The topic of teaching our kids about sex can be intimidating, but is one of our highest responsibilities as a parent. I will begin by sharing one of our experiences, but will also include some practical tips that will help equip and guide you in your efforts to instruct and inform your children.
Just prior to 6th grade we teach the details of God’s design and function of sex to our children. Summer of 2010 was the summer for my middle child. Since he was a baby he has been exploring for and catching animals. We live next to a nature preserve and spend most weekends in the woods hiking, spotting, and trapping animals. He is an avid reader of animal books and used his Christmas money to purchase the BBC video series Life that has great imagery and video of life on earth. We have sugar gliders, bunnies, fish and have had possums and other critters along the way. He has seen and speaks of animals mating and certainly had some understanding so I thought this talk was going to be easy. I assumed that he already knew and probably just needed me to fill in the blanks or confirm what he knew about human reproduction. One weekend he wanted to blaze his own trail in the woods and we headed off to explore someplace we had never been. Ducking, crawling, and weaving through the brush we were fairly deep in the woods when we heard a sharp screech repeating every 3 -5 seconds. We followed the noise and found a frog captured in the mouth of a snake screeching as he was being devoured. Ureka! Another successful trip! However, my time to bring up the “topic” was soon escaping me so I asked him if he had ever heard of “the birds and the bees”. He had not and that led me to begin the explanation. To learn how much he knew I referred to frogs and turtles and asked him how they mated. He said that they just got close to each other to mate. When I asked what happens when they get close to each other he had no clue. Surprised at his innocense I had an open door to fill in the blanks with the frogs and turtles before I translated that to how he came to be. Fortunately we were still deep in the forest and he had now way to escape the conversation that was now becoming personal. We got through the details and taught of God’s design, God’s purpose, God’s gift and progressed to the “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” conversation before reaching home. Be intentional with raising your kids, have a plan, and using life’s experiences to model, lead, and instruct your children.
We must be reminded that we are not just responsible for raising children, but for raising adults. It is only natural that at an early age your kids will ask you how babies are made and there will be many opportunities when around pregnant women to begin to explain some of God’s plan for sexuality and reproduction. The important message here is to build a biblical foundation that God created the family through a sacred realtionship between one man and one woman. God created this sacred relationship so that we would reproduce and fill the earth. It is important to Start Early in teaching your children about this gift. The culture and media celebrates sexuality and promotes their views to our children. It is our responsibility to teach our children truth and provide an example for them to model. Billboards, magazines, TV shows, and movies give a natural platform to initiate conversation so that you can use as a teaching moment and make this important subject your kids can talk to you comfortably. You want to create an atmosphere where you children can feel comfortable talking to you about any subject. Another important lesson that can be taught is that your body is a temple of the living God. 1Corinthians 3:16 “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” The bible teaches that our bodies are living temples that God’s Holy Spirit resides and as such should care for the physical, spiritual and mental components of our body. Protect and care for the physical needs of our body with hygiene, rest, and good nutrition. Nurture the spiritual component through worship, prayer, fellowship and study of God’s word. Recognize the impact of mental images and teach your children to protect their minds and develop their mental potential. The apostle Paul teaches us to “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2
In summary, teaching our children about “the birds in the bees” is a great privilege and responsibility. The timing for each child will be different and has much to do with their own personality and environment. Families that have open dialog, older siblings, or have friends and classmates that expose your child to sexual conversation at an earlier age may require you to advance faster. Have a plan and be intentional as you seek to lead your family in teaching on God’s plan for sex and family. Remember.
- Start early
- Build a biblical foundation
- Create a comfortable atmosphere to initiate conversation
- Recognize your body as the Temple of the living God.
For more resources on this topic go to Focus on the Family website http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/sexuality/teaching_children_healthy_sexuality.aspx