I’m in the best days of my life. Married to the guy of my dreams and raising kids, an 11 year old and a 20 month old. Being a mom and raising up these little blessings, every single day, is the best gift I could ever be given!
My life lately has included super fun chats with my pre-teen son. 😬 It’s a new adventure. He is quickly approaching a new chapter in his life. It’s rocking mine and my husband’s world too, let me tell you! I keep reminding myself that it’s a complete honor ( no, not horror) to have the responsibility to teach him these things.. yeah, I know it’s a little (or a lot) awkward for you when you think about it.. 😬 but it really shouldn’t be, and I have some great guidelines for you!
Some of you may have been talking to your child about body parts + sex all of their lives. Some of you have young kids, and that’s your plan. Some of you are reflecting back on your own kids and what exactly you shared with them and when. Some of you may have had parents who avoided the topic entirely, making you feel ashamed to even ask a question, so you just learned all the information from your friends.. and that’s to assume the ONLY friends that informed you had parents who gave them awesome, mature, correct information. (I’m sure there are a lot of funny stories coming to mind). And then it may have snuck up FAST on some of you, so, some of you are ramping up for a fast chat before your son or daughter watches the dreaded 5th grade public school video.. which then spurs all kinds of talk among classmates. 🙈. Regardless of where you’re currently at on this subject, I really don’t believe you can talk about this stuff TOO much.
First of all, no, I do not believe this is shattering his innocence or robbing him of his childhood. Where did these terms even come from? What does this have to do with ‘just being a kid’. Knowledge is knowledge, which is good. I promise you, it’s not awkward to them until they see your hestitance and awkwardness on the subject. That’s truly the case with any subject under the sun. Now, I do agree with giving age appropriate information, but still that’s a really blurry line for each, individual child. (Still. You won’t screw it up!) We have a pretty incredible and important job as parents. It’s about training them up, step by step, example by example. Start conversation in every single way you can. Because really, what’s awkward about Gods Creation? The way he fashioned us to grow, mature and develop mentally and physically over time. To love one another. To commit our lives to one person in marriage. To be fruitful and have beautiful babies. To love and raise those babies. And to do all of this with our love for Him being the center of it all!
I believe the most successful and well-rounded kids, were talked to by their parents a whole lot, and then a little more. The worst mistake we can make is just assuming they know something. So, give honest information at all costs. Your kids need to know that they can always come to you with questions about sex, and that you will always give them accurate information.
Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Take to heart these words that I give you today. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you’re at home or away, when you lie down or get up. Write them down, and tie them around your wrist, and wear them as headbands as a reminder. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.
Here are a few of those real-life teaching moments:
-talking about inappropriate touch while batheing your child (we NEED our kids to know this as young as possible)
-talking about body image when a billboard shows a woman stereotypically thin and beautiful
-talking about the word ‘gay’ and the concept of a relationship of the same sex. Look at what the Bible says about it together.
-talking about how a baby forms inside the mother’s womb when you see a pregnant woman
-talking about the lyrics of a song and the values associated with it
-talking about the latest scandal in the media (you could just give age appropriate information regarding it)
Example: I remember New Years Eve of 2015, when our oldest (10 years old at the time) randomly, but politely, asked to leave the room. My husband and I were playing games and watching the New Years Rockin Eve on TV with him. When we questioned him, he said he wanted the channel turned. Confused, we kept asking him why. It soon occurred to us that he was uncomfortable with the music and dancers on stage, and their lack in modesty. We turned it off. After we told him we were proud of him for having a voice, we explained how sometimes, as adults, our minds just block it out, because we have just become accustomed to it. And wow, isn’t that a tough realization as parents. As parents who are trying to teach their kids about purity and modesty.. then they turn around and give it back to us, like.. uh, what do I even do with this? We took this opportunity to teach him again what God says about modesty and body image. It was perfect.
Here’s how we had the sit-down talk.
1. THE BODY: it was created in God’s image
Open up your Bible. The safest place for a child to learn about sex is from their parent, with a Bible in their lap. Our kids need to see us demonstrate what studying God’s Word looks like.
Your son or daughter’s body was created by God and in God’s own, perfect image! Plus, He absolutely loved it! This is the time to teach or remind them of this.
Genesis 1:26-27 Then God said, “Let us make man in our own image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:31 And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.
