Button had been making a lot of sex-related comments that made me think it’s time to have the Talk. Things like, “Mama, what’s ‘saxy’ mean?” (Learning after some questioning that she was meaning ‘sexy’) And “Boys want to touch girls’ private parts.” I don’t know where she’s getting this stuff, but I suspect it’s school.
And it’s not that surprising. I knew way more than I should about sex when I was in third grade (thanks to a close friend who was being exposed to way too much sexuality at home), and kids in my seventh grade class were already sexually active. I also started asking around and learned from friends who teach school in the area that kids know all about sex by mid-late elementary school. Some kids are sexually active and experimental by fourth and fifth grade.
While I was picking my jaw up off the floor, I realized that it was time for the Talk. You know, that super-embarrassing-I’d-rather-not-have-it-but-I-wish-someone-had-told-me Talk.
How do you talk to your kid about sex? Especially from a Christian perspective?
My first question was whether this was an appropriate age. She’s eight now. She stills likes to sleep with her blankie. She loves watching Duck Tales and Dora. Am I taking a sledge hammer to her Ming vase of innocence?
I jumped on-line and did some research. First, there’s not much out there. At least not much that lines up with our worldview and values. Second, everything said around eight years old was an appropriate age for the Talk. Again, scraping my jaw off the floor. Looks like my mommy instincts were right. We’re hearing the off-handed comments because it’s time. Didn’t mean I wanted to do it. For what it’s worth, I found this website particularly helpful: http://valuesparenting.com/talktokids.php
So I started putting together a strategy. I planted the bug in Niki’s ear – I think it’s time. I knew he’d be reluctant. I told him I’d research it and put a plan together (All the while so frustrated that I need to plan and research how to talk about this! Shouldn’t I know?!)
Then I identified my objectives and values. What was I trying to accomplish? Here are the things that mattered to me:
- I want our beliefs and values about sex to be the foundation in her mind, the standard by which she judges everything else she hears. It’s just a matter of time before false, harmful, or inappropriate things come across her path. I want her to know how to identify them and why they’re not okay. We’re going to be the first to lay the cement in this area. Hopefully she will be grounded enough in what is good and what is right that she can even influence her peers in that direction, rather than vice versa.
- I want her to know she can talk to mom and dad about sex and sexuality now, later, and always. This is not a taboo topic for me and Niki to talk about with her. To that end, the Talk can’t be awkward for her (we’ll have to conceal our awkward feelings!), and we need to be honest. We need to tell her all she needs to know, and no more and no less.
- I want to give her a biblical paradigm for processing all things sexuality. While we won’t cover every variation, issue, or aberration in this talk, I want her to have the foundations for a way of thinking about everything sex. (Tangentially, I found that many students in law school made illogical arguments and reached nonsensical conclusions about critical legal matters simply because of a poorly defined worldview and philosophy about sexual issues.) The way she thinks about sex will affect a lot more than what she does with her body. It has the potential to affect her mind, soul, spirit, and body in serious, and possibly disastrous ways. And, conversely, it has the potential of being one of the healthiest, greatest, most beautiful, and awesome things she will ever experience. I want it to be the latter.
(To be continued)