Staying Close and has received two Golden Medallion...more
Does your son attract girls like bees to honey?
Careful Conversations to Share With Your Son
Bob: There have always been some girls, some women, who are aggressive—think back to the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife from Genesis. If you’re not familiar with the story, here’s how it was retold in one Broadway musical.
[Excerpt from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat®]
Narrator: Joseph was an unimportant slave, who found he liked his master; consequently, worked much harder, even with devotion. Potiphar could see that Joseph was a cut above the average; made him leader of his household—maximum promotion!
Narrator and Male Ensemble: Potiphar was cool and so fine.
Potiphar: But my wife would never toe the line.
Narrator and Male Ensemble: It's all there in Chapter 39 of Genesis.
Potiphar: Don’t believe everything you read, dear.
Narrator and Male Ensemble: She was beautiful but evil; saw a lot of men against his will. He would have to tell her that she still was his—
Potiphar: You’re mine!
Narrator: Joseph's looks and handsome figure had attracted her attention. Every morning she would beckon—
Mrs. Potiphar: Come and lie with me, love.
Narrator: Joseph wanted to resist her, ‘til one day she proved too eager. Joseph cried in vain—
Joseph: Please stop! I don't believe in free love.
Mrs. Potiphar: Pity.
[End of Excerpt]
Bob: And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Thursday edition. Have you ever heard that before?
Dennis: I think so, yes.
Bob: Yes, that’s from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought about Genesis 39, and Joseph, and Potiphar—of course, I don’t know what Potiphar’s wife looked like; right? I don’t know whether, when she said to Joseph, “Hey, Joe”—
Bob: I don’t know whether Joseph was going, “I’m not interested,” or whether Joseph went, “Whoa!”
Dennis: Whoa! I got a feeling, because of the drama in the story, Bob, that she was attractive.
Bob: Well, you have to think, whether she was attractive or not, “If this royal official’s wife gave me the order of the day”—
Bob: —would I have run out of the room?
Dennis: You would have—yes, you just wonder. I mean, the pressure was on. I think what makes this story most powerful was, obviously, Joseph’s response. It’s interesting, Bob, as many times as I’ve read that story, the explanation for why he did what he did was really found earlier in a life that was committed to following God and being obedient to God. When he faced a moral compromise, it was a natural response for him.
Bob: Well, our sons, growing up today, at some point, are likely to face—maybe not the royal official’s wife—but somebody in class, or somebody a few grades up from them, or somebody at the mall. They are likely to face a young woman who comes and says, “Hey,”—
Bob: —“you’re kind of cute.”
Dennis: Yes, like the mom who wrote me. She wrote in response to Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date, when I wrote that book. Well, let me just read this. She says, “I have a very outgoing, charming, attractive, 15-year-old son.” She’s a mom. Hey, you know, she’s going to make that—“I have been, literally, chasing the girls away from the door ever since the seventh grade. The phone calls, identified by caller ID, were left for the answering machine to answer. The aggressiveness and promiscuity of young girls nowadays is beyond words. They’re dress is so alluring and inviting to a young man. What’s a guy to do? Moreover, what’s a mom to do?”
Bob: That’s the question.
Dennis: That’s what she was wanting help on. That’s why we’ve been talking about, all this week, how we equip our sons to be able to handle sexually-aggressive young ladies.
Bob: You have just recently finished a book on this subject. One of the things you say is that there are a number of conversations that moms and dads, or moms, or dads need to be having with their sons, as their sons move into adolescence.
We’ve asked your wife to step in and be part of our conversation today. Barbara, welcome.
Barbara: Thanks, Bob.
Bob: Nice to have you here. You—
Barbara: Always good.
Bob: As you were raising your boys, did you see girls, in those days, kind of circling around them?
Barbara: We did—with one in particular because, when he entered the seventh grade, he was so cute. He hadn’t really gone through that awkward phase, yet. I mean, he was like a fly to a pot of honey. The girls were calling him all the time.
