8 Conversations to Have with Your Son Before He Turns 13

  • Kia Stephens
8 Conversations to Have with Your Son Before He Turns 13

When our children first enter the world, it is hard to imagine that they will ever grow up. We marvel over their little hands, listen to their baby noises, and watch them sleep. No matter how we may desire to keep them small, the reality is, babies grow into adults.

Before we know it, we are staring into the face of a child who barely resembles their tiny beginnings. As my son inches toward his tween years, this is all too familiar for me. I am reminded daily that he is growing older and it is my responsibility to prepare him for adulthood.

 Although 13 years seems like a lot of time to prepare a young boy to be a man, life reminds us just how short the years are. We must be intentional about the lessons we teach our sons in order to leave a lasting impact on their lives. If you need a jumpstart, below are 8 conversations I believe we should have with our sons before they turn 13.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Jesus Rodriguez

1. A Conversation about Sex

1. A Conversation about Sex

Innuendos in movies, unanticipated lyrics in songs, and the dialogue of other children is often laced with sexual content. With culture becoming increasingly advanced when it comes to sex, it behooves every parent to have the “birds and bees” conversation with their son prior to him becoming 13. In fact, it is highly likely that he has already been exposed to sexual content.

We must initiate the conversation before it is initiated for us from sources we might not approve of. As believers we get to understand and discuss sex through the lens of scripture. This will give our sons an understanding of God’s original intent for sex and how it should and should not be used.

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;you were bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.”

We must help our sons understand why God desires sexual purity in His people. In a do-whatever-you-want culture, teaching our sons about God’s boundaries for sex may appear archaic and irrelevant. By having an open and honest conversation about sex, you help your son understand that his body is designed to be the temple of the Holy Spirit, he belongs to God and is intended to live as God desires. Culture will not teach him this—it must come from his parents.

This conversation is awkward, uncomfortable, and can be difficult to do, but it is necessary. If you are teetering on whether or not you should have this conversation with your son, there are practical resources available to help parents approach the subject matter. Make the choice to engage with your son on this topic so he will be prepared to handle temptation and misinformation with the word of God. 

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2. A Conversation about Money

2. A Conversation about Money

Nothing prepares a parent for the seemingly endless request of a child. “Can I get a phone? Everyone has one.” “Can I get some new tennis shoes?” “I am hungry!”

By the time your son reaches the age of 13 you will have heard these questions countless times. If we immediately fulfill our child’s every whim he may develop a skewed perspective of money. Operating this was does not teach him where money come from, the relationship we ought to have with money, and how to steward such this resource.

For this reason, every parent needs to talk to their son about money. He needs to understand the correlation between money earned and the work that you do.

He needs to have an opportunity to earn and manage his money. This management includes giving a portion back to God and others, saving a portion for himself and spend a portion on items that he wants to buy.

This model will prepare him for adulthood and teach him that we are simply managers of the money that all belongs to God. Proverbs 10:4 (NIV) says, “Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” Our sons must understand that they receive money for the work they do and are to use it according to the way God desires.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/Vika Rayu

3. A Conversation about Integrity

3. A Conversation about Integrity

Unfortunately, in recent years we have seen several high-profile cases of successful men whose careers have ended in disgrace. Due to private infidelities and moral failures these men experienced abrupt removal from the public eye. This speaks to a lack of integrity.

Our sons must understand that integrity is who you are when no one is watching. They need to know that God desires we worship Him with our lives. This means we cannot hold onto secret sin.

We must help our sons to navigate what it looks like to live with integrity in their schools, at a friend’s house and on a date. We must discuss possible scenarios and what is at stake if they make an unwise choice. Examples of high-profile leaders with questionable integrity don’t only come from current events.

