It was just a routine check. When Susan and Tom gave 13-year-old Josh his first cell phone, they told him they would occasionally look through his text messages. But Susan was completely unprepared for what she found that Saturday morning.
She waded through a couple hundred short, inane messages and then something different popped up: “If you could have sex with me, would you?”
Her mind spinning in disbelief, Susan continued looking through the texts. A story began to emerge:
While hanging out with friends a few weeks earlier, Josh met a girl from another school. They began texting and it was clear she was pursuing him sexually. Within a few days she lured him into sneaking out of his house in the middle of the night so they could meet for sex at a relative’s empty apartment. “Can you sneak out tonight?” she wrote.
Susan was so stunned she could hardly breathe. Josh had never had a girlfriend, never even kissed a girl. He was raised in a good home. How could this happen?
In a daze, she found her husband and filled him in. They knew they would someday need to talk with Josh’s younger sisters about how to handle boys who wanted sex, but they never expected this.
Sex among teenagers is old news, unfortunately, as are the trends of aggressive boys pursuing girls, men pursuing women, and adult women pursuing adult men. But a growing number of parents like Tom and Susan are learning that something has shifted in our culture over the last few decades.
Increasingly, girls are aggressively pursuing boys – in high school, middle school, and even earlier – in numbers never seen in the past. The rules have changed, and many parents are asking for help protecting their sons. This shift has caught them by surprise, and they don’t know what to do.
There have always been flirty girls who are crazy about boys, even girls who could be labeled “bad.” But now, the “bad girl” problem is becoming more commonplace.
Tom and Susan found themselves dropped in the middle of a minefield when they learned about their son’s sexual impurity. When they met with Josh and told him they knew what was going on, he tried to deny the extent of his involvement. But the evidence was clear and he finally admitted what he had done.
Tom and Susan immediately took away Josh’s cell phone, shut down his Facebook page and grounded him from going out with friends. They moved him out of his downstairs bedroom into a room upstairs with his little brother.
“Josh knows this isn’t what God wants for him,” Susan said.
How do you restore a child to a path of purity after he’s already lost his virginity at 13? Tom and Susan are praying God will use the experience for good in Josh’s life.
“I wish we had known these things were going on,” Susan said. “I think we would have been more prepared.”
The fact is many parents don’t realize how little training they are giving their sons in relating to the opposite sex. I’m not just talking about sex education; our boys need to learn what to expect in adolescence – and beyond – and how to handle it. Temptation, lust and sexual attraction are bearing down on them. They need to be prepared and you need to prepare them.
Adapted by permission from “Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys,” by Dennis Rainey with David Boehi. Copyright © 2012 by Dennis Rainey. FamilyLife Publishing.
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Walt and Ann Bealke have been married for a long time, just not to each other. They are now 5 years into their marriage (the third for each of them), and are seeing God redeem their pasts and build a Gospel-centered marriage.
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