Straight Talk: Part Four

Are you enjoying all these notes on how/ why to talk to your children about sex?  I have learned so much!  Here are some more great tidbits from the McDowell’s book, Straight Talk With Your Kids About Sex.

“Sexual issues are not learned in a “big talk.”  It is, instead, an unfolding process with information given out in little chunks at a time.  Deal with issues and opportunities as they arise.  The best sex education is 30 seconds here, 1 minute there, 10 seconds here, 2 minutes and 45 seconds there, and so on, starting as young as possible.  When something comes up- step in, address it, and step back.  Don’t make a big deal out of it.  In our family, about half of all conversations we had with our children about sex were no more than about two minutes each time.”

“It’s not that we talked about it all the time in our family, but when it came up at the dinner table or in the car or before bed we simply talked about it.  It was just like other topics- just a normal part of our conversation.  This creates an environment where kids feel comfortable coming to the parents with questions and they can be the source of information.”

“The Bible is clear about the most effective way to teach truth to our children- Deuteronomy 6:7- teach them when you walk by the way, when you lie down, when you rise up.”

“You would never consider waiting to talk to your children about your faith in only “one big talk.”  You would lovingly and intentionally be sharing things about the Bible and God over time.  It is similar regarding sex.  We shouldn’t assume that “one big talk” will answer every question our children have about the subject.  Sex is a subject that must be examined early, often, and with honesty.”

“Pure and simple, if you don’t talk to your kids about sex, someone else will.  Your kids will gain an understanding about sex one way or another.  And the misinformation they receive can range from the unfortunate to the tragic.”

“Not talking to your kids about sex means they will learn it from other sources.  And if that source is the Internet, that opens them up to the over 5 million pornographic websites that are out there.”

“If we are the ones who reach our kids first with God’s design for sex, it will go a long way in insulating them from the negative impact of pornography, perverted morality, and the misinformation about sex.”

“Children by nature are curious- some more than others.  And there is something fascinating, mysterious, and intriguing about sex.  So the issue isn’t with our kids being too curious.  The problem occurs when their curiosity isn’t satisfied.”

“It is completely normal and natural for our kids to wonder about sex and want to have answers to their questions.  There is a real danger if we don’t respond to their curiosity.  Remember, they will get answers from somewhere or someone.  Curiosity about sex will not go away if it is never discussed.  In fact, avoiding the subject can make sex seem even more mysterious and exciting.  How a child’s curiosity is satisfied from 4 to 12 years of age often determines their sexuality from 12 to 18 years old.”

“When I (Dottie) would bathe my young children, I would routinely refer to body parts with their correct descriptions.  I made it a point to talk about private parts as calmly and deliberately as I did fingers, toes, and ankles.  This was an intentional decision to communicate a natural comfort level when discussing our bodies.  This honesty early on set the stage for relaxed discussions later.”

“A preschooler is content with vague sexual information such as “Babies grow inside mommies.”  But later on, there will be questions and curiosity about how the baby gets inside the mom’s tummy.  They may ask questions like “Does Mommy vomit up the baby?” Or “Does Daddy unzip Mommy’s tummy?”  Or “Does Mommy poop the baby out?”  The child is looking for simple, honest explanations.  One little boy believed that if a girl kissed him, that would make him pregnant.  He was so afraid of his great aunt!  Some pre-teens think that when you have sex you will pee out semen.  Some teens think you can get pregnant by having oral sex.  They need honest explanations from their parents.”

“Just because a teen or pre-teen has questions about how a girl gets pregnant, what condoms are for, or what oral sex is, that doesn’t mean they are planning to become sexually active.  It’s best to answer their questions without assuming that curiosity is a danger sign.  The danger sign is in not satisfying their curiosity with honest answers.”

“What About Using “Nicknames” for Body Parts?  When you use correct words like penis, testicles, vulva, or vagina, explain not only what they are but also what they do.  Your kids will find out sooner or later, and it’s becoming much sooner now because of the Internet.  You will want to become your child’s authority on what body parts he or she has and what they are called.  You don’t want it to be the Internet.”

“One of the top three things parents can do to help their children say “no” to sexual pressure is to not just share information or knowledge, but share accurate knowledge.”

“Research actually suggests that young people who are knowledgeable about sexuality and reproductive health are less likely to engage in early sexual activity.”

“If our children find that we as parents are not honest and accurate, they will lose trust in us and we will lose influence.  And count on it- our kids will often “Google” their questions on the Internet and compare the answers with the ones we give them.”

“Shouldn’t Certain Issues Be Off-Limits?  Some of the material our kids are seeing and reading is horrific.  Much of it is horrible and makes us uncomfortable.  Yet from the moment our children are born, we need to create an atmosphere of openness and approachability that makes any and all questions from them acceptable.  If you act repulsed or surprised or appear uncomfortable about your child’s question, it may be the last question he or she will ask.  No question should be off-limits.“

“The attitude that no questions are taboo will have a tremendous impact on your child’s understanding and behavior.  But you need to verbalize your openness.  Let them know they can ask you anything.”

“Children are very perceptive, and they will be able to tell if their parents are uncomfortable with the topic of sex.  If children sense that their parents are uncomfortable, they will be less likely to come to their parents with problems and questions later on.  Children might also be led to believe that sex is bad or wrong, or a taboo subject.”

“How Often Should I Talk to My Kids About Sex?  Since most young children can only take in small bits of information at any one time, it’s important to let a little time pass between discussions.  Ask your child what they remember about the previous discussion, this will help you correct any misconceptions and fill in missing facts.”

Straight Talk:  Final Post, Part Five

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