In the case of King Solomon, he was a leader who honored God and sought him for wisdom. Later in King Solomon’s reign, however, scripture tells us that he loved many foreign women and had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

These women turned his heart and he began to worship their idol gods. Solomon is an extreme example of what can happen when our public worship is not backed by our private lifestyle. We are all in danger of slowly drifting away from a life of integrity when we do not prioritize God in our lives. Having this conversation with our sons will help them to become men of integrity.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

4. A Conversation about Identity

4. A Conversation about Identity

If you listen to the conversations between men, they often talk about their work. That is because a man’s identity is strongly tied to what they do for a living. Our boys must understand that what they do is not who they are.

Boys need to know they are children of God, saved by grace. What they do might be basketball, computer coding, leading, or creating amazing artwork, but that can never define who they are.

Romans 15:7 says, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.” Our sons need to know they are fully accepted by God. They do not have to perform or achieve for this acceptance. It is freely given by God. By having a conversation with our boys about their identity in Christ we will help position them to discover their self-worth in their Father in heaven and not from their performances.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/Vanessa Bumbeers

5. A Conversation about Responsibility

5. A Conversation about Responsibility

It is the natural desire of a mother to nurture and love her son, but this can be crippling to him if she doesn’t allow him to handle responsibility. Galatians 6:5 says, For each will have to bear his own load.”We must give our sons opportunities to be do chores, homework, and balance their time. One day they will prayerfully grow into men who are able to manage and lead a household of their own. Although we may desire for this to be a one-time conversation, the reality is, it may take many discussions and the successes and failures of experience before they are fully able to handle greater responsibilities on their own.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

6. A Conversation about Courage

6. A Conversation about Courage

There is an expectation for boys to be brave, but for many of our sons they may experience extreme fear. For this reason, it is important to initiate conversations with our sons so that they have a safe place to voice their fears. We need to let our sons know that it is okay to feel fear.

They need to know that feeling fear does not mean we are governed by it. We must teach our sons how to give their fears to God and rely on his strength to act courageously. In Joshua 1:5-6, God encouraged Joshua by saying, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them.” When we talk with our sons about fear we can remind them that God will be with them, even when they are afraid.

Photo Credit: Pexels/Porapak Apichodilok

7. A Conversation about Sin

7. A Conversation about Sin

Babies appear innocent when they first arrive, but as they grow into toddlers, we realize that innocence is short-lived. From the moment they begin to walk and talk, we notice the inherent sin nature that is common to mankind. We must communicate this sin nature to our sons so that they understand their need for a Savior.

Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Our sons need to know that they too are prone to sin. If we raise our boys as if they are God’s gift to the universe and never discuss their inherent sin nature, we are doing a great disservice to them. This may cause them to have an inflated view of themselves rather than an enlarged view of God. Our sons need to be pointed to Christ as the ultimate remedy for our sin problem.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Brian Niles

8. A Conversation about God

8. A Conversation about God

Romans 10:9 says,“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” As parents, we have the distinct honor and privilege to share Christ with our sons. Certainly, we can do this by the lives that we lead before them everyday, but we can also do it by having an intentional conversation with them regarding our faith. We may even have the experience of leading our sons to the Lord. This will lay the foundation for a strong spiritual life as an adult.

Of the 8 conversations, which one do you need to have with your son? If you have tackled these topics, your son is well on his way. But if you haven’t, don’t delay! Create a plan to have these 8 meaningful conversations with your son.

Kia-stephens-headshot Kia Stephens is a wife and homeschooling mama of two who is passionate about helping women know God as Father. For this reason, she created The Father Swap Blog to be a source of encouragement, healing, and practical wisdom for women dealing with the effects of a physically or emotionally absent father. Each week through practical and biblically sound teaching she encourages women to exchange father wounds for the love of God the Father. For more encouragement download Kia's free ebooks, Hope for the Woman With Father Wounds and Forgiveness Hacks: 5 Strategies to Help You Forgive. Additionally, you can connect with Kia on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Photo Credit: Unsplash/ Anna Kolosyuk



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