We thought, “What is going on?” He even thought the same thing, too, because he was pretty much ignored in elementary school; but in junior high, these girls had a different kind of interest. They were after him.
Bob: Did it take you by surprise, or—
Barbara: Yes, it did.
Bob: So, you really hadn’t been intentional in preparing him for what was coming because you weren’t—you didn’t know what was coming?
Barbara: We did not know it was coming. It really was—because it was not at all the way girls were when I was growing up; and his older sister, Ashley, was not that way. We were very unprepared for the aggressiveness of the girls.
Dennis: I think one of the benefits of having a big family is—after you’ve raised six kids, you get it. (Laughter) You get it.
Barbara: You’ve seen everything that’s coming around the block.
Dennis: You begin to anticipate all the issues that are coming your way; and although, perhaps, the form of media or communication has changed today, it’s the same old, same old. I mean, it’s “The birds and the bees”. It’s young men and young women who are attracted to each other; and they are going to try to find a way to get together.
Bob: You are suggesting to moms and dads, “You ought to have a series of conversations.” Would you say these are conversations you have—like one a week, one a night—how would you space out these conversations over time?
Dennis: I wouldn’t do it in a week. I think you could—your son could absolutely short-circuit and overload (Laughter)—kind of fractured—
Bob: —stay in his room for a month, a couple months.
Dennis: —down the middle. I can picture having this with an 11-, 12-, 13-year-old young man. He’s like, “What has happened to Dad?”
Barbara: —“Or Mom?”
Dennis: “What’s happened to Mom?” You know?
Dennis: I would spread it out. I don’t think—Bob, it’s not a matter of having a conversation and you’re done with it. I think, if we erred on one side or the other, we probably didn’t have enough follow-up conversations around each of these seven areas, like we should have.
Now, we did talk about it on an ongoing basis. I think, as you find ways, in everyday life, to bring godly perspective and wisdom to bear on your son’s life, you’ve got to use it. You’ve got to use those teachable moments, when they come your way, to take all the truth you possibly can into your son’s soul so that his character stands strong in the midst of the temptations.
Bob: What would be a first conversation you’d have to get your son ready for what he may be facing as he moves into adolescence?
Dennis: I want him to understand the value of wisdom. If you look at the book of Proverbs—Proverbs, Chapter 1, verse 7, says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Later on, in the book of Proverbs, it says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Wisdom, as I talked about with our kids, especially my sons, as I took them on a Bible study at a local restaurant that we’d have before school—we unpacked the definition of what wisdom really is.
Wisdom is godly skill in everyday living. It’s living life according to God’s perspective. It is living life the way God designed it. Wisdom is the opposite of foolishness. You’re training your son to be a wise man and not a fool. You’re helping him to look at life through God’s eyes and understand that this thing, called the opposite sex, who’s coming after him—
“Wait a second! Caution, son! You need to keep your guard up and realize what is happening here may happen to you for a good bit of your life as a man, not only now as a teenager, but well into adulthood.”
Bob: A lot of teenagers look at this idea of receiving godly wisdom and they think to themselves, “Well, I need to learn this for myself.” How do you help a young man or woman realize there really is benefit in not going the way of the fool and learning it yourself but listening to someone who has been down the path—learning from godly wisdom?
Barbara: Yes, that’s a challenge for parents because, I think, one of the jobs for parents is to help your children understand, in a practical way, why wisdom is good for us. So, think through, “What are some experiences that your child has had?” You could say, “Remember that bike accident you had?”; for instance, “You were going too fast down the hill. Now, you understand what it feels like to fall. So, you’re going to be much more cautious when you ride your bike down the hill.’”
Whatever the experience might be with your child—but say, “Wouldn’t it have been better not to have fallen at all, and scraped your knee, and banged up your elbow?”—or whatever. “Don’t you wish you could’ve avoided that pain?” Well, that’s what wisdom is all about. When you follow God’s plan, and when you follow His wisdom in the Scripture, and what we’re trying to teach you as your mom, or as your dad, you can avoid those mishaps. You can avoid that pain that will come with making mistakes in life.
