The issue isn’t whether or not it’s going to happen. The issues are when and where? Sooner or later your child will learn the details about sexuality. In this series of articles, I will present some tips for talking with your child about sex in a healthy and Biblical way.
It’s Not Too Early to Start Talking About Sexuality
From a very early age children begin to notice differences between themselves and “mommy” or “daddy” or “brother” or “sister.” Children wonder why those differences exist. It’s natural for them to be curious about such things.
Don’t miss the opportunities to share how God divinely made both men and women; that there are differences and that’s the way God made us on purpose. Obviously, the younger the child is, the shorter and less detailed such conversations will be.
However, it is important to start early with discussing sexual matters – openly, honestly, and using correct terminology. The earlier you start, the easier more detailed conversations will be as your child grows up and begins asking more questions such as where babies come from, why do people kiss, and why does God care whether I have sex before marriage?
Don’t Wait for the “Big Talk”
I can still remember the “Big Talk” that my father gave to me. I was almost 12 years old, he was taking me to a baseball game, and we stopped at a Hardee’s for a burger before the game. It was uncomfortable for me (not to mention how my dad must have felt) in large part because we had never really discussed sexual matters before that moment. I am sure he felt a combination of surprise and relief to find out that I pretty much knew what I needed to know (at least that’s what we thought at the time – i.e., I knew the basics of sex).
But I would urge you to not wait to have a conversation with your child in a “Big Talk” about the birds and the bees. (To this day I don’t know why we call that conversation a talk about the birds and the bees). Instead, children learn information best when given out little chunks at a time, over time. A steady stream of short conversations and teaching moments serves your child best and ensures that he or she retains information, and, more importantly, allows the correct values regarding sex to penetrate his or her heart.
One of the most effective ways that kids learn is over time, a little at a time. In fact, the Bible encourages us to teach our children in just such a manner: “Impress [the laws] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 6:7. In other words, teach your children all of the time, over time, a little at a time.
Most of us would never wait to teach our children about our faith in one “Big Talk”. We wouldn’t hold back knowledge about God and Jesus until he or she could “fully understand” at age 10 or 11 or even 14.
In addition, I’ve never seen a father wait until his son or daughter was 11 years old and then take them to a baseball field for the first time and teach them in 30 minutes the entire sport of baseball: how to catch, throw, bat, the rules, scoring, etc. It would be absurd to think that the child would retain anything, much less learn anything of value.
So, why do we think we should wait to teach about sexuality until our children are “ready to fully understand” and then unload everything they should know about differences between men and women, sex, safe sex, God’s commands regarding sex, etc.? The answer is that we shouldn’t do that.
Make a conscious decision to teach your children about sexuality in a healthy and Biblical manner, over time, a little at a time.
Begin to look for opportunities and teaching moments to have short, deliberate and honest conversations with your child about God’s plan and purpose for sex.
If you have questions, please post them here on the blog in the comment section and I’ll try my best to respond to them from a Biblical perspective.