Protecting Our Boys
About the Guest
Are your sons fair game for the girls? Dennis Rainey addresses the very real problem of sexually aggressive girls. Rainey explains that, due to the rise of absent fathers today, many young women are looking for their emotional gas tanks to be filled by young men, and doing whatever it takes to get a boy's love and attention. Find out how to teach your sons how to deal with aggressive girls.
Find out how to teach your sons how to deal with aggressive girls.
Protecting Our Boys
Bob: If you’re sending a son off to high school, or even junior high, you need to make sure he is ready for what he may be facing.
Here’s Dennis Rainey.
Dennis: Teenage girls are brazen. They’re aggressive. They’re initiating with guys at younger and younger ages—text messaging, emailing. Groups of girls are getting together and targeting young men. There’s sexual and relational aggressiveness toward younger and younger men—many times by older girls.
Bob: This is FamilyLife Today for Monday, April 16th. Our host is the President of FamilyLife®, Dennis Rainey, and I'm Bob Lepine. Would your son know what to do if a young girl in his class started pressuring him, turning up the heat? We’re going to talk about that today. Stay tuned.
And welcome to FamilyLife Today. Thanks for joining us on the Monday edition. When you were raising your daughters, one of the things that was a concern to you was what was on the minds of the young men who were calling your daughters and saying, “Hey, would you like to go out this Friday night?”
Bob: You had some concern about that; right?
Dennis: I did have some concern because I was once a teenage boy. (Laughter) I know how guys think. Yes, absolutely. It caused me to break the silence, as a daddy, and actually interview some of these young men—not some, a bunch of them. It had to be over three dozen young men, over the process of having four daughters, raised to maturity.
Bob: As you talked with other dads about these interviews you were having, they said, “What do you say?” That led you to write a book called Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date, which we released a number of years ago; and, by the way, is just now out in paperback. One of the interesting things that happened when that book came out—
Dennis: I’ll never forget this! I could never have anticipated what happened. We started getting emails from friends who said, “Dennis, that may be fine for interviewing your daughter’s date, but what about my son’s?”
I’ll never forget the email I got from a friend who lives in Southern California. He said, “I’ve got a couple of sons. The girls have spotted them, and they are after them!” I thought, “Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s probably just California.” You know, it’s easy to kind of lay that off on a little area of the country and think, “That’s just a little subculture out there.” But then the emails came in from all over the country, affirming the same thing and saying, “Give us some help for how we are to raise sons who grow up into adolescence with sexually-aggressive girls.”
Bob: When you say, “The girls are after them,” you’re saying the girls are after them, not just to ask them out, but the girls are after them—really pursuing them for a physical relationship.
Dennis: Well, for whatever reason—and we’ll get into that a bit later—I think these young ladies are looking for their emotional gas tanks to be filled by these young men. These guys are clueless. The boys—13, 14, 15, and 16, and on into their 20s—can be clueless about what’s taking place in this young lady’s life. I mean, perhaps she’s got a dad who deserted her as a little girl and she’s just looking for the affection of a male.
Bob: She wants love, or she wants status, or there can be a number of things driving it. The point is that what she’s seeing in the movies, or on TV, or what she’s watching her friends do, is, “You go after the guys. You pursue. You get aggressive. If necessary, you put yourself out there and invite the young man to do more than take you out on a date.”
Dennis: Right. It’s what prompted, a couple of years ago, us to do a series called “Helping Your Son Deal with Aggressive Girls”. The response was such that we said, “You know what? We’re going to create a tool for moms and dads to begin to build into their lives, when they’re boys—that means pre-adolescence, pre-puberty—and help these young men develop a game plan to know how to handle a young lady who is coming onto them—physically-speaking, or emotionally, or perhaps from an intimate standpoint.
Bob: So here, over the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be releasing a new book that you’ve written called Helping Your Son Deal with Aggressive Girls. The subtitle is: 7 Conversations You Need to Have with Your Boy.
Bob: You really believe you can have a strategy to get your sons ready for what could otherwise be a—well, I think of it like Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. It could be one of those moments. If your son is not trained to flee, he could be in trouble.
Dennis: Well, it’s not just for when they are 13, 14, etc. This is a game plan for a lifetime because a boy becomes a man who will ultimately be tempted by the opposite sex. Now, let me just lay a little groundwork here before we begin this series. I want the listener to know I am not placing all of the blame for sexual immorality on girls. I’m not saying, “It is all their fault.” I am saying our sons need to be equipped offensively to know how to handle it when the opposite sex becomes more than just a little friendly.
