Sexual Purity Starts at Seven
- Dannah Gresh Dating Q & A Expert
- 2011 26 Sep
By the time she is sixteen, a Christian girl has a 50/50 chance of surviving life without the experiences of sexual sin, eating disorders and depression. Parents who “did everything right” can’t understand how it happened when their daughter falls on the wrong side of the stats. What they don’t know is that they may have done everything right, but started too late. The foundation for building an emotionally healthy teen girl -- who stands free from the norms of an at-risk culture -- is built between the ages of 8-12.
I have to hold myself back every time a white-haired grandma leans in to her pig-tailed granddaughter and teasingly asks her, “So, do you have a boyfriend?” This, usually said with a chuckle and a batting of the eyes, is generally meant to be just silly conversation, but I know too much to consider it to be cute. It is dangerous. Being in a dating relationship for six months or longer is a significant risk factor for early teen sexual activity. Can you see why it might not be “cute” for our 8-12 year olds to be boy crazy or to have multiple boyfriends while they are still in the fourth grade? If she develops the pattern of “needing” a guy when she is eight or nine, she’s going to be in many six-month relationships in her early teen years. That’s not wise. Let’s help her stay off the boy crazy train.
I have two sixteen-year-old girls who have not only stayed off of it, but have managed to pull a few friends off. How do you navigate through boy craziness? There are three critical things you must do to prepare your princess to be successful in her quest for purity. First, you’ll need to have the big sex talk. Don’t think for a minute that it’s too early. Experts agree that sexual value formation begins when a child is between the ages of 8-10. A healthy, age-appropriate conversation during those years is critical. Second, you need to begin to establish your family philosophy on dating and begin to explain it to your child in stages. This will begin with the first stage of teaching her to relate to boys as friends, not boyfriends in fourth grade! Finally, mom, it’s time to start dreaming of her future. If you take the time now to establish a dream of purity and a white wedding dress in her heart, she will know what to aim for and will be less likely to settle for anything less.
The book of Proverbs describes a virtuous woman. It says that she does her husband good “all the days of her life.” I think that includes when she’s seven!
*Article originally posted November 2009 on GirlsGoneWise.com.