Dennis: I was watching TV the other night. There was a teenager on a show, blaming the public school system for not teaching about sex. I thought, “No, no, no.” That’s not where the responsibility for teaching about sex belongs.
Barbara: That’s right.
Dennis: This issue, of what we’re talking about, is fully within the responsibility of a mom and a dad to instruct their sons and their daughters about what’s happening in this culture. I’m telling you what—in this culture, it’s coming at you left and right because of social media, because of cell phones, because of the access young people have that they didn’t have a decade ago.
Dennis: So, you, as a parent, need to assume your responsibility for passing on wisdom, which is—repeat after me—“It is godly skill in everyday living. It is living life the way God designed it.” It means we, as the parents, need to be doing that, as well.
Bob: So, you start off by helping him understand that godly wisdom is there for his benefit—that as he goes through the teen years, he is going to want to lean into godly wisdom. He is going to want to listen to godly wisdom. It will save him a lot of pain—fewer accidents if he does that. What’s the second conversation?
Dennis: Well, the second one is how you handle sexual temptation will become one of the biggest tests of your life. Did you hear that? “How you handle sexual temptation will be one of the biggest tests of your life.”
I was evaluating this, and I thought, “You know, there is only one test, or one temptation, that is bigger, overall, for boys growing into manhood.” You know what it is?
Bob: I can’t think of one bigger.
Dennis: Well, it was kind of my thought, too. It was like sexual temptation—
Bob: That’s pretty big.
Dennis: —is kind of the ultimate one. There is an undercurrent, within all of us, for both boys and girls, that is even bigger than sexual temptation. That is pride—
Dennis: —wanting to run your own show, wanting to be the master of your soul, wanting to be your own god, not submitting and surrendering your life to Jesus Christ. After that one—I don’t know what’s in third place.
Barbara: There are only two, you’re saying. (Laughter)
Dennis: No, there’s not just two, but—
Bob: —but they’re so far out in front of the others that—
Dennis: They really are. What you’re doing—moms, dads—is you’re coaching, instructing, building character into your son’s soul to know how to handle one of the biggest temptations he’s going to face now and for the rest of his life.
Bob: Barbara, you have to help your son see that, to not handle sexual temptation properly, could be deadly. I mean, we’re talking about consequences here that can be life-altering consequences.
Barbara: Well, they really can. We’ve got so many sexually-transmitted diseases today. A son needs to know that just one time, one mistake, with the wrong person—and he could have something that he will carry with him for the rest of his days. It’s just not worth it.
When you think about the whole Joseph story—we listened to it at the beginning—you know, it’s kind of lighthearted and it was kind of fun—but what would have happened—would we have even known who Joseph was if he had given into Potiphar’s wife? I mean, that was the defining moment in his life. If you think about it, he said, “No,” to her; and that really sealed the rest of his life.
Would we know about Joseph if he had said, “Yes,” to Potiphar’s wife? Probably not, because he, probably, would have lost his head.
Barbara: For him, it really would have been a death sentence.
Bob: You impress the importance of godly wisdom. You talk about how you handle sexual temptation and how life-determinative that’s going to be, not just in your teen years but throughout your life, even after you’re married. What’s the third conversation?
Dennis: Well, this is pretty simple, but you know what—it’s a big idea, and it’s a good one. It’s a healthy one. God created sex to be enjoyed within the marriage relationship. Now, how wholesome is that? Think about the message that’s coming through on the internet, on prime-time TV, in the evening, on the major networks, in the movies—it’s hook-ups. It’s, “Have sex with somebody you’re just a friend with.” It is, “Give it away”—
Dennis: —but know the Bible places nobility, dignity, and the very sacred nature of sex within the boundaries of a commitment called the covenant of marriage. That’s how our kids need to hear about it. They need to understand, “Son, it’s really good—it really is good in marriage; but if you dabble in this outside of marriage, you’re going to pay the price for it.”
