In the book "Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love, and Lose at Both" by Washington Post journalist Laura Sessions Stepp, many stories are told about young women who have plunged headlong into the "hookup culture," only to end up bruised, broken, scared, and isolated.
Stepp spent time with high school and college girls who were all, to some extent, participating in this ubiquitous "hookup culture." Their experiences—as disturbing as they are—are something that every parent should know about. But in large part, it's parents, along with educators and churches, who have fallen down on the job here.
These girls talk about parents who stress the importance of academic and career achievement but never talk to them about how to make relationships work, and often fail to set the example of a good marriage. For "romantic" education, they turn their kids over to the schools, who teach them all about the technical side of sex and little else. Sadly, our kids, who know more information about sex than possibly any previous generation, know almost nothing about how—or even why—to maintain loving relationships.
Thus, a pattern is emerging of young women and men too busy, and too determined on independence, to build real relationships. They engage in brief sexual encounters with partners they hardly know, both parties seeking control and freedom from hurt—and yet, somehow, guess what? They end up hurting anyway. In failing to teach our kids how to love, we've unwittingly sentenced them to a sexual landscape that's nothing more than a barren wasteland.
Even many of Stepp's subjects recognize how backwards it is that they find it easier to go to bed with a stranger, than to walk across campus holding hands with a young man they like. They recognize it—but they have no idea how to change it. And, according to Stepp, biblical messages on this topic are not getting through to them either.
Does all this mean there's no hope for our kids to be able to live lives of purity? Not at all. Make sure you read the next two commentaries, because I'm going to be talking about what we as Christian parents can do to keep our kids from ending up scarred, jaded, and wary of love and commitment. In particular, Monday's commentary, just after Father's Day weekend, will focus on the difference that dads make—a difference that's much bigger than you might realize.
As Stepp says in her book, "Fathers and adolescent daughters do less together than fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, and mothers and sons. Would they do more if they knew that their daughters might drink less often, start dating later and begin sex later if they paid more attention? That's what the research shows."
For more on what that means for you and your kids, be sure to read Monday's Christian Post.
From BreakPoint®, June 15, 2007, Copyright 2007, Prison Fellowship Ministries. Reprinted with the permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or distributed without the express written permission of Prison Fellowship Ministries. "BreakPoint®" and "Prison Fellowship Ministries®" are registered trademarks of Prison Fellowship Ministries