This is the episode I wish I had listened to twelve years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child. Back then I didn't realize how important it was to have ongoing conversations about healthy sexuality as we raise our kids. The world is teaching our kids every day what it wants them to know about sex. Are we? Listen in for help with getting started, or taking your conversations to the next level.

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So today I’m so happy to bring you the episode that I wish I had listened to twelve years ago, when I was pregnant with my first child. When I was a younger mom I had in my mind that at some point, when they were old enough, my husband and I would have “the talk” with our kids. We’d wait for the timing to be right and then fight through our sweat to spill the beans to them. Once the words were out, we’d breathe a big sigh of relief, pat ourselves on the back for being such pro-active parents, and move on with our lives.

 

It went pretty well for our first daughter. We were standing outside under the starry sky late one summer night, and after commenting on how amazing it was that God created such an incredible sky, I transitioned into talking about how God created our incredible bodies too! Then I went into how husbands and wives participate in that creation. She thought it was pretty cool and that was kind of the end of it. Later though, I thought about all the things I left out, and realized I was going to have to open up the conversation again. Not long after, I heard a TED talk where the presenter said he wanted to kick the idea of “the talk” out the window. He explained how important it was to have ongoing conversations about sexuality as we raise our kids. A light turned on for me and I realized where I was going wrong.

 

Today I’ve brought Sherie Adams Christensen on to talk about (drumroll please…) talking about sex! If you’re nervous to listen, please just trust me. Stay, and you’ll be glad you did.

 

Here we go. My conversation with Sherie:

 

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  • There is no shame in not knowing how to talk to our kids about sex. It’s hard for parents to know how to do something when they’ve never been taught. Most people have not been taught.

 

  • When we educate our kids about healthy sexuality, we’re preserving their innocence because they then have the ability to make good choices. When we teach them we are giving them the ability to keep their innocence. The world is teaching our kids every day what it wants them to know about sex. Are we? Talking to our kids about sex is really a gift.

 

  • Society has made sex a bad concept. Either you’re a good person, which means you don’t talk about sex, or you’re a skanky person who does talk about sex. Our kids are getting weird mixed signals about what sex is. We need to overcome that and teach them how amazing and healthy it is meant to be.

 

  • Kids do not have the capacity to process the mixed messages about sexuality on their own. Especially when they are exposed to hard core pornography or other confusing messages from pop culture.

 

  • Where do we begin? Start everywhere. Use life experiences. It doesn’t have to take any time out of our regular lives. Talk about it at the dinner table, while driving in car, when our kids are exposed to commercials or magazines, or anything that sends a message that they might need help deciphering.

 

  • Get a feel for what kids are looking for. We want them to bring their curiosity to us. Start small and see how much they want.

 

  • When my son was 6 years old he was taking a bath and started asking me questions about his body. I answered them as basically as I could, and he kept asking follow-up questions. Eventually we started talking about how amazing it is that his body has seeds in it that one day he can use to help create another human being! Just like flowers and other living things have seeds to reproduce, so does he! He thought that was so cool!

 

  • Help our kids be awe-inspired by their bodies. That will serve them throughout their lives.

 

  • Talking about healthy sexuality feels positive, not scary.

 

  • Be authentic with our kids. Just be real. They will feel a difference between our messages of truth and love, and the messages they might get from the world. Encourage them to come tell us and teach us what they learned when comparing our message to the world’s.

 

  • Help our kids process what they felt/experienced. Our bodies are designed to feel aroused. It’s a beautiful feeling that helps you be a good husband or wife.

 

  • Identify respectful vs. disrespectful images. If we see an inappropriate picture of a woman on a magazine, we can say something like, “I don’t know why she chose to pose like that, but we can still avoid objectifying her.”

 

  • Sexuality is designed to enhance and deepen relationships. Any sexuality that is selfish, is unhealthy.

 

  • Start talking about healthy sexuality as young as possible:

    • When they are 2-3 talk about self-esteem, love, healthy/affectionate touching. Demonstrate by example what healthy touching between parent and child vs. husband and wife looks like. Teach them proper names of body parts so we don’t create a reason for them to feel shame about them.

    • From ages 3-5 add on to everything you started at younger ages, and give clear answers to the questions they ask. Talk about love in different types of relationships. Continue teaching them how to take care of their bodies.

    • From ages 6-8 start talking about processes, such as the mechanics of sex. Teach them about the seeds they have which are meant to be used in loving marriage relationships. Talk about the relationship differences between friends, husbands and wives, siblings, etc. Ask them what they’ve seen, what they’ve heard, and help them decipher the messages.

    • Between 10-15 talk about puberty. Discuss their body processes. Always add your moral and value systems in to these conversations. Help them understand why they’re having a wet dream (their body is practicing to be a good husband and father), or why their breasts are developing (because one day they will nourish a baby, and breasts are part of what makes them a beautiful human being). Talk about how cool it is that their body is preparing to be an adult. Discuss specific topics like rape, homosexuality, etc. Ask questions about what's going on in the locker room. Help them identify unhealthy messages.

    • From 18+ keep being a sounding board.

 

  • What if parents feel like it’s too late? The research overwhelmingly says kids actually do want to know what their parents think. Be honest. Say things like, “I should have started talking about this sooner, but I’m going to start now. I want to be a good parent.” Once we know better, we do better. These are essential conversations to protect and empower our kids. Start now. Start where you are.

 

  • Read My Body is a Gift from God (by Sherie Adams Christensen). It’s designed to be a conversation starter for hundreds of subjects related to healthy sexuality between parents and kids.

 

  • This subject is so much easier than we think it is. It’s a wonderful way to build a deep relationship with our kids!

 

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Sherie said this subject is much easier than we think. And I have to agree. Now that I have open conversations with my kids about this subject, there’s no weirdness. My husband and I speak respectfully, and informatively and are very straightforward in answering their questions.

 

The other day at the dinner table, they asked what adultery was (we had been reading about the woman taken in adultery in the Bible) and because I have layered our conversations, I was able to answer at my youngest child’s level. So I said, “remember when we talked about how a man’s seeds get into a woman’s body to help make a baby? And remember how that’s called sex? Well, adultery is when you are married to one person, but you have sex with someone else.” Then I went into our family values about how sex is sacred and we should only do that with our husband or wife. We talked about how it’s also a beautiful way to show your love for your spouse and strengthen your relationship. Because it feels so amazing, sometimes people want to do it with people they aren’t married to, and that’s when adultery happens.

 

Nobody was grossed out. Nobody threw up. It was a totally comfortable conversation. I want to say it’s like teaching them to read, but with an important layer of respect.

 

Before I close, I just want to acknowledge that not everyone listening has a healthy sexual relationship. It might feel challenging to teach your kids about sex in a positive way when it’s been a negative thing for you. To you I would just say, teach your kids the ideal. Teach them what sex is meant to be. It’s meant to create life. It’s meant to experience joy. It’s meant to connect husbands and wives in selfless loving relationships. By doing that you will help set them up for a healthy sexual relationship down the road.

 

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Reach out to me anytime on instagram, facebook, or here on my website.

 

Remember, you are doing incredible things. So keep it up!

 

Thanks for listening, and have an awesome day.

Brittany