Teaching Your Child About Sex

When I was a young girl, good Christian girls never talked about sex. Ever. I knew I could talk to my mom, who was a nurse, but her clinical approach made me uncomfortable. Therefore, I avoided the topic altogether. Unfortunately, I learned a very tainted, shameful view of sex through sexual abuse, teen magazines and friends my own age.

So when I had children, I determined to do things differently. But in all honestly, I probably made some of the same mistakes because I suffered from the shame of abuse. Like all parents who love their children, I did the best I could.

In anticipation of this post, I talked with several moms about sex education. Many had similar difficulties. Sex is not an easy topic to talk about with your kids, but if you don’t someone else will, and you will probably not like what they teach. Sex education classes may teach teens to practice putting a condom on a banana or pass out condoms like party favors.

One mom I spoke with said she was probably too open. Another let her children to come to her with questions. However, if your kids are like I was, they won’t ask you, they’ll ask their peers, learn about it in school or find information on their own over the internet.

We spoke with our children periodically, at different stages. Using compelling questions, we strove to keep the lines of communication open. We were fairly open with the kids but we are even more open now. Let’s open up communication and share about sex in a positive way, from God’s point of view. The more open you can be with your kids, the less mystery and shame is attached. Don’t get me wrong, they will definitely be curious, but you want to be available to help guide them in this misguided world.

My contest this month is for the book, Teaching Your Children About Sex by Grace Ketterman, MD. Please click here for the rules (so far, only three people qualify). I think this will be a wonderful teaching tool. This article is also published on Sex, Love & Marriage. Check out the comments there as well as the rest of the blog.


11 thoughts on “Teaching Your Child About Sex

  1. Thank you, Jan, for this post. I am the mom who lets my kids ask questions. My daughter has had a million questions from day one, which surprised me, since I was very much like you. It seems I can’t give her enough answers and she has an insatiable curiosity. Thank you for reminding me to MAKE the conversation happen. By asking questions of my own.

  2. My daughter asked questions when she was 3 and 4 and I always answered only what she asked. No extra info. But as she grew older, she stopped. I never asked at all as a kid. I learned through various sources. Sneaking peeks at books in the library and looking at porn when I had the chance.My son has never asked a single question.I found some great books that are age appropriate and start with very young children, just talking about how God made us special and different and they go all the way up to teens and teaching the morality of sex. I actually have two different sets that are put out by two different groups. I didn’t get them until my daughter was about 9. So I gave them the ones appropriate for their ages. The one for my daughter, (she’s the oldest) tells it all. Girl puberty, boy puberty, wet dreams, periods, intercourse, everything.So she read it and then she came to me with questions about it. It worked very well for me. I’m not sure if my son has read that one yet. I think I need to get him his own copy. My daughter has kept it for reference, I think. And now she has moved on to the next in the series. She saw it in a bookstore and sked me to get it for her. I would have been too embarrassed to do that as a kid, so I’m glad she’s comfortable with it.I don’t think we would have done well just teaching them ourselves.

  3. Great post and topic Jan. I think it’s all about age appropriate talk and being open with your kids. I too got the clinical discussions from my mom. The good old Time Life series on everything from conception up through marriage. yuk. I was the type of kid who would have talked about it if there hadn’t been such a history of sexual abuse in the family tree. My Mom did the best she could based on where she had been. Thankfully, her ceiling was my floor and I’m taking the next step in talking openly with my kids. My 8 year old son has asked a few questions and I’ve begun the talks with my 5 year old daughter about taking care of girl parts, etc. I’ll take the questions as they’re ready to ask them. We continually make it clear that we’ll talk with them about anything and everything without embarrassing or shaming them. I’d much rather be their main source of information and look stuff up together if needed then to have them go searching and find God knows what on the web or through their friends. The key is to talk about it without shame myself.

  4. I tried to keep the lines open for my kids, but as they approach the age where they really need to talk to parents, they stop asking. It’s a subject that needs to be discussed with the respect God meant it to have.fondly, Deena

  5. Good topic, Jan. I admit, I have no clue where to even begin the conversation with the kiddos or even the right things to say. When you grow up with a skewed perception, it’s really hard sometimes to figure out a way of doing it without skewing it even more. Lots of encouraging thoughts here.

  6. Flea – how wonderful that she feels comfortable asking. You must be doing it right. One thing I would like to add here is that all kids are different and what works for your daughter may not work for your son. Kay – I think if you are uncomfortable or uneasy with it, the kids will pick up on it. It sounds like you’ve achieved a good balance. Niki – I would say that our mom’s did the best they could for their era. Hopefully each generation will do better than the last. You’re so right, the key is talking to the kids without shame.Deena – true. That’s when we need to ask questions to keep the communication up. If they aren’t willing to talk, just letting them know we are here for him. And yes, we need to give it the respect it deserves. I don’t think they get that in school.Danica – pray about it and use open questions the kids ask you. Be open and honest and if they ask something, don’t over explain it. Be sure to use age appropriate information.

  7. Oh boy, what an uncomfortable subject. : ) My daughter-in-law is having this conversation with my 9 year old grandson right now. Blessings,LoriI’ll tell her about this book.

  8. My mother’s idea of sex education was – It’s wrong, don’t do it. If I catch you doing it I will beat you. Everything I learned, I learned from my peers.So, you can imagine that I would take a very different approach with my girls. For me, it was important that they learn to be comfortable with their bodies long before they saw themselves as sexual beings; that they learn how to listen to their bodies so they would recognize the many changes that would come throughout their lifetime. From there it was a natural step to talking about the gift of an intimate realtionship with your husband. What a weighty subject. It takes years of openness, willingness to be vulnerable and honest with them just to prepare them for the basics of blossoming womanhood. And, just when you think the conversations are over – one of them gets married and there are even more questions.

  9. Lori- I don’t think it needs to be an uncomfortable topic. If we are comfortable in our bodies and receive sex as a gift from God, we’ll pass that along to our children, if through abuse or wrong teaching, we are shamed by it, we need to ask God for healing before approaching our own children and placing those attitudes on them.Your grandchildren may ask you questions as well.Hynson – I think many Christian kids are taught over and over to abstain that when they are *allowed* to engage in sex, they feel it’s dirty or wrong.It’s hard to switch gears like that.The enemy loves to distort something God made beautiful and so he does this with porn and abuse. God designed sex for an emotional and spiritual connection between two people so “the two become one.” This is why casual sex and sexual abuse is so damaging. I agree with you, we never stop teaching our children even if they are not asking questions. If we aren’t telling them anything, we are ‘speaking’ without words. Shannon – so true. Look at the prevalent attitude now that oral sex is not really sex. We can thank Bill Clinton for that. Teens are engaging in oral sex and calling themselves virgins.

  10. Jan,This is such a great post. I am so proud of you! You lead the way for so many. I plan to blog about this next week. Thanks for stirring me to post too!

The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time. - Psalm 34:19

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