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Perhaps the Most Challenging Area of Growth For Adolescents: Understanding Sex

Below is a short Research Paper that I wrote in one of my childhood development courses.  The prompt asked us to write a paper on what we think is the most challenging area of growth for adolescents.  This is my submission:

I have chosen the subject of sexuality to be the most challenging area of growth for adolescence.  During adolescence a child’s body begins to prepare to someday begin a family of their own. They will likely leave their family of origin, cleave as “one” to a spouse, and weave a life together (Gen. 2:24; Eph. 5:31; Matt. 19:5; Mark 10:7).  One of the interesting things about living in a currently fallen world and one of the results of the fall is that children’s bodies mature much quicker than their decision making processes, and so they need guidance through these growth years.


There are three key parts of the brain called the Prefrontal cortex (where impulses are controlled, and final decisions, choices are made), the Limbic system (the center of emotions and the feeling of being rewarded), and the Amygdala (also involved in emotions).  The areas of one’s brain that experiences emotion and pleasure (limbic system and amygdala) will be fully mature early on, shortly after physical signs of puberty begin—but the prefrontal cortex, the area that controls impulsive actions, such as avoiding risk-taking behavior (premarital and promiscuous sex), continues to develop well into young adulthood, until “approximately 18 to 25 years” (John W. Santrock 2014, p. 90).    


In the Liberty University Presentation Teaching Our Kids About Sex (2006) Mark Laaser makes many fine points regarding how important it is for parents to model affection, emotional intimacy, and selflessness to their children.  So much of this amazing process of procreation has been made dirty by the world that; unless purposely taught from a Biblical worldview, children will only have secular presuppositions which teach that sex is not sacred, it exists primarily as a function of recreation, not necessarily procreation.  And so in the midst of flooding hormones, a strong awareness of pleasure, and an immature level of healthy cognition, adolescents naturally gravitate toward pleasure without a mature sense of responsibility.


Laaser makes the point that many parents don’t even talk to one another about their sex life; “How can parents talk to their children if they don’t talk to one another about healthy, God created sex—the ultimate in human intimacy”?  God makes His position on sexual immorality very clear (1 Cor. 6:9-10, 18; Eph. 5:5; Heb. 13:4; Rev. 21:8), however just following the rules for the sake of the rules is not enough—a person needs to know God’s reasoning behind His admonitions.  As a child I was taught about the spiritual, emotional, and physical consequences of promiscuity.  My younger brother and I were taught that if we had sex with someone we are having sex with everyone they have had sex with, and everyone they had sex with. 


We were taught that sex is a miraculous, wonderful place reserved for married couples—a place where they go together to shut out the anxieties of the outside world—and no one else, except God, can share in that experience—it is the reward for persisting against the broken world and the pressures of raising us children; and in the process, their souls are touching in the human dance of procreation and responsible marital recreation.  During God blessed marital love-making human souls are touching, becoming one with each other.  Our children need to be taught both the beauty and the adult responsibilities God-ordained sex brings.  They need to know why God reasoned for these boundaries; and be taught that in practicing illicit sex not only are we carrying away physical aspects and consequences of having sex (STDs), but we are also bringing away the spiritual consequences, being separated from God, and the emotional consequences such as unnecessary extreme emotional anguish through a break-up which should never have crossed the God-ordained marital boundaries; the ‘baggage’ so many people suffer and carry as a result of serial relationships.


Here is an unpublished poem I wrote a while back based upon my observations of the escapes many people turn to in a currently broken world:




A child who is neglected
Abandoned and abused
Never knows a conscience
Goes through life confused

Lust and love become the same
Surviving is their key
They will do anything
Lacking family

Escape in drugs to forget
Times of profound pain
Buried deep subconsciously
Life becomes a game

Hurt so bad by others
They need to do the same
To the ones closest
They rage not knowing shame

And then remorse will set in
They beg for love again
Over and over
They can never win

Suffering from Satan’s love
They bring life’s darkest clouds
Unhappiness a way of life
Safely tucked in shrouds

They become the perpetrators
Then the victims weak
One extreme to the other
Emotions strong and bleak

Misery is the safest
Pain becomes a friend
Push away to be safe
Mastery of “the end”

If they are parents
A legacy passed on
A new set of perpetrators
A storm before the calm

The only cure for Satan’s love
The only thing that’s true
Is the eternal knowledge that
Christ died for me and you



Reference s

Laaser, M. (2006). Liberty University Presentation: Teaching Our Kids About Sex. Retrieved

            from:          http://learn.liberty.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_tab_group_...

Santrock, J. W. (2014). Adolescence (15th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social



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