2. BODY PARTS: each part was created for a purpose
Basically, pretty self explanatory. We simply had an anatomy lesson on male parts and on female parts.
Our son asked, “why do I need to learn about girl parts if I’m a boy?” Our answer, “God created both so perfectly and for a purpose, so it’s important we teach you about both, don’t you think?”
If for any reason at all, do this to save their sweet soul from embarrassment.. like when they repeat a word to a friend that they don’t really understand or say a phrase in the wrong context to another adult. 🙊 We taught our son a few of the other words for male and female body parts and he revealed that he had heard a few of these words before… and then told us what he actually thought they meant! Ahhh! 🙈 With that being said, YOU have to initiate this conversation!! It (most likely) will not just fall into your lap. We told our son a few of those words were pretty ugly and pointless to use, and that we didn’t want them to come from his mouth.
As an example of body parts and their purposes: I just finished breastfeeding two months ago, so we reminded him that the sole purpose for women’s breasts is to produce breastmilk, and nourish their child. He knew this, but had new questions, like, how does milk first get there? How does more keep coming out? Do you have to keep pumping to get more? What do you do when you want it to stop? We answered them all. It’s amazing what your child will spill to you if you open up a specific conversation. So, this led us right into a discussion about just how that baby got there in the first place.
3. PUBERTY: times are changing
Body odor, pimples, and hair. Also, we taught him about the menstruation cycle for girls, and how the body prepares each month for a baby, and then when the egg isn’t fertilized, the blood lining sheds, etc. Talking about this with a boy, I know 🙈 …but it’s really okay. We want him to know and understand this. If he sees a tampon somewhere, he needs to know not to laugh, whisper to a friend about what it might be, or make fun of the girl. He will have respect of privacy. We had a great talk about it all and he felt comfortable to ask questions.
4. MARRIAGE: becoming one flesh
God created us to be together, in commitment as husband and wife.
My husband, Justin, and I try really hard (and really fail sometimes) to set a great example of marriage for our kids. We pray for our sons future wife. We pray for her walk with Christ and we pray for every area of her life- the events that are shaping her to one day become one flesh with our son. We’ve taught him to pray for his future wife. For God to reveal her to him at the right time. We have harped to him that the most important decisions of his life are 1.) choosing Jesus as his Savior and following Him and 2.) choosing his wife. And in NO WAY are we rushing him off to get married (I’m going to be celebrating, and then a complete wreck of tears 😂) but wow. I want him to choose the right one. The one God has for him.
(Photo above is from mine and Justin’s wedding. Weston was 7 years old. ❤)
Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
5. SEX: God says multiply
After God created us, the Bible says,
Genesis 1:28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the Earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
Just say the word, sex. Explain it. The best advice I’ve ever been given was to not be embarrassed or ashamed. Or at least don’t let it show. If your kids sense you are uncomfortable talking about sex or their developing body, they will stop coming to you. They will turn to friends and the internet (which may lead to a pornography addiction) for answers to their questions. If you freak out when they tell you they like someone at school, they will stop telling you about it. I’m so passionate about staying steady in my communication with him. You can freak out or laugh, over whatever it is, LATER. In your bedroom. 😂 Trust me, my husband and I have had plenty of these times. So, practice calm responses. It’s a daily challenge.
Example: When our son asked WHY could something as weird as THAT be a great gift from God (his face was priceless), we could have just died laughing, but my husband and I heard it, and probably in sheer fear of HOW to possibly even attempt to answer this question (the only one that we didn’t prepare for 🙄)… we decided to focus on explaining how we could think of a ton of weirder ways for God to have us create a baby! We shared that basically, it’s a gift, so you’ll like it.. Okay? 👀 and pause..
*RESOURCES FOR YOU*
There are a million out there, but I really loved these two that I’m going to share with you.
