We also have a much shorter list of things we think we did pretty well.
One of those things on our short list is how we approached talking about sex and puberty.
All of our babies (now 17, 17, 15 and 11) have been pretty comfortable chatting with us about most anything from where do babies come from to condoms to other more intimate things.
It is not like they come home and share it at the dinner table but it will be a subtle comment like, “I told such and such that I loved her today” or “Mom, I had my first kiss last night” (usually when just the two of us are driving somewhere so there is no direct eye contact.) This will lead to a larger conversation where you can ask your child to weigh in with their opinion or ask them if they have questions about specifics. One of my favorite lines was from my, then 13 year old, who had his first kiss. He proceeded to ask me if he was supposed to launch into french kissing the next time he saw this girl. I am grateful we could discuss that question instead of him thinking he needed to shove his tongue down a 13 year old girl’s throat.
We started the dialogue about sex as soon as they asked the first “kind of sex” question. Our rule is you can ask anything you want and we will answer you honestly as long as it is not personal. So they can ask,” What happens when a man and woman have sex”? but not “How many times a week do you and daddy have sex”? We try to give them age appropriate straight forward answers with just the information they were requesting. If they asked where babies come from we would give an explanation like, “a baby grows inside the mother and that at the right time he or she comes into the world through the mother’s vagina.” They then scream ewww gross and wouldn’t ask anything for a few months. But the key is that they do continue to ask.
As they got older and more curious they would want more detail and we would elaborate with just the facts.
We also attend Lovefest every year. Lovefest is an amazing program put on by Our Savior Lutheran in Arcadia, CA. It consist of a variety of different topics (cyber bullying, masturbation, healthy body image etc.) You and your child attend certain forums together and then you go your own way and pick the symposiums that interest you. The beauty of this event is that it throws the doors wide open about any subject. Each presenter tackles the subject openly, many with humor, and more importantly with God’s design and plan for your sexuality.
Our rides home from Lovefest would be full of questions and discussions. It helps instill the fact that sex is a positive, beautiful gift from God, provided you participate in it according to God’s design.
Now that they have serious girlfriends the decisions they make carry much more significant ramifications. We are grateful that sex is not a taboo subject, that they are not learning from their peers. We feel like we have equipped them to make respectful and sound choices.
You don’t have to have a Lovefest in order to have an open dialogue about sex. We didn’t make it a big one time birds and bees discussion. It is just something we always talked about.
If that makes you nervous start small. If they are little just ask them what they know about sex? What have they heard? You may be shocked what they already know or think they know.
We always felt that giving a child facts about reproduction and puberty, including details about intercourse, does not rob him of innocence. Innocence is a function of attitude, not information. A school-age child who understands the specifics of sex, while seeing it as an act that, in the proper context, both expresses love and begins new life, retains his innocence.
Genesis 1:28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply.
Matthew 19:5 ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’