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How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex: Advice for All Ages

  1. It’s a phenomenal resource for a world that is much, much different than when we grew up. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like the pressures are greater….But there is help

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Who remembers having “the talk” with their parents? If you do, how did it go? Was it super uncomfortable? Did it leave you with more questions than answers? Or do you not really even remember having much of a talk? I don’t remember ever having a talk with my parents. Perhaps I did, and I’ve blocked it from memory. My sister remembers asking what sex was at the dinner table one night, and hearing our dad simply state the anatomical process, in about eleven words. When she, as a girl who still thought boys were gross, asked why anyone would want to do that, he just said “well it’s only fun when you’re married.” A friend shared that her parents waited until the school had done the sex-ed presentation, and simply said “I heard you learned about sex at school today. Any questions? No? Ok great.” My husband’s parents did the same, but also told him they knew he would make good choices because he was a good boy so they didn’t really need to talk to him too much about it. Needless to say, while our parents likely had good intentions, they didn’t always do the best job of preparing us for the real world when it came to the topic of sex. Maybe yours were similar, or maybe you had a great experience. Either way, it’s a subject many of us are skittish about when it comes to talking to our children, which is why I was so excited to discover the God’s Design for Sex series! I didn’t really even know where to start, let alone what age is appropriate for what topics. Enter a series of books on the topic, geared towards each age group! Ahh, sigh of relief. I don’t have to do all the work myself! Let’s look a little more at some good advice I’ve come across on the subject.

Honesty is the Best Policy

When it comes to questions about sex, honesty is really the best way to go. Now, before you get all concerned and think I’m saying you need to disclose intimate personal details of your relationships to your children, I’m NOT. What I am saying though, is if they have a question, answer it. Dr James Dobson of Focus on the Family says that it is far better for a parent to answer a question at the moment of curiosity than to leave the child wondering, hoping to wait to talk about it later. A child’s comments share their thoughts, and if they are thinking about something, you want to be the one to share with them. But, you don’t have to be super explicit. For example, my daughters asked at a fairly young age why my body parts looked different than theirs. I simply said, when you are older, yours will look like this too. It’s God’s design for a woman’s body, but a little girls body looks a little different. Answer honestly, and don’t hide important information. Not sure exactly what to say? Me either. I love the God’s Design for Sex series for this very reason – it guides me with exactly what’s appropriate for each age group, and provides books I can read to my girls when they ask questions, or at any time I feel is appropriate.

Begin Young, Begin Simple

Don’t wait until the sex ed talk in middle school or late elementary school, introduce your kids to the topic early. It’s better they hear it from you than from a friend, or an internet search. Now, I’m not saying sit your eight year old down and tell him all about the birds and the bees. There’s also harm in bringing up too much too young. Family experts like Dobson believe childhood education should be focused on childish interests, not adult pleasures and desires. “Now wait a second,” you may be saying. “How am I supposed to start young, but not share too much?” Enter this great series I’ve been mentioning. Not only are there books for every age group, there’s a great parent guide! Which brings me to my next topic, resources!

Enlist resources to help you

No man (or woman) is an island, right? It takes a village, right? And lots of other incredibly true cliches about raising children come to mind here. Don’t do it alone! Seek out advice from your pastor, or children’s pastor. Ask a trusted Christian friend with older children what they did that worked and what didn’t. And get some awesome guideance from the God’s Design for Sex series! The books lay it all out there for you so you don’t have to come up with the words yourself.

  • The Story of Me is for 3-5 year olds, and talks about how a baby grows inside a mother, the birth process, proper names for body parts, and the specialness of being made a boy or a girl.
  • Before I was Born, for 5-8 year olds, discusses why God made girl and boy bodies different, God’s plan for loving marriages and families, basic facts about sex in the context of marital love, and some information on childbirth.
  • What’s the Big Deal, geared toward 8-12 year olds, focuses on what the Bible says about sex, about puberty and what to expect, and about how you should respond to sexual pressure from a variety of sources.
  • Facing the Facts, for 12-16 year olds, helps kids understand the maturation of their bodies, the meaning of sex in God’s story, worldviews on sex, pregnancy, birth, and sexual addiction.
  • The Parent’s Guide is a great companion to the books for kids, and will teach you to discuss all these things with your kids, how to encourage a commitment to purity, how to create an environment of trust and honesty, and how to affirm the goodness of God’s plan for sex.

It’s a phenomenal resource for a world that is much, much different than when we grew up. Maybe it’s just me, but I feel like the pressures are greater now than when I was young, and it’s a bit scary if I honestly think about my 5 and 8 year old girls and what they will have to face down the road. But there is help, and by following the guidance in the God’s Design for Sex series, along with lots of prayer and advice from other trusted sources in my life, I will be able to help them navigate this tricky subject.

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Julie McConnell

Julie is a life-long Hoosier, wife, and mother of two. When she is not working in her pharmacy, she spends her time with her husband and daughters in Indianapolis. She is a member of Geist Christian Church and enjoys playing outside with her girls, finding fun things to do in Indy, watching football, and reading bedtime stories.