I was thinking today about how lost I was as a newbie parent about having “The Talk” with my kids. I think this topic is a tough one for most parents. It’s hard to just suck it up and realize that your babies are actually growing up and might wander into this sex business someday.
My “Sex Ed” consisted of mostly what I learned from school in the 5th and 7th grade, an anatomy book, and a brief talk about waiting until marriage. The rest of my knowledge about my own sexuality came from my friends, reading and daydreams.
So when it came time to give my kids the talk, I was a little at a loss. I wasn’t really sure where to start. I thought about it and decided to start with an American Girl book The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls about the care of their changing bodies.
Then we had a talk about how babies are made along with a cool anatomy book. They have all seen me pregnant, so it was a natural extension of what was going on in real life. We went over what they were learning in school. In our school district, they sort of re-visit sex education every few years. And I just keep talking to them about their feelings and what they are going through as they get older and older.
At first, I wasn’t sure what I could add to the conversation that books and their classes at school couldn’t provide. But the more I kept the conversation open, I realized what they needed from me as a parent is my wisdom and moral compass. And really, just to know that I was there for them when and if they messed up.
So, we started talking about the internal and external pressures about sex and their bodies. I said that sometimes we confused love and physical affection, and that that was totally understandable because physical affection is awesome. We are wired for touch and procreation. And we are big huggers and kissers and snugglers in my family.
I think going against our natures and what God built us for is cruel and unusual and just plain wrong. That being said, there are natural consequences for every choice we make – pregnancy, STDs, broken hearts – the list goes on and on. And, as a caring parent, I really don’t want my kids to go through any of those things. I want them to wait until they are with someone who loves them and respects them and will stick around through anything. And I told them that this kind of relationship takes awhile to create.
So what we can do, what I am trying my best to do, is to explain how this mix of emotions, hormones and new experiences works and how to navigate it. And to be open and calm about any individual questions I receive. (Note to self: Try to do better at this, don’t freak out and *BREATHE*) After all, we each have our unique journey.
Wait a second. I’ve just realized that I still have to give my only boy “the talk” in a few years. Darn, just when you think you are on top of things! Wish me luck!