Jan 282016 1 Response

How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex

Most nights as I put Silas to bed, I allow him to watch a video before we listen to music as he slips off to sleep. The videos range from Biblical stories to episodes of River Monsters, from old clips of Gilligan’s Island to the latest clean comedian.

When Silas was five we were watching a National Geographic documentary. I expected a scene about a fearsome alligator catching some unsuspecting prey, but instead we found ourselves watching a clip about alligators mating. (See: Bad Sax and Things Never to Tell Your Son)

As Silas watched, I knew this was an important moment I shouldn’t pass up. “You know mommy and daddy do that,” I said. His head jerked in my direction as though I had said the wrong thing in church. I could see the confusion in his eye. I said, “Part of being married is you do that. It’s called sex.”

He slowly said it, “You and mommy have sex like alligators?”

“Well, not quite like alligators, but kind of like that.” (I wanted to make a death roll joke, but that will have to wait for later.)

He grew silent, the clip ended, and we turned on some music as he drifted off to sleep.

It wasn’t a perfect conversation, but it was another useful conversation in an ongoing discussion about sex.

Parents must talk to their kids about sex. Without truthful conversation and teaching from parents, kids are left to learn about this important topic from sources that do not love them, do not have their best interest at heart, and may not communicate the truth. Parents cannot hope their kids learn the truth about sex. We must teach them about it. (See: Healthy Families Can Talk About Everything)

While the details of what a conversation entails will differ based on age and maturity, some principles are true no matter the age of your children.

Any conversation about sex should be:

Honest. Do not lie to your kids. You don’t have to tell them everything. Some things are off limits because of age and others are off limits because of privacy (You don’t have to tell them specifics about you, even if they ask), but you must be honest. Your kids need to learn that they will always get the truth from you. In a world which will tell many lies about sex, parents must be a source of truth.

Shame free. The topic of sex can be embarrassing, but it is vital we do not communicate to our kids that sex is dirty or shameful. It is a beautiful part of life which should be enjoyed in the right season.While the act is saved for specific situations, we are sexual beings all the time. Our kids need to know that is how we were made and there is no shame regarding our bodies. (See: No Lies/No Slang–How to Raise Healthy Kids)

A Dialogue. The biggest mistake parents make regarding the sex talk is they think it is one talk. It’s not. It is a lengthy dialogue which happens over the course of life. It should start early (probably much earlier than a parent desires) and never stop. The desire is to have a dialogue where both parties are talking and listening. What begins at an early age by talking about body parts moves to conversations of good touch and bad touch transitions to discussions about the actual act and continues into adolescence about personal choices.

Depending on background and personality, different people have various levels of comfort about these discussions. It’s okay to dread them; it’s okay to look forward to them. In marriage conferences, I regularly stand on stage and talk about sex so the conversations with my children do not scare me, but I know other parents are terrified by the thought of the conversation.

Yet we can’t debate it–parents must talk to their kids about sex.

If you haven’t yet, will you start today?

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One Response to How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex
  1. […] Most children are exposed to sex far too early and death far too late. In our sex-saturated culture,... kevinathompson.com/children-death-learning-grieve

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