I'm a bit of a renegade when it comes to talking to kids about sex. My oldest is 12 and has known about sex since I explained it to him when he was about eight. He'd come home from a visit with his father (my ex-husband) and declared that he "might be getting a baby sister." I figured that was as good an opportunity as any to elaborate clearly on sex. I'd already been talking to him for a few years about "appropriate touch" and what to do if he found himself in an uncomfortable situation with an adult, so the discussion about sex seemed like a logical next step. Does Sex Writing Prepare You For The Sex Talk?
Some of my friends thought I was crazy. They thought he was too young to be told so much about sex. I believed, though, that it was better to error on the side of clear information than to trust his "education" to his own imagination, society or to the various shenanigans happening around him. Judy Blume: Crucial Sex Education For Young Girls
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It seems the whole issue of sexual education causes angst for many parents. Some parents actually appreciate that the schools cover it, sparing them from embarking into such awkward discussion with their pre-teen. And then there are parents, particularly Christians, who are against what is taught in the schools about sex, yet simultaneously neglect initiation of discussions with their children at home. What a conundrum. We don't want the "system" telling them about sex and we don't want to do it either, leaving them few alternatives but to navigate the waters on their own. Is it any wonder so many teens are having sex?
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I'll be the first to admit that I'm not overly enthusiastic about what is included in many "sex education" programs, such as in-depth explanation of various birth control methods. Who can forget the uproar several years ago when some high schools wanted to distribute condoms? Clearly not a good idea, if you ask me.
What saddens me more, though, is that there are not more parents talking to their kids about sex. When kids do hear from their parents on the topic, particularly within Christian homes, what they often hear is an emphatic over-simplified "don't do it." Valid message, yes. But incomplete message at the same time. When all kids hear is "don't do it," there is not balance in helping young adults understand what is so great about sex within the context of marriage. I have spoken to many women who, as teenagers, were blasted so often with the "don't do it" message from their parents and ministry leaders that they struggled with sex once they were able "to do it" when they were married. "How do you just flip a switch?" One woman asked me, explaining the challenge of suddenly trying to enjoy something that for so long was painted as dirty, sinful and off limits.