Define and Discuss What Abstinence Means
Begin by telling your children what abstinence means to you. In your discussion, help them understand that abstinence or chastity is both an attitude and a set of actions. It is reverence for life, respect for self, and consideration for others. Explain also that abstinence is self-restraint and that it dictates that some sexual actions are not expressed until after marriage—and not even then if honest love does not exist.
Discuss the Meaning of Responsibility for Self
It usually takes many years for us to acquire a strong sense of responsibility for ourselves. We start out in life thinking others cause what we feel, are responsible for what we do, and are to blame if we make mistakes. As we mature, however, we come to understand that how we think, feel, and act are results of our own choices.
Link Chastity to a Belief in God
Sexually mature individuals wait to have sex in part because they have faith that waiting will produce positive results. Some parents mistakenly tie chastity to the concepts of sin, faithlessness, moral punishment, guilt, and shame. Some even emphasize God’s displeasure toward people who are not chaste. Inappropriate sexual behavior sometimes represents faithlessness and produces guilt. If, however, we love our children and believe God loves them, we must tie chastity to a loving God, not a punishing, condemning God.
Discuss Sexual Situations