As parents, you are aware that you must talk to your kids about sex. But you are anxious, embarrassed. Even scared that they may think that your willingness to talk about sex may be taken as your giving them permission to have sex.
You also aren’t sure when to have the talk. You don’t want to spoil their innocence. Aren’t they too young for the ‘sex talk’? And what aspects should you talk about anyway? Their changing body? Feelings? Sexual activities? Relationships? Dating? The list is endless. Where do you begin? And how? After all, you’re not qualified to talk to them about sex! You didn’t get any sex education from your parents when you were young. And you turned out OK. Well, sort of. And so you put it off, trusting that school sex education and church youth groups will help your kids negotiate the sexual minefield of today.
Who is going to teach your kids about sex?
Your kids and preteens (the so-called ‘Z’ generation, born 1995-2009) are the most cyber-connected, socially aware, advertised to and sexualized who ever walked this planet. Ideas of body image are based on airbrushed pictures, music videos and bronzed and buffed sports stars. Identity is perceived and projected as a Facebook profile, Instagram picture or twitter comment. And norms for relationships and sex are built on pornography.
The choice is yours. You can be the primary sex educator for your kid, giving them a firm foundation of an identity built on God’s love and a clear Biblical pattern for relationship and sex. Or you can leave them vulnerable to the individualistic, hedonistic values of society. You can be the ‘go to’ person your kid turns to when they have a question or a problem; else leave them open to peer pressure and pornography as their resources.
The basic ingredients of a good sex talk
Below are some pointers to get you thinking. I go into more detail in Growing Up By The Book, which is written to help you on this journey with your kids.
1. Be informed: Puberty age is dropping. But there is a marked variation as to the age at which kids start body development and the rate they progress through it. Further, stimulated by social media, kids emotional and risk taking brain develops way ahead of their ability to assess and control their actions.
Chapters 2 and 3 of the book discuss these. Read these. Then share it with your kids. Look at the sections ‘ask Mum and Dad’ and be ready for the conversations.
2. Build identity and self-worth: Kids grow up in a world where identity and self-worth is based on sexuality, body image and sexual activity. Give them a Biblical identity in Christ and buttress it with your love and your lived example. Do it early and reinforce it in an age appropriate manner.
Chapter 4 discusses world view and God’s view on identity. ‘Think Spots’ give kids the opportunity to reflect on issues. Encourage them to share their thoughts with you.
3. Be honest and unafraid: Sex education is more than ‘just sex’. It’s about character. It’s about teaching personal integrity and relational faithfulness within God’s pattern for life. It’s not about telling your kid “just don’t do it”; it’s about explaining Gods plan to them, showing them why it’s the best, and demonstrating it in your life.
Chapter 1 gives you an overview of God’s plan for sex. Read it and share it. Be honest when kids ask about your experiences. They need to know that you too faced choices, and made decisions-wise and unwise.
4. Deal with the difficult topics: There are some topics that are hard to bring up with kids. But they often are the very ones they need clear Biblical understanding and direction in. Some you struggled with as a kid (masturbation, virginity, dating, contraception, homosexuality), others are new to you (cyberbullying, transgender, Brazilians, intersex, sexting).
Part 2 of the book is a glossary of terms with descriptions and Biblical underpinnings. Use these as and when needed. Of particular importance in this section is the ‘red alert’ inserts. These warn kids about unhealthy, dangerous ways of thinking and acting. Talk over these dangers with them.
5. Be there and be aware: Sometimes, in spite of all you do, things go wrong. Your kids live in a world where risk-taking is normal. Remember: God can forgive, heal and redeem anything. So can you. Be open, approachable, and available. So here you have it. You, parents, are your kid’s primary sex educators. Go ahead: be proactive. Be the parent God meant you to be. Guide and shape your child’s knowledge, values, and attitudes – before the world does.
Your invitation to the Sydney book launches
Bringing up godly children is a privilege and an awesome responsibility. Join us at the launch events for Growing Up By The Book at these locations where Patricia Weerakoon will speak on how to raise your 10-14 year old in a sexualised world. These events are FREE and include supper and special offers on a range of parenting books.
Tuesday Oct 14 @ 7 pm
Billa Rd, Bangor
Unreserved seating—doors open 6:30 pm
Promo video for this event: https://vimeo.com/105505776
Thursday Oct 23 @ 7 pm
28 West Pde, West Ryde
RSVP to Raj Narayan
Promo video for this event: https://vimeo.com/105505854
For more articles from Growing Faith, subscribe to our monthly e-newsletter.
To hear about the latest books and resources from Youthworks Media, subscribe here.