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Growing Leaders Blog

on Leading the Next Generation


Gender Confusion in our Kids

I am blogging all week about the best questions I received last Saturday when I spoke at a parenting conference at Northridge Church, just outside of Detroit. It was a great day of dialogue and the parents were full of insightful questions. Here is another below.

“It seems like I am running into more and more tweens and teens who say they plan to experiment not only with sex, but with genders. They are not sure which gender they prefer to marry or to engage in sexual activity. It’s a bit frightening—how do I counsel my kid? I don’t want to sound judgmental, but I wonder if this is just a fad today where kids are exploring new things. What do you think?”

This issue is coming up more and more today. Let me begin by saying I am not a psychologist; I am a leadership trainer for the next generation. And, I am just one voice. However, with this in mind, let me respond.

To be honest, I believe some teens are simply playing into the cultural norm to “experiment” with sexual partners. However, there are other factors that aid this sexual confusion. For instance, for several years now, scientists have known about chemicals, like BPA, that are in our plastics and our water. When BPA enters the human body, it mimics estrogen, the female hormone. This is impacting both girls and boys in Generation iY, born since 1990.  Girls are moving into puberty faster than ever before, as early as eight years old, instead of twelve or thirteen. And boys are seeing a drop in testosterone levels in their body. According to Dr. Leonard Sax, M.D. and PhD in Psychology, boy’s testosterone levels are half of what they were in their grandparent’s day.

I wonder if part of the reason for kid’s sexual confusion is the chemicals they’ve ingested. BPA will obviously affect kids differently, based on their natural levels of estrogen and testosterone. But culture and home environment (on the outside) as well as chemicals inside of them can impact their perspective and sex drive.

Consequently, we must handle this experimentation with grace and mercy. Keep talking about the issue with these tweens and teens. We believe what’s key to their sense of identity is to help them identify their God-given gifts and play to them. This actually builds strong self-esteem. In response, perhaps some of the inward need to experiment with their identity can be reduced if many of their emotional needs are met through the affirmation that comes through employing their gifts and strengths. This seeming unrelated issued may lead to healthy choices. It’s just a thought. Remember, I am no psychologist. Just a leadership trainer for the next generation.

What do you think? How do you respond when you see students struggle with this issue?



  1. Smrl8688 on March 23, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    I honestly do not think it is anything scientific. we are living in our last days and unfortunately this is acceptable in society..its in the media, music and entertainment and this is what the young tweens and teens feed their energy. We forget that at that age we were trying to find ourselves as far as identity and acceptance, and unfortunately they have it worse

  2. dc93 on April 5, 2011 at 1:21 pm

    I would have to say the Public Schools are playing a huge part in this confusion for teens.
    The Homosexual agenda has been introduced to our children as young as 5 years old. In Middle School they teach kids it’s perfectly normal to want to have sex with the opposite sex.

    What kids are being taught about sex in schools would horrify our grandparents. It is no wonder these kids are confused it’s a mixed message.

    • Tim Elmore on April 29, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      Sex education in schools is a hot topic for sure! It certainly underscores the importance for parents to take the responsibility – early and often – to share age-appropriate information about sex with their children. This is definitely not just a one-time “birds and the bees” talk but an ongoing conversation through the many stages of development and questions that children face.

  3. Denisekeenaknox on April 14, 2011 at 9:05 am

    I am now struggling with this issue in my daughter. It has suddenly become “cool” to be gay. I don’t know when this happened. We have raised our children in a loving, nurturing Christian environment. I am searching for answers and praying…. a lot!

    • Tim Elmore on April 29, 2011 at 1:53 pm

      As our children pass through adolescence it’s sometimes discouraging to realize that our voice/opinion doesn’t carry as much weight as it used to. The voice of popular culture and friends rings louder than ever. This is the time of life that my wife and I really leaned into others to continue speaking the same messages to our children as we always had. Take heart in the fact that you are not in this alone. Look for opportunities to surround your child with teachers, mentors, and influences that will speak into her life during this critical time. That and a lot of prayer, of course!

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Gender Confusion in our Kids