Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sex Education Resource for the Family: A book review

Within 2 weeks of school starting the Gilbert home was hit with sub - urban public school drama. One week I learned my 8 year old has a girlfriend and the next week my 5 year old says no other girls want to play with her because all of the boys would like to date her. Hearing all of this I stayed calm, only by the grace of the Lord. I knew that's what it was, had to be because inside I wanted to lose it. But I knew that I didn't want to have my kids feel awkward about talking to me about their curiosity involving sex.

I know this is TMII (too much information for the internet) but I like to be real and I like wise counsel. I like to synergize, that's in the Sub - Urban Momma tagline right?

Here I go . . . when I was growing up . . . well you know; my family did not talk to me about sex education or how to make wise choices in that area. I received a talk when it was much too late. What's sad is I have spoken with other adults who have expressed the same kinds of teaching and even worse which I just can't mention on this blog. I believe that children should have sex education, age appropriate and whenever the opportunity presents itself and it's much more than don't do it [sex]. I want to start first with teaching my kids how to make wise choices in every area.

I am not an enthusiastic sex-talker

My Fears of a Sex Talk:

1. What if I fail at giving them age-appropriate information and tell them too much.

2. What if they want to have sex after we have a talk?

Being the resourceful Sub – Urban Momma that I am, I sought wise counsel from a mom with older wise kids and I headed to the local library for a resource.

Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality by Jim Burns of the HomeWord ministry, provides Christian-based resources about solving family issues.

I was attracted to Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality because it was a small book, quick read, Christian-based, and ideal for busy families. The book has 144 pages (not including last two chapters) that does not have technical words I need to research and look into, this book is straightforward, 7 chapters of reading, 2 additional chapters of resources and includes personal family examples.

The first chapter is titled Teaching Your Kids Value-Centered Sexuality which focuses on parents being involved in teaching their own children about sex as well as teaching children to have sexual integrity. Sexual integrity encompasses so much more than telling kids to wait until they are married. Sexual integrity involves creating values, not just having a one-time conversation regarding sex, and furthermore, creating a dialogue instead of a lecture with children about sexuality. Chapter 1 also serves as a reminder of what children face today that is not exhaustive. Chapter 2, Building a Foundation to Teach the Purity Code, promotes the Purity Code which is included in the HomeWord Ministry. Even if you are not interested in promoting the Purity code chapter 2 is worth reading because it has many bible scriptures regarding sexuality. The Purity Code is a pledge between your child and God that basically says you will honor God with your body, mind, eyes and heart. Chapter 3, Helping Your Kids to Set Standards encourages families to set standards before a situation arises. What I found most helpful was that it had some topics that I would not have even thought to talk about with my children, such as pornography. I feel like, you don’t want to wait until the damage is done and your kid is already addicted to pornography, though it happens. Chapter 4, How and When to Talk with Your Kids About Sex and Sexuality, gives age ranges about what kids think about during certain age groups. I am in no way recommending anyone should go by this format, it’s just a resource. I believe children should be taught according to the environment and even take into consideration what your child already knows. I believe parents must do what works best for their own family. Chapter 4 has a topic list that serves as a reminder about what parents could talk to their children about regarding sexuality. Chapter 5, Sex Outside of Marriage: Choices and Consequences, is self-explanatory, and that we should tell our children the consequences of unwise choices yet to approach this topic “full of grace” and to “tread lightly.” Chapter 6, Sexual Abuse: Prevention and Help, provides help on how to prevent sexual abuse within the confines of what a parent can do, and that is through teaching, as well as what to do if a child has been sexually abused. It has a list of symptoms of sexually abused children that are helpful. Chapter 7, Dealing with Your Own Sexuality, it may be uncomfortable to have ongoing communication with our own children regarding sex because we ourselves have not dealt with our own sexuality. Chapter 8 has some Q&A’s and chapter 9 has discussion question starters which I felt were most helpful for our family.

Wise decisions are a theme throughout this book and it’s one we try to instill in our children. I think the key to navigating through life, no matter what the topic may be, is knowing how to make wise choices (read Proverbs 2). I tell Josh and Alyssa to slow down and think about the good outcome of a situation and the bad outcome of a situation. Then to ask, would it be pleasing to God?

Are you afraid to teach your children about sex? Are your children older, do you have any regrets in the way you handled this topic that you can pass on to mothers of younger children?

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