By Dannah Gresh, Founder of True Girl
Of all the things you can do to reduce the risk of your child experiencing an early sexual debut, social science states that one thing reduces the risk more than anything else. And I think it's safe to say that social science is just figuring out what God recorded in the pages of Scripture.
What is the number one way to reduce the risk of an early sexual debut? It's not signing a purity pledge. Though signing one has been proven to delay sexual experience by about 18 months, these are not foolproof tools. It's not peer-based abstinence accountability programs. Though programs like Best Friends have proven that positive peer pressure to delay sex is effective, resulting in an 80% reduction in the likelihood that participants would have sex. It's not having your child participate in comprehensive abstinence education. Though programs such as Heritage Keepers Abstinence Education have participants who are less likely to experiment with sex than those who did not take the comprehensive course. It's also not your killer youth pastor, a best-selling book like my first (And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets to Sexual Purity), or attending a purity event with Christian principles. Nope! These things help and remind us that our approach must be comprehensive when helping our children embrace and live out a Christian sexual ethic.
The number one risk reducer? It's you, mom! And dad! Parent-child connection is the thing that most reduces the risk of an early sexual debut and so much more that you might fear for your child including substance abuse, violent behavior, or academic failure.