Having “The Talk” with Your Kids

The Talk with Your Kids“As long as it’s consensual, you can have sex with whomever you want of whatever gender you want or identity you want. And it might be before marriage and it might not. All of which is totally natural, and okay, and healthy,” proclaimed my high school’s award-winning newspaper.

As I talked to other students about the article, I was dismayed to discover that all of the people I talked to responded positively to it – this is the perspective and change they hoped to see in American health education. They wanted more gay rights, little to no emphasis on abstinence and an exceedingly positive portrayal of abortion and contraception. However, with the average age of first intercourse occurring at only 16 years old (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and with one out of every four pre-teens aged 11-14 who believe that engaging in oral or vaginal sex is a normal part of a teenage romance (according to loveisrespect.org), this is certainly not a change that we can afford. As a nation, we must care about our youth enough to emphasize the importance of abstinence until marriage; respect for themselves, their significant other, and God; and the importance of courtship over merely dating.

The truth of the matter is that it is completely necessary for parents to discuss sex and relationships, before the rest of the world tells them what and who to believe. And while informing your child about sex can be awkward, uncomfortable, and downright terrifying, with all the resources that are available, it never has to be. Here are some helpful tips that can lessen the pressure:

1) Purchase an audio book
Audio books may be the perfect solution for parents who aren’t comfortable with the technical terms, or have children who are more responsive to a third party. There are great Christian sex education, age-appropriate audio books such as Passport2Purity and Learning About Sex for Girls/Boys. Furthermore, many audio books (including these in particular) have lesson plans for you to discuss and interact with your child in a fun way.

2) Plan a weekend vacation
In an effort to make the learning experience enjoyable, plan a destination several hours away so that you can listen to the audio book while on your way to the vacation spot – Disneyworld, Universal Studios, Busch Gardens, wherever it may be. Not only will your pre-teen learn, but you will have quality bonding time as well to talk and just have fun together.

3) Purchase a gift
To congratulate and memorialize the milestone achieved, make a certificate, buy a purity ring, decorate a frame, or give a locket with a picture inside. Give something that provides a sentimental symbol of remembrance for your child about the topics discussed and the decision made to commit to purity until marriage.

4) Follow-Up
Let your child know that he or she can, and should, talk to you about any questions or concerns that they have. Assure them that curiosity is natural and that you desire to have an open relationship with them. Although they may not take you up on your offer, it will mean the world to them to know that they have a parent who cares enough about them to sacrifice their comfort for his or her benefit.
Additionally, if your child is an avid reader, supplemental books are also helpful. Phenomenal books regarding Christian dating include I Kissed Dating Goodbye by Joshua Harris, The Truth About Guys by Chad Eastham (for girls), and Every Young Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn (for guys).

Talking about sex is hard, there’s no denying it, but watching your child suffer from irrevocable mistakes is harder. Keep in mind that, in the end, it will not matter that you did not have the perfect advice or that you weren’t the “cool” mom or dad, it only matters that you loved and cared for your child enough to do the hard things. The difficult, and perhaps unpopular, actions that you took out of love will be the ones they will remember and treasure the most.

Cresonia can be reached at [email protected].

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