Gender Identity Q&As for Christian Parents
Talking with our children about sex and sexuality has never been easy. But it has also never been more difficult or confusing than in the midst of this new sexual revolution. How do we broach the topics of sex and gender with our children? When is too early? When is too late? Where do we even start? In Part 2 of the webinar series Explaining Gender Identity to Kids from a Biblical Worldview, Christopher Yuan and Elizabeth Urbanowicz answered a number of questions on this very topic.
When to Have Conversations
Here’s how one of the parents posed this question:
How young should we start talking to our children and grandchildren about issues of gender and sexuality? How can we educate them without exposing them to too much, too soon?
A summary response from Elizabeth Urbanowicz and Christopher Yuan:
We appreciate this question because it is so common and we love the heart behind it. Considering our day and age, this question about timing should not be is it too early but, when is it too late?
Our kids are going to have friends or neighbors who already identify as different genders. So rather than asking ourselves when our kids are ready, we need to look at our times and have conversations today. So instead of worrying about exposing kids to gender issues, we should think about equipping our kids to be ready today.
We also want to be very specific for those who are wondering when the appropriate age is to start. You really need to start having this conversation when your child is 3. Why 3? 3 year olds start to explore the world, to understand parts of the world that align with God’s design and do not align with his design. What we want to make sure is that we are the first ones to have a conversation with them about sex and sexuality.
In a previous webinar with Hillary Ferrer, she explains how children experience a psychological phenomenon in which they view the person that explains something for the first time as the expert. So who do we want our kids to come to when they have questions? We want them to come to us.
We recommend the Birds and the Bees Course that systematically breaks down how to talk to your children about conception, birth, different body parts and more really practical advice.
Another great resource is Mama Bear Apologetics Guide to Sexuality which does a great job in the first section laying the theology of sexuality for kids.
Finally I’d recommend Good Pictures, Bad Pictures Jr. to help prepare kids for pornography.
Transgender Friend and Family
Here’s a second question:
How do you talk about transgender friends and neighbors to your young children?
A summary response from Elizabeth Urbanowicz and Christopher Yuan:
Before we talk about the “no” and what is not God’s plan, we need to talk about God’s “yes” not only about sexuality but to help them think biblically and theologically.
There are four foundational truths that need to be communicated before we talk about anything that lies outside of God’s will, especially about sinful behavior in our friends or neighbors.
Doctrine of Sin
The first truth is the doctrine of sin. Sometimes we limit sin to the behavior and acts and do-nots. The doctrine of sin goes deeper and helps us to understand the fall, how we all have a sin nature - that we are all sinners. We all have missed the mark.
The second truth is the reality of temptations. Although kids can understand what is sin, many parents do not equip their kids to be prepared to be tempted. So they might understand something is sinful behavior but are tempted, and the danger is that they become ashamed and this can spiral out of control. They need to know that being tempted is not a sin, but that giving in and falling into temptation is a sin.
Gift of Grace
God extends his grace to everyone and desires all to be saved. And because God extends his grace to us, we can extend that grace to others so that they too might be saved.
So as we see our friends or our neighbors who are living in sin, we need to be like God and extend grace. This grace is not an end itself but a means to an end that helps us to point to Christ which leads to salvation.
Repentance is a fruit of salvation. Bad fruit is unrepentant. Repentance is an action that comes from the Hebrew word that means to turn. So the fruit of repentance is a changed life. So we can explain to our kids that sinners around us have a sin nature just like us, but that they give in to temptation, that God extends his gift of grace, and finally that salvation should show through the fruit of repentance and a changed life.
God’s Good Design
This framework helps us to have daily conversations with our kids. We can apply this with our kids when we encounter someone in our community and be able to have a conversation about God’s good design.
First, kids should know Genesis 1:27, that we are created in God’s image as male and female. God created boy image bearers and girl image bearers. In other words, we can teach them to discern between objective truths and subjective feelings. For instance somebody may have a boy’s body - that’s the objective truth. But at the same time they might feel like a girl on the inside because sometimes our feelings do not line up with what is true. This kind of conversation
What are Some Other Questions About Gender?
Here are a few other great questions asked during the previous webinar:
What do you do in a school setting when pressured to use preferred pronouns?
How should I talk about my lesbian family member with my kids and what if she wants to baby sit them?
What can children's ministers do to help remind parents of their role as primary faith trainers and help them see the importance of teaching the truth of God's word on topics such as gender and sexuality instead of abdicating that responsibility to the church or school?
Many Christian youth are passive in responding to their non-Christian peers when their peers are in favor of LGBTQ+ identity and relationships. How can we encourage kids to speak the truth?
What would you recommend for someone who is in children’s ministry who has had an instance where a child has been telling others in Sunday school that he is transgender and is a girl?
To learn more about these and other questions asked during our webinars along with more complete responses, watch this part two webinar featuring Elizabeth and Dr. Christopher Yuan.
Broach Tough Topics about Sex and Gender
How do we broach the topics of sex and gender with our children? Join Christopher Yuan and Elizabeth Urbanowicz as they answer questions from our audience.
About Elizabeth Urbanowicz
Elizabeth Urbanowicz is a follower of Jesus who is passionate about equipping kids to understand the truth of the Christian worldview. Elizabeth holds a B.S. in Elementary Education from Gordon College, an M.S.Ed. in Education from Northern Illinois University, and an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. Elizabeth spent the first decade of her professional career teaching elementary students at a Christian school. Elizabeth now works full time on developing comparative worldview and apologetics resources for children. Her goal is to prepare the next generation to be lifelong critical thinkers and, most importantly, lifelong disciples of Jesus.
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