Talking with your children about masturbation is a tough assignment. The subject is so private and embarrassing that most parents avoid it—what good can come from it?
I would go further and contend that it does little good to pound away at the related problem of pornography use either. When we concentrate on all the repulsive fruit of sin (Ephesians 5:12), it distracts us from the real business at hand—overcoming lust.
Frankly, if your children are overcome by lust they will fall into immorality of all kinds. Consider the heart of God. He intends to free them—and you as well—from the underlying sin. If we overcome lust the “acting out” will go away as well.
Years ago, Dr, James Dobson advised parents to be gentle with their kids when discussing masturbation. His advice was that after puberty it would be better not to discuss it with them at all and suggested this advice for younger boys:
So I’m telling you now that I hope you don’t feel the need to engage in this act when you reach the teen years, but if you do, you shouldn’t be too concerned about it. I don’t believe it has much to do with your relationship with God.
Dobson believed that most boys would grow out of it as they always have.
Unfortunately, our world—saturated in pornography and sexually charged temptations to lust—has changed for the worse. You must do all you can to make sure your children end up on the right side of this.
The goal needs to be to equip your children to battle lust. Here is why:
1. Combining masturbation with internet porn is extremely dangerous.
Our porn culture is taking its toll. The evidence is everywhere. Promiscuousness, erectile dysfunction (at astonishingly younger ages), pornography addiction and failure to enter into satisfying marriages are becoming increasingly common, horrible outcomes. This is not child’s play.
2. We want them to win.
We want our children to win the war against lust (1 Peter 2:11). The essential tool they need to do this is the effective, practical knowledge of how to apply what Jesus taught about the subject (Matthew 5:27-30).
Setting aside excuses, Jesus showed and taught us that we must deny wrongful desires and thoughts the freedom to flourish in our hearts. It took me many years to understand all this and this ignorance hamstrung me until I did. I wish that I had been properly taught as a child.
You have a life changing opportunity to impart effective knowledge about the nature of lust and the power that God gives to overcome it. Don’t leave your kids to fend for themselves or be distracted by side issues. Achieving and demonstrating victory in this part of their lives will allow them to become salt and light in this bland and dark age.