The Sex Talk

And we want to talk to you guys a little bit about how to talk to young children about sex. And I guess it’s probably appropriate to start by saying, should you talk to young children about sex? That’s a difficult question to answer. And a lot of times in our culture we’re having a hard time figuring out when to bring this up. So just wanted to kind of process that with you guys. Talk to Jeff about it, see how he reacts to some of these ideas. But for sure, one of the things I think that’s helpful, and I was told this by a dad when my kids were young, is that it’s a very awkward topic at any point, but it gets more awkward the older your kids get. So one of the ways to sort of diffuse the awkwardness of the talk when they turn to some age where they know as much or more about it than you do. All of a sudden you’re like, what happened?

Yeah, exactly.

Is to bring it up really early and talk about it in a very natural way. When the kid, their first reaction is, that’s really weird. That’s the reaction you really want to get. And not that, “Oh, I know all this already. I’ve heard all this before, or that’s horribly gross. I can’t imagine you’re talking to me about it.” But just, it’s strange. It should be really strange. You talk to a five or six year old about sex and just try to talk about it in natural ways and they’re just like, “Oh, okay, that’s interesting.” And they kind of move on. But any thoughts about… Yeah?

Yes. So what I would say is our kids are two and four, so we’re not really to that full detailed talk yet or even a huge overarching one about sex. But what I will say should be a precursor to sex for any parent of toddlers, is more about a talk on sexuality or body or private parts, et cetera of that nature. We’re huge on that. So one thing too is, I think parents do a lot of disservice when we talk to our kids about body parts and sexual language and all these things in a like kiddie nicknamey way. So we use the words penis and vagina in our household and our kids run around yelling them in the street, which is really awkward sometimes, but for us, we say that’s what that is and this is what it does.

And I think just being a little bit matter of fact and black and white with your kids, especially when they’re young, is actually deeply helpful because it kind of creates a weird disconnect. I actually think can almost creep up in a shameful way later in life when it’s like they almost feel like they can’t use the real words or whatever. And then on top of that, their body, kind of like that their body is their own and that their body is the Lord’s obviously. And so talking about proper touches, like that’s what we’re really big on. What is a proper… And we’re working on that with Kinsley right now with her friends. Not in a inappropriate way, but just like, she’s such a lover of… she’s just, what’s the word? Kinetic learner where she just wants to like punch you and bite you and hit you and touch you and smell you and all those things.

So with her friends, she loves them, so when she sees them, she just absolutely bear hugs them and then they start getting red. And you can tell that kid doesn’t like that. So for us, the toddler stage level is like, what’s proper touches, obviously in a parental guiding way of body parts and private parts. But then even above that, with just proper touches of just affection or friendship or hello or hugs or high fives or all those things. So I would say that’s the precursor with toddlers. And I think what you said, once they get a little bit above that is kind of the tandem.

Yeah. And one reason why I think this is increasingly critical talk about early is, we’re finding out of course that something like one in four girls are sexually abused by the time they get in or out of college. And so much of that happens in times when they’re fairly young and in the home. And because this stuff is not talked about, if they’re being preyed on by another child, and older child often, or another adult. If they don’t feel like you’re someone safe to process that with, and if this person is telling them, “Just don’t tell anyone that this happened,” that’s how a lot of this abuse kind of happens and goes on and on. So to have an early conversation oftentimes about swimsuit areas, “If anybody touches you like that and make sure you immediately tell us. If anybody ever says, don’t talk to your mom and dad about something, that’s the trigger to come and talk to us immediately about it.”

Those kinds of things, so that you stop any kind of cycle of abuse from starting with your children. And it’s been shocking for us to see how many of our friends have children that have encountered this in extremely safe circumstances that you would think, “Oh, this could never happen, they’re constantly around their kids.” But when there’s an older child or an adult who really is being strategic about how to approach your child, you just don’t see it until it’s too late. And especially if it goes on for some time, that’s a really dangerous thing. So you’d want to set up a situation where you’re talking to your kids in such a way that they’re going to come talk to you if anything like that might be happening.

Yeah. Real quick before we wrap up, I’ll add one resource, a favorite book of ours. It’s called God Made All of Me, by Justin and Lindsay Holcomb. Justin was a friend at an old church I used to go to, and him and his wife are both doctors of something. I think it’s counseling or psychiatry or psychology or something up there in the high levels. And they’re Christians, they love the Lord. But brilliant book on walking your kids through your body, the theology of a body, what it means. Then it goes a little farther in the end of the book of proper touches, unhealthy touches, etc. Phenomenal book, our kids actually love the book and talk about it, and that’s, I think, really laid a good foundation for us.

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