Bob: Barbara, a lot of moms—they may be single moms, or they may be having these conversations because Dad’s just not engaged, or maybe they are tag-teaming this thing—but for a mom to have a conversation around the joy of sex in marriage, with a son, feels awkward. There’s also the concern, “Is he going to ask me about what I did when I was growing up?”
Barbara: Yes, I think that anytime we have conversations about sexual matters with our children, it’s very uncomfortable. It implies a lot of risk. We feel like we’re walking the plank when we do that, but it’s so healthy to enter to those areas with your kids because then they know it is okay to talk about it. So, yes, I understand.
I remember having a conversation with my three oldest kids, when they came home from summer camp. They had all three been to church camp together. They came home, and they had heard a speaker talk about a sexual matter at the conference. Here I was, sitting on the bed, with my oldest daughter and then my two sons. It was not just “the girls”. It wasn’t “just the boys”. It was both.
We had this great conversation. I remember thinking, “This is really kind of risky,” when we got started. Once the ball kind of started rolling, I thought, “This is so good. It feels so right to have this conversation.” It’s worth it, especially for single moms. I know it probably feels like, “Gosh, I shouldn’t be doing this. I wish I wasn’t the one doing this,” but he’s your son.
You have a responsibility to protect him, and sons need to hear these things from their moms. They need to hear that marriage is the place for sex, that it is the safest place, it’s the best place, it is the most wholesome place. They need to have that standard. As Dennis was saying a minute ago, “This is the ideal. This is the best place.”
Bob: This is God’s design.
Dennis: It was God who created it, not man.
Genesis, Chapter 2, verse 24, “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother, and hold fast to his wife.” Another version says, “…cleave to his wife”—be committed to his wife. Then, look what comes next, “and they shall become one flesh.” Now, what has the culture done? It has reversed the process, “Become one flesh first; then, get married.” You know, “Cohabit first.”
I’m going to tell you—I think we have to, in a wholesome way, uplift the dignity of marriage, as God designed. “He’s not down on us having fun. He’s not down on us experiencing pleasure. He wants the very best for us. As a young man, my conversation with you is heading sin off at the pass. It’s heading danger off at the pass. It’s helping you proactively know what to do when you’re facing temptation.”
Bob: Alright, so, once you help your son see that this is God’s good design—it’s His purpose and plan. It’s a good gift; and it’s something you can look forward to with joy, and anticipation, and excitement. What’s the next conversation?
Dennis: Well, this gets kind of gritty. Conversation number four—you talk about the characteristics of an adulterous woman. Okay, men, man-to-man, what are you going to say to your son about what an adulterous woman is trying to do?
Bob: Now, your son is thinking about a 13-, or 14-, or 15-year-old classmate, or maybe an older girl—I don’t know that he’d think of it in terms of an adulterous woman—but you’re saying that the characteristics are the same.
Dennis: The seductive woman—the woman who is looking for the hook-up, the woman who is preying upon the innocence—of your boy, of your son, in his early adolescence. Yes, I think we’ve got to help our sons understand what’s going on, not only in her mind, but what does she look like?
There is even the phrase in the book of Proverbs, how she brazenly seizes him and kisses him. Now, this is not a peck on the cheek. This is a kiss that demands a sexual response. It is one that says, “I’m ready. Come and get it.” Your son, who maybe has never kissed a girl—what happens if that occurred to him? Does he know what to do? Back to Potiphar’s wife—does he know how to flee? What does fleeing look like? It may mean turning your head away from her eyes. It may mean pushing back.
Bob: Barbara, this is where boys have to be taught and trained to go against what their instincts are telling them at the moment—because your instincts at that moment are saying—
Barbara: —“This is good!”
Bob: Yes. Right.
