It’s not a matter of IF your children will learn about sex in their early years but whether they will learn it F-I-R-S-T from you or the culture.
Besides the fact that God commands parents to be their children’s primary teacher (Deuteronomy 6), there are several practical reasons to encourage you to start talking early with your children. Here are a few:
- first exposure to anything is the most potent and powerful.
- it’s easier to prevent wrong thinking than to correct it.
- establishing a reputation as a knowledgeable and reliable authority is critical to building trust and respect with your children.
- you are laying the groundwork for more in depth and sensitive conversations down the line.
- you are also building a highway of communication you will travel more frequently when they get older.
You may be thinking at this point, “I hear you and I agree. What is appropriate to share about sex when my kids are young?” Great question! From the reading I’ve done, I would suggest between 0-7 years of age, you focus on the following:
- establish that they are loved beyond measure by their parents and unconditionally loved by God
- articulate the purpose and role of body functions
- teach technical terms for body parts (making sure to give God credit for each part)
- model and teach the importance of privacy and modesty
- clarify the differences between boys and girls
- distinguish between good touch and bad touch (and what to do if they experience bad touch)
- communicate the basic facts of intercourse, conception and fetal development within the context of marriage
Talking often means you are consistently on the lookout for opportunities to weave this critical topic into your conversations. As Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says: “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Talking often will help your children understand that sexuality is a topic to be celebrated and a topic they can freely discuss with you. If they can learn this at an early age, you will be well on your way to helping them develop a God-honoring sexual worldview where shame and embarrassment are not welcome.
Reflect and Respond:
- How have you done at talking early and often with your kids about sexuality? Where have you excelled and where do you need to improve?
- Sit down with your spouse and share your thoughts from the question above with each other. Then brainstorm an action plan for improving on your weak areas.
- Consider purchasing the God’s Design for Sex series by Stann and Brenna Jones to help you talk early and often.