Dennis: If you’re wondering if that’s a biblical issue, you mentioned Potiphar’s wife. I think of Solomon, who was having heart-to-heart conversations with his son in Proverbs, Chapters 5 through 7. He basically said, “Now son, I want you to hear me. You’re going to run into some girls who are going to wink their eye. They’re going to twist the pearls, and they’re going to invite you in to the inner chamber. What are you going to do son? What are you going to do with that situation?”
Even the book of Song of Solomon, which is all about sexual love in marriage, also addresses this idea of a young lady who may be a little too inviting with the opposite sex. In Song of Solomon, Chapter 8, verses 8 and 9, it says—and I’m just going to give you a paraphrase here. It says, “I’ve got a little sister. She’s just young; she’s not fully developed yet. If she becomes a wall”—that means she’s not inviting guys to come toward her—“then you just protect her. You kind of build some guardrails around her. But if she’s a door,”—the writer of Song of Solomon says—“If she is a door, then you’ve got to build a barricade around her!”
In other words, if she is inviting the guys to come see her—to come and partake of her, from an intimate standpoint—then you’ve got to build more than just embattlements around her. It says in the Scriptures, “Enclose her with boards of cedar.” In other words, “Build a protective fortress around this young lady.” What the Bible is recognizing is there are girls who are going to be aggressive with guys.
You can either send your son off into adolescence and manhood, unprepared for what they’re going to face, or you can equip these boys to know how to handle the advances, the innuendos, the looks, the gaze, the aggressive nature of girls. Whether we like it or not, it is out there. In my opinion, it is growing today.
Bob: That’s the point. We’ve always known that teenage boys, unless they govern their own hearts and passions, they are going to get aggressive. I think what we’re seeing on the increase is that teenage girls are moving in this direction. What did the emails that we got—what did some of them say? Do you remember?
Dennis: Well, here’s one that says, “We have three grown daughters and a 16-year-old son. You would think our family would have experienced plenty of aggressive behavior from boys toward our daughters, but nothing compares with what I see our son going through!”
Here’s another one, “My ten-year-old son was enticed by a fifth-grade girl via email to open another email account so that I couldn’t monitor it, as his mother. I found it and cancelled it. She’s now sending email messages and e-cards to him and two of his friends, in a love quadrangle, that’s brilliantly orchestrated by her.”
Bob: At ten years old?
Dennis: Ten years old. And parents go, “Oh, now, really?!” Of course, at this point, you might say, “What’s a ten-year-old doing with an email account, in the first place?”
Bob: Or some parents would look at this and they would go, “Well, that’s just playful ten-year-old puppy love. That’s no big deal. That’s nothing to worry about.” But you’re saying, “No, you need to be concerned about this.”
Dennis: You do! Here’s another email, “I have two sons who attend public school. Recently, they were talking at the dinner table about girls who grab their behinds in the hallways—talking about grabbing the guys’. My husband and I were shocked. The boys said, ‘Welcome to public school, Mom!’”
Dennis: I mean, it’s just reality, Bob. You can’t have the kind of programming on TV, the kind of music that’s being listened to, the kind of texting and social media taking place today without a generation of young people getting a message. The message is, “It is okay,”—in fact, it is encouraged—“for girls to pursue guys, especially sexually.”
Bob: Alright. So those who would say to you, “I think you’re blowing this situation out of proportion. There have always been girls who were flirty or who try to get the boys.” You’re saying what you see is something that’s more than that?
Dennis: When our sons both moved into adolescence—both were handsome young men, attractive. Certainly, the girls had to notice them. We had one of them, who all of a sudden, out of the clear blue, started getting a dozen girls calling him on the phone!
This was back before there was social media. Had it been social media, all of this would have been taking place without either Barbara or I knowing it, unless we were checking their mobile device, or their computer, or their Facebook® page—whatever they were using for social media. Because it was the telephone, we knew it was happening. Finally, after about a week of this, I decided I would answer the phone. I kind of played a silver bullet at this point.
I answered it. A young lady said, “Is (So-and-so) here?” I said, “Yes, he’s here. This is his dad, and I just want you to know I really think it’s inappropriate for you to be calling him and pursuing him in this way.” Bob, it was faster than the speed of light. There were no phone calls!
Bob: The calls ended? They dried up?
Dennis: All 12 girls, who were calling, stopped!
Bob: They got the message!
Dennis: Instantly! It was like they were connected, and I think they were. It was kind of harmless, truthfully, compared to what is happening today; but I see it happening with boys today. I think it’s a game. I think it may be kind of a high-stakes game, in some regards, as these young ladies get a little older and they even reach down to younger boys. I mean, we’ve gotten emails from parents, who’ve told stories—I tell some of these stories in the book—of boys who are working when they’re 14, 15, and 16. Their supervisors are older young ladies—in their 20s. They’re preying upon them. These young men are very naïve and don’t know what’s happening.