We were given a recommendation on a video by a friend. It’s titled “The Birds, The Bees, and Me” for 8-13 year olds. We watched it beforehand, and decided it was a great, visual resource. It really assisted us in getting that information out, in a kid-friendly, cartoon-like way. We gave him the option of watching it together, or for us to leave and let him watch it alone. He chose to watch alone, and we were completely fine with that if it made him more comfortable! It gave him the peace and confidence to know that we trusted him with his learning too. *There is a video for girls and one for boys. They are both sold on Amazon. Picture below:
Also, I highly recommend ‘Preparing for Adolescence: how to survive the coming years of change’ by Dr. James Dobson. Our son’s pre-teen leader at our church recommends this book. My husband and I are currently in the middle of reading it with our son now. It’s written for both boys and girls. Picture below:
Now, here are two temptations they’ll be facing soon, and for awhile: Purity and Pornography-
Kids want to know the WHY. Why their body is changing, why they should wait to have sex, why it might be bad for them to see pornography, and why sex is a wonderful thing. Initiate those conversations, because often kids are hesitant to reveal what they are insecure and curious about.
God designed sex for marriage. He gave this as a gift for you to share with your husband/wife.
1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 For this is the Will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God.
1 Corinthians 6:18-20 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Ephesians 5:1-33 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are His dear children. Live a life filled with love,following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God. Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes-these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness.
-Pornography: it’s literally everywhere
Our son has his own phone. We’ve allowed him to have instagram due to his youth group having such a great community on it. We have search blocks on his phone, but with the world of instagram, we had to set some rules! No checking friend requests, period. No searching people, period. Come to us with the person’s name, and we will search them. Also, Google searches on his phone or computer must be done with us close by and with permission. We approve games he plays and when. We check his phone often. We understand that we have to give him more responsibilities as he grows, but we also know our job as parents is to hold him accountable to his actions.
I liked what I read from an article by the New York Times: “Sex can be mutual, loving and fulfilling and it can be dark, offensive and destructive. What you see in pornography is almost always the wrong kind of sex, and I don’t want you getting the impression that that’s what sex is all about.” Tell them that someone’s always making money off of this. When you look at it, you are participating in exploitation/exposing someone. Tell him or her that- we don’t do that in our family.
“Statistically, boys are more likely than girls to seek pornography, but even if you take steps to block it (which you should consider), most teenagers will eventually be exposed to porn or dating someone who is.” – NYT
It’s important that they know that whatever they search can be discovered by others. Whatever they post can be seen by others.. even long after it has been deleted.
Ephesians 5:11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful to even talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret. But their evil intentions will be exposed when light shines on them,..”
Let them know that if they ever feel tempted OR have already slipped into a cycle, to come to you.. they could write you a note or send you a text if they can’t say it aloud. (Now it’s you’re job to not completely freak out) And yes… you’re right, they may not, but if we hold them accountable as much as we can, and promise our love and sincere help, they just might come and open up to us. This goes for their decision to have sex before marriage and viewing pornography.
Speak these words over your child: Being an image bearer of God comes with unique privileges and special responsibilities. YOU are made in the image of God, so YOU are the most treasured aspect of His creation. YOU are called to an amazing life purpose: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Tell your son or daughter you love them and want them to have the greatest life. You want all of their dreams to come true. You want them to respect their body and the body’s of others.
Our children soak up the examples we put before them. God fashioned a family to be the first place we learn about the world around us. Don’t just tell your children how to live, show them.
* One final thing: I think it’s so important to explain to your child that they don’t need to share the information they’ve learned with their friends, neighbors, cousins, etc. Describe to them what a shock it would have been if a friend came to them at recess or passing periods and just, boom, laid that information out there. It would have been so awkward and hard to understand! So, make sure they understand that they should give others the same opportunity to learn this new, important information. They’re just not the one to do it. It’s not cool.
I’m sure you’re just like me. You’re a mom or dad who desperately wants to be the one your son comes to with questions or stories. A story about a girl he has a crush on. A reveal of his feelings and the plans he has for his amazing relationship. A comment about how your daughter feels pressured to do something she knows is wrong. When your son feels ashamed of something he did. Why she’s mad at her best friend. Like you, I want to be trusted with ANY AND ALL of the information I can get from my child, let’s be honest. I’ll be the chauffeur. I’ll be the nice mom to all of his friends and girl friends (No, I don’t have to think they’re right for my son to hang around with). But I’ll sure get the information this way. My opinions will be valued and respected. I’ll make an impact in his life this way. I’ll be the one who prays over him. I’ll discipline him. I’ll speak good things over him. That’s my plan. One day and one teaching moment at a time. I’ve got this. And you’ve got this too! 💕
I know this was long, but I also know it’s kind of a big deal. Thank you for taking the time to read my advice, educate yourself, make a plan, and take steps in raising up the next generation of kids. ❤