My 11 year old daughter has become increasingly inquisitive about the topic of sex. While I’m glad she’s coming to me instead of running to her friends, inside I’m screaming, “NOOOOOO! Not my baby!”
After abandoning the thought of running down the street, screaming like a banshee and pulling my hair out, I calmly and openly look at her and started asking my own questions.
- Why do you ask?
- What do you think sex is?
- Do your friends talk about sex?
- What do they say?
Based on her answers, I was able to determine what she does/doesn’t know AND what and how much information I needed to share with her at that time.
I want my children to grow up with a healthy understand and view of sex. In the right context, as designed by God, sex is a beautiful thing between husband and wife. How I respond to my children will shape their views and have a major impact on their self esteem and future relationships.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts that I use when talking about sex with my children:
- Over react in a negative way – You don’t want to instill a negative view about sex in their minds.
- Avoid the questions – They’re going to ask until they get answers. Do you really want their friends being their subject matter experts on this topic?
- Tell them half-truths – You don’t want to lose their trust and risk them not coming to you in the future.
- Simply say, “Don’t do it; abstain.” – Their questions are valid and the feelings they are developing are very real. You have to arm them with information on how to deal with these feelings.
- Have age appropriate conversations with them about their bodies and sex – For girls I recommend The American Girl’s book The Body Book for Girls.
- Teach them the proper names for their body parts – A sexual predator never asks, “Can I touch your ‘flower’?”
- When they ask questions, you ask questions – They are asking questions with their innocent, child mind; not your experienced, adult mind. They usually aren’t thinking what you’re thinking.
- Don’t trust ANYONE 100% with your children – This may seem extreme; however, when you trust someone 100% you usually don’t question things when you should.
- Make sure your words and actions truly say to your child, “You are safe with me and can talk to/tell me about anything.”
- Talk to them about how to properly deal with the feelings and emotions they will naturally feel.
As a parent, your responsibility is to arm your children with accurate information to best protect themselves from predators. It is also your responsibility to help them form a positive mindset about their bodies and eventually sex with their husband or wife.