There are some real horror stories of some things that have happened out there. I think what we’re talking about is, “You know what? This does exist. I don’t think we’re overreacting. I do think boys need to be prepared to live all of their lives as men—to know how to handle the wink of an eye, the twist of the pearls, the smile, and the invitation of a young lady or a woman to join them. It’s not going to go away.”
Bob: What do you think is fueling this? Is it because we’ve got Facebook and Twitter® now? Is it because social media makes it easier, or is it the media influence? What’s going on?
Dennis: I don’t think most parents have any idea of what most teenagers are watching, in the evenings, on the major networks. Now, most of the parents aren’t watching it. Some of the programs are, I think, actually targeting teens with messaging that is flagrantly ignoring any boundaries of things being right or wrong. It’s just girls seducing guys!
You’ve got a generation of boys and girls who are feeding off of this. They’re developing their worldview—not from the Bible—not from parents, who have built into their lives around moral character, and choosing right and not wrong, and being wise and not foolish. They’re building their worldview around what’s in media—what they’re reading on Facebook. As a result, they’re building their house on sand—as Jesus would say.
Bob: If mom and dad are busy, or they’re checked out because the 12-year-old says, “I don’t need you anymore,” and mom and dad back off, or if there’s only a mom or a dad in the picture, the lack of that kind of supervision and reinforcement of these standards can have an impact; don’t you think?
Dennis: It can. Bob, here’s the big idea that I want mom, and dad, or a grandmother, or grandparent, or maybe an aunt, or an uncle to catch. That is, “We need to prepare our elementary-aged boys and girls for adolescence.” FamilyLife has been very intentional over the last, I’d say, 15 years of creating tools for moms and dads to be the winners with their sons and their daughters—to help them be effective to prepare them for these choices.
As you know, we’re just finishing a brand-new version of Passport to Purity®. I would think the very best thing a dad could do with his son, prior to discussing this issue right here, is to lay the foundation by having a Passport to Purity weekend. It’s all in a kit. You do it yourself as a dad. It’s a father-son getaway for a Friday night and all day Saturday, where you do something your son really wants to do.
You listen to four or five CDs. You decide how deep you want to go on the subject matter we’ve covered. I want to tell you something, “I am really proud of this resource! It speaks the language of today’s 10-, 11-, and 12-year-olds. It helps prepare them for the decisions and the choices they’re going to have to make as a young man or as a young lady.”
Bob: The new version of Passport to Purity should be available in about—I think six to eight weeks is when that will be out. If folks want more information, they can go to FamilyLifeToday.com; or just keep listening to FamilyLife Today, and you’ll hear about the new Passport to Purity,when it becomes available.
Dennis, I know there are some folks who are thinking, “The real issue here is the boys; it’s not the girls. I know this may be an issue, but come on! If this is 20 percent of the problem, the boys are 80 percent of the problem. Let’s address the big issue.”
Dennis: I think parents have done a better job preparing their daughters for the onslaught of predatory guys—teenage boys, who are after their daughters. All in all, I think parents have done a better job with their daughters than they have their sons.
If you look at the book of Proverbs—I mentioned this earlier—Proverbs 5-7—I’m telling you, it is heart-to-heart stuff of a dad, talking eye-to-eye with a son—who’s a boy, or a teenager, or a young man—around the issues he’s going to face from the opposite sex.
He compares a man who commits adultery like an ox going into a stall at the meat packing factory.
Bob: Right, right.
Dennis: Like an ox to be slaughtered!
Bob: Led off to the slaughter; right.
Dennis: The issue is, I think, we have to do a better job as parents, having these uncomfortable, yet relevant, conversations with our sons. That’s why we’ve got these seven conversations, written out in the book, to have with your son. They are father-son or mother-son. It doesn’t have to be done by the dad. The point is they need to be done. The conversations need to be had. They need to be discussed.
It’s not a, “One-size-fits-all.” It’s not, “One-time-fits-all.” It’s the beginning of a lifetime conversation, with your sons, about the real temptations they’re going to face in real life.
Bob: So you’re suggesting to moms and dads—“You ought to have a series of conversations.” Would you say these are conversations you have one a week, one a night? How would you space out these conversations over time?
Dennis: I wouldn’t do it in a week. I think your son could absolutely short-circuit and overload—kind of fracture. (Laughter)
Bob: Stay in his room for a couple of months?!
Dennis: I can picture having this with an 11-, 12-, 13-year-old young man. He’s like, “What has happened to Dad?! What has happened to Mom?!” You know?
