This week we are blessed to have a “sex expert” posting for us on EpicParent.tv. Her name is NOT Dr. Ruth, but rather the one and only Melinda Clark. Melinda is a friend from Steamboat Springs, CO and she is the Executive Director of the Steamboat Springs Crisis Pregnancy Center. She works with kids of all ages and has more life experience than anyone I know on helping kids navigate the sexual issues in their life.
If you’re looking for a speaker who is an expert and is a masterful communicator on this topic, she is a MUST! Email me at email@example.com and I’ll connect you with her.
Few thoughts strike more terror into the hearts of parents everywhere than “The Talk,” especially since most parents have awkward memories of their own parents bumbling through a vague, uncomfortable “talk” that usually created more questions than it answered.
I work at an agency where we regularly talk with teenagers about their sexual activity and its ramifications. I can tell you that teenagers have questions that aren’t being answered. What do most teens wish their parents would say and do when it comes to sex?
- Your child (any age!) needs constant reassurance about your unconditional love and concern. He needs to know that no matter what he does, you will not turn him away.
- Your child needs to know that sex is a component of a healthy, committed relationship, not a stand-alone event. (More about that coming on Thursday!)
- Ask questions about them, their friendships, their relationships. It’s good and healthy for you to know who they are with and what they are doing. If your daughter feels uncomfortable or pressured in a relationship, she needs a place to tell you about it. If your son is being drawn into risky situations, he needs you to intervene.
- Help them think about healthy boundaries and ways to maintain those boundaries.
- Tell them your values. Being an epic parent means owning the responsibility to prepare our children for life; relationships and sex are no exception.
- Ask about sexual activity in dating relationships. That question is not off-limits.
- Ask whether their choices are what they wanted. If not, help them find out how to make different choices.
Talking to teens about sex is not the beginning. It should be one more stage in an ongoing conversation you have from the time they’re toddlers. The good news is that the more practice you have, the less awkward you’ll feel!
- Up to around age 5, use correct vocabulary for genitals and refer to “private areas.” Remind young children to keep their private areas private–for their own protection.
- In elementary school, answer questions simply and factually, explaining that sex is a way that we can be close and show love to someone that we are committed to. If you’re embarrassed by their question, they’ll probably stop asking. On the other hand, they don’t need more details than necessary.
- By middle school, kids need more information about how male and female bodies function, and they need to understand God’s plan for sex. God designed sex as a good and powerful part of a healthy marriage. Give your children confidence in God’s plan. Explain why waiting until marriage is best. (You’ll have more info to help you with the “why” after the next three posts!)
Does it really matter if our teens are sexually active? What are the risks for sexually active teens? We’ll talk about that tomorrow.
In the meantime, what do you find most difficult about talking with your kids about sex? Is there something you did/said that went exceptionally well? Tell us about it!