We all enter marriage with personal baggage. This baggage can greatly impede the health of a marriage. As pre martial counselors, my husband and I have been amazed by how many couples are clueless to how their past affects them. We have seen firsthand the scars that were created from previous physical, emotional and sexual abuse. These scars are real and are often in need of healing. An individual with sexual sin, for instance, will unknowingly carry shame into the relationship if it is not addressed beforehand. Premarital counseling is a great place to begin to unpack the baggage and establish healthy communication skills. These same skills are extremely important when parents begin to talk to their children about sexual integrity.
While this does not always happen, it is beneficial for a couple to discuss their understanding of sex before having children. Decide together what you desire your kids to know about sex and when and how you would like to tell them. Together create a value statement such as, “We desire our kids to know that sex is a good gift from God to be used in the context of marriage.” It is important that children understand the beauty and boundaries of God’s gift. If your children are older it’s never to late to start. Oftentimes, however, our own insecurities can keep us from sharing. In that case, now is the time to begin to deal with those insecurities. These insecurities often include:
- Being uncomfortable with your own sexuality – how we were taught or not taught about sex.
- We’ve not built a solid foundation or strong relationship with our children and now feel it’s too late. Regardless of their age or the past, it’s NEVER too late to start building this relationship.
- Current sexual addiction, an affair of the heart, etc. fosters shame and hypocrisy to make you feel unqualified to talk to your children.
- Many parents today also fear that their own current or past sexual sins may disqualify them from speaking to their children with authority. Past failures must not prevent you from calling your child to the standard of God’s word. We’ve all lied but we still teach our children to tell the truth.
- FEAR that you don’t have all the answers. You don’t have to be an expert just be real and honest. It’s ok to say, “great question, I don’t know but I’ll get back to you.”
- Fear you will encourage unhealthy behavior or experimentation.
- My kids will not listen to me.
- I didn’t learn about sex from my parents and I turned out okay.
Before talking to your child about sex, it is helpful to be aware of the other sources they are likely to encounter information from. These sources include media, friends, school curriculum, magazine covers, billboards, etc…
With the onslaught of sexual messages, it is not advised to just wing the conversation.
Have ongoing open communication with your child early on. Talk about the importance of God’s standards when you sit at home, as you drive all over town carpooling, when you lie down and when you get up (Deuteronomy 6:7). Teaching our children is a 24/7 job. Don’t forget you have two ears for a reason so remember to listen more than you offer advice. Talking and listening are very important but not enough. Be available. It is extremely helpful to spend regular time together and to do things with your child as they need to know they can come to you with their questions.
Resources to help you become a more informed sex educator 😉 for your child:
- Questions Kids Ask About Sex Honest Answers for Every Age by The Medical Institute for Sexual Health.
- How and When to Tell Your Kids About Sex by Stan and Brenna Jones
- Raising Sexually Pure Kids by Tim and Beverly LaHaye
- How do I teach my children about sex so that they will stay pure until they are married? Family Life Today
- Talking To Your Kids About Sex by Focus on the Family
- http://www.justsayyes.org/index.php, http://maryfloblog.com/ by Mary Flo Ridley
- Three Things You Don’t Know About Your Children and Sex by Anne Marie Miller who was addicted to Pornography and now speaks about it. Astonishing insights.
- Moral Revolution by Kris Vallotton
I know there are numerous resources available. I’ve listed items I am familiar with and that I have used to educate myself with and I encourage you to do the same. Please share recommended resources so we can learn from one another.