I want to take a break from the normal Monday post to tell you about some books that have become very important to our family. Several years ago, I attended a seminar at a local church where I heard a very inspiring message. The topic was how and when to talk to your kids about sex. I went to the session a bit reluctantly, thinking that those days would be in the distant future for me, but it wouldn't hurt to see what the lady had to say. I left the session with a very different outlook on the topic, feeling empowered and ready to tackle this subject in the best way possible for my children.
I am from the generation where the topic of sex was not really spoken about in the home until it was time for puberty to set in. Then, it seemed that just a few facts were given so that we as kids would understand what is happening to our bodies, but the topic of sex itself was pretty much taboo; not spoken about.
I admit, when my son was born, it was very difficult for me to use the proper name for his "part". I soon began to feel that was pretty ridiculous! I mean, God did design our bodies and His designs are perfect!
So, back to the seminar... I left feeling that it is my responsibility and my husband's responsibility as parents to our children to teach them about their bodies, how they were perfectly designed by God because He loves them and about sexuality, which was also designed by God to be a beautiful thing between a man and wife.
These were the points that impacted me in such a way that Jason and I have become very proactive in teaching our children about their bodies and sexuality:
- Today's children are hearing about sex and sexual terms at a much younger age than when I was a child. It's important that our children hear about these things from us as parents first before they begin to hear things from their friends. Thus, it's important to begin very young in talking about our bodies.
- Beginning the dialogue in the younger years creates an open dialogue and prevents the subject from being uncomfortable or off limits. Children will learn to trust us as their parents to give them the facts and to tell them the truth. If we follow point #1 and begin this dialogue with them before they begin to hear from their peers, and in doing so, we are teaching them the truth about God's design for their bodies, they will feel comfortable coming to us and asking us about things they hear others saying. It's important to note, that mom and dad both sit down together with the kids to read these books. We want our children to be comfortable in talking to and trusting both of us in all aspects of their life!
- It is my responsibility to teach my children they are designed by God, made in His image, and a very special creation. God gives specific guidelines in the Bible in reference to how we are to use our bodies. My children are not going to learn these things in school!
I also left the session with a book series highly recommended by the speaker. We have read book one to Emily and Ben, which basically names their body parts and talks about how men and women are created differently. What I love most about the books are they are written in story format with the underlying theme that we are God's creation and God's creation is beautiful and special and created for specific reasons.
This topic can be uncomfortable to talk about with our kids, but using these books and considering the points listed above, we can really feel empowered to give our children a positive and loving approach to learning about their bodies and sexuality.
The books have suggested ages for reading. The speaker pointed out that only you know your child. These are just suggested guidelines for when to read each book. You know your child's maturity, interest level, etc. and can make the call from there.
Click on the images to link to Amazon's website.
The first book is called "The Story of Me" and is written for ages 3-5. I think we read it to Emily when she was 4 and to Ben when he was 3. We did read it to them separately on different occasions and we have a couple of times gone back and read it again. Each time we read it, Jason and I both read it with them.
The second book, "Before I Was Born" builds on the first book. This book is a little more specific in regards to the act of sex. Again, it is written in story form. The age suggestion for this book is 5-8. We are planning on reading this book to Emily soon.
The third book, "What's the Big Deal?" is suggested for ages 8-11. This book is still being read by the parents with the child.
The fourth book, "Facing the Facts" is written for ages 11-14. This book is actually to be read separately and after both you and your child have read it, spend some time talking about it and answering any questions your child may have.
It's important to remember that starting early is the key. However, if you haven't begun to talk about these things and your child is older than 3-5, it's not too late! You might read the first and second books within a shorter timeframe. It's never too late to begin talking to our children about anything. What may make us a little bit uncomfortable will give them so much more; knowledge, confidence, trust in us as parents, and a deeper relationship between parent and child.