I would spread it out. I don’t think, Bob, it is not a matter of having a conversation and you’re done with it. I think if we erred on one side or the other, we probably didn’t have enough follow-up conversations around each of these seven areas like we should have.
Now, we did talk about it on an ongoing basis. I think, as you find ways, in everyday life, to bring godly perspective and wisdom to bear on your son’s life, you’ve got to use those teachable moments, when they come your way, to take all the truth you possibly can into your son’s soul so that his character stands strong in the midst of the temptations.
Bob: What would be a first conversation you would have to get your son ready for what he may be facing as he moves into adolescence?
Dennis: I want him to understand the value of wisdom. If you look at the book of Proverbs--Proverbs begins by saying in Chapter 1, verse 7, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.”
Later on, in the book of Proverbs, it says, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” Wisdom, as I talked about with our kids—especially my sons, as I took them on a Bible study—at a local restaurant—that we’d have before school, when they were 15, 16, 17. I walked them through the book of Proverbs. We unpacked the definition of what wisdom really is. Wisdom is godly skill in everyday living. It’s living life according to God’s perspective. It is living life the way God designed it. Wisdom is the opposite of foolishness.
Dennis: You’re training your son to be a wise man and not a fool. You’re helping him to look at life through God’s eyes and understand that this thing, called the opposite sex, who is coming after him—
“Wait a second! Caution, son! You need to keep your guard up and realize what’s happening here may happen to you for a good bit of your life as a man—not only now as a teenager, but well into adulthood.”
Dennis: You, as a parent, need to assume your responsibility for passing on wisdom, which is—repeat after me, “It is godly skill in everyday living. It is living life the way God designed it.” It means we, as the parents, need to be doing that, as well.
Bob: As we address this subject this week, we’re going to unpack what those conversations should look like and help you get a game plan—help you get a strategy together. You would say the time to start this—you start this with your son when he’s headed off to middle school? When he’s 12 or 13? When’s the right time to start engaging on this subject?
Dennis: Well, you know, truthfully, measuring the emails, the Facebook posts, and all of the communication that has come back to us here at FamilyLife, I don’t think you can afford to wait until adolescence to begin the process of talking about how young men and young ladies are to relate to each other.
There’s obviously the playful stuff, when they’re in first grade, second grade, you know. “Little Johnny got kissed by a girl.” Parents don’t need to go whacko about childishness—something that clearly is not necessarily wrong—but it is just childish behavior.
But there will come a point where you, as a parent, begin to realize the stakes are increasing with your son. You need to begin addressing these issues in a timely, diplomatic, heart-to-heart fashion. Could you overstep your bounds and say too much? Sure, you could do that. But I guess I’d rather encourage parents to go too far, rather than be silent or to not go far enough, because the issue is going to keep on coming.
As we’ve said, “All the way, through adolescence, into young adulthood, on into manhood—these are lessons that I think a father should pass on to his son”—a mother, a grandmother, a grandfather. I think it takes the entire family, around these issues, building into our sons’ lives, to help them be wise young men and to be men who choose right rather than wrong.
Bob: So, you start having these conversations early when your son is nine, or ten, or 11. If you didn’t have them then and your son is 15, or 16, or 17, get a game plan. You can still engage on this issue.
In fact, this week, we are making available your new book, Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys, to folks who will help us with a donation to support the ministry of FamilyLife Today. We are listener-supported. We depend on those donations to help keep this program on the air. We want to get this book out to as many folks as possible. If you can make a donation, this week, we’ll not only send you the Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys book; but we’ll send you a copy of the Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date book, as well.
Whether you have sons or daughters, you’ll have both of these books to help guide you through what can be some challenging years. When you go to FamilyLifeToday.com, click the button that says, “I Care”. That will take you to an area of the site where you can make a donation to help support the ministry. Again, when you make a donation online, we’ll send you both the new book, Aggressive Girls, Clueless Boys, and we’ll send you a copy of Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date. Both of them are by Dennis Rainey.
Our website is FamilyLifeToday.com. If you’d like to make a donation by phone, that’s easy. Just call 1-800-FL-TODAY to make your donation. Be sure to ask for the two books for parents of teens—the Aggressive Girls and the Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date book. We’ll send both of those out to you. We do appreciate your financial support of this ministry and want to say, “Thanks,” in advance, for your partnership.
Now, tomorrow, we’re going to talk more about what moms and dads can do to engage their sons in this issue and get them ready for what may be ahead during the teen years. I hope you can be back for that.
I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine. We will see you next time for another edition of FamilyLife Today.
FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas.
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