Barbara: “I like this!” Yes, I think, too, it’s not just the young woman, the teenager, the classmate, who comes up and throws her arms around your son—but it’s the young woman who comes up and just kind of gets too close, or puts her arm through your son’s arm—maybe whispers in his ear, or maybe sits on his lap—
Dennis: —or the one who dresses so suggestively—
Dennis: —that a boy, at that age, couldn’t help—
Barbara: —but notice.
Dennis: —but notice.
Barbara: Right. So, it isn’t just the physical actions or the physical aggressiveness—it can be more subtle. It might catch your son off guard because we saw this when our kids were in youth groups. A lot of these girls will come up to the guys and give back rubs. They’ll sit on their laps, and they’re doing it to be playful. They don’t realize—or maybe they do—that it’s inviting more than what the young man really is interested in.
I think it’s explaining all of those things—and all of those actions, all of those behaviors, all of those statements that these girls are making—are intended to get a response out of your son.
Bob: Well, there’s more that needs to be covered. I mean, we’re just through four of the seven conversations here; but this particular conversation might be spread out over two, three, four, or five different conversations.
Dennis: Oh, it’ll be spread out over a decade of conversations because I’m just watching how dress—every year, you kind of go by fashion—you kind of go, “How could women emphasize their bodies anymore than they currently are?” Yet—
Barbara: —it happens.
Dennis: —it’s happening.
Barbara: Yes, it keeps happening.
Dennis: It keeps happening, and our sons—again, you’ve got to take a step back and go, “He’s naïve. He’s clueless. He doesn’t know what’s happening to his body. He needs help in understanding that.”
I mentioned earlier about Passport to Purity®. If you haven’t taken your son through Passport to Purity, where he’s heard a full explanation for what’s going on, in this alien takeover of his body called adolescence and puberty—if he hasn’t been through that with you and talked with you about that, that’s absolutely basic to him going through these discussions about how girls are responding him.
Bob: Well, we’ve already mentioned that Passport to Purity has just recently been revised and updated. Next month, it’s going to be available. In fact, our team is working hard to put it all together so that we can have it available so that families can make plans to do this over the summer. You can get a weekend away with your son or your daughter, and go through the Passport to Purity material. Let me just mention, too, that a part of the update included contacting our friends at Seeds Family Worship® and having them record our Scripture memory verses for us—that are a part of Passport to Purity.
If you’d like to go to FamilyLifeToday.com, there is information there about the new Passport to Purity material. I think—I’m not sure if we’ve worked this out—I think we’ve got it where you can place an order. As soon as it’s available, we’ll ship it out to you. Find out more. Go to FamilyLifeToday.com for more information about Passport to Purity.
Then, there is also information about your book, Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys. It’s brand-new. It is available. This week, we’re making it available to folks who will support the ministry with a donation. All you have to do is go to FamilyLifeToday.com and click the button that says, “I Care”.
When you make an online donation, we will automatically send you the new book by Dennis Rainey, Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys; and we’ll send you a copy of the book, Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date. That’s for fathers of teenage girls. Whether you have boys or girls, these books will help you out. If you don’t have boys or girls, you can pass the books along to somebody else.
Again, go to FamilyLifeToday.com. Click the button that says, “I Care”, and make an online donation; or call 1-800-FL-TODAY. Make a donation over the phone. When you do that, ask for the books that we were talking about on the radio, Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys, and Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date. We’ll send those out to you.
Let me just say we appreciate your financial support of the ministry. We appreciate when you do make a donation. Those donations are what make this program possible, make our website possible. All that we are doing here at FamilyLife is funded primarily by folks, like you, who donate to support FamilyLife Today. We appreciate your financial support and are always glad to hear from you.
Now, tomorrow, we are going to walk through some of the content of the conversations that you outline for moms and dads in your new book, Aggressive Girls. Barbara is going to be back with us, again, tomorrow. I hope our listeners can join us.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you back next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
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