I was talking to an older couple last month, and we were talking about the generational gaps. It was acceptable in their generation to keep things hidden, especially things that were not socially polite to talk about such as sex. In church back then, you just didn't talk about your struggles out loud either. If you went to church, you were probably pretty holy, but no one was going to ask you about it, just in case you weren't. And you certainly didn't have social media to share things!
But my children live in a generation which I would describe as the “authentic” generation. Everyone, everywhere is okay with talking about who they are, whether that be heterosexual, bi, homosexual, Republican, Liberal, prolife, prochoice, etc. Even Christians now feel the freedom to confess sins and repent to others on their blogs, in church programs, etc. Facebook is filled with statuses of how it's okay to be different, this is who I am, love me for me!
While I believe it is good to be authentic, and not hide struggles, this creates a dilemma for us as Christian parents of young children. I believe we MUST tell our children the Biblical view of sex and marriage at young ages. I don't care if you never let your child step foot in a public school, they will see/hear people of all kinds doing things you will not approve of on the TV/movie screen, commercials, on the sidewalk, at the neighborhood pool, social media, their older cousin's house, billboards, and…brace yourself…CHURCH. And parents, I want broken people (which is all of us!) to feel welcome at church no matter how much of an outcast they may feel they are. After all, in Luke 5 it says,
Then Levi held a great banquet for Jesus at his house, and a large crowd of tax collectors and others were eating with them. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law who belonged to their sect complained to his disciples, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
So, starting at age 5, we age appropriately share the Biblical view of sex and marriage to our children. I know, you're thinking, “Really? 5 years old!” But we must prepare our kids for the battles that lie ahead in this world. And our kids are experiencing things that we have NEVER experienced as children because we didn't have the internet. Don't be naiive parents to what your children will see and hear.
This year, I decided to get a new book to help with my oldest daughter, age 9. She HATES talking about sex. And although What's the Big Deal?: Why God Cares About Sex (God's Design for Sex) is good, I need something that I can read to her, that is written for her (i.e. written FOR girls) since she feels SO awkward about talking with me about “it.” Book 3 in God's Design for Sex series is written in a question/answer type format and does not naturally flow conversationally in my opinion. It still is a good book to discuss with your 9-11 year old, but like I said earlier, for a child who doesn't even want to look at you during “this” conversation, it just isn't the right book for the job.
Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman's Battle: Creative Conversations About Sexual and Emotional Integrity (The Every Man Series) has been a great resource for me to use when talking with my almost fourth grader. First off, I would recommend this book for girls ages 9 and up. I also bought my daughter a journal before we started so we could do the activities at the end of each chapter in the journal. The first half of the book is written just for mom to read alone. The mom section convinces you that it is good to read this to your daughter BEFORE she starts puberty.
After I read that, I skimmed the back half of the book and saw there was 16 mini chapters for me to read with my daughter. Every chapter is about a new topic: getting curves, starting your period, dating, sex, sex before marriage, friends, etc. I started doing a chapter a day with her during the later half of July. Each chapter took about 30 minutes from start to finish. What I really liked about these chapters was at the end of each one, there was a short activity to do with my daughter. She got out her new journal I bought her and a Bible, and together we did the activity and then I wrote a sentence that I wanted her to remember for that day. Example: After we read about getting curves, she had to draw different fruits on a page of her journal. We then talked about if a banana could ever be a pear or an apple could ever be a banana, etc. Obviously the answer is no, each fruit is made with unique curves. We are to be happy with the bodies God gave us! So I wrote on the bottom of her page: “Thank you God for creating Rilyn in Your image!” My hope is that she can look back over this journal throughout the school year and remember everything we discussed, (because she is not one to comfortably talk to me about these things, although my prayer is that she will one day.) Warning, this book is very graphic about sex. It feels very unnatural to read these things to an innocent 9 year old, but 1.) I have to remind myself no one is innocent and 2.) I want her to hear these things from me first, not on the playground at school. My prayer for her is that knowing all these things now, she will be a friend of influence rather than be influenced by peers at school. (And parents, just tell your daughter not to discuss the things in this book with others unless the topic comes up!) 🙂
Julie Paquette loves Jesus, photography, scrapbooking, volunteering at her kids’ school, and Aggie football! She and her husband have been married for 13 years, and have two daughters and a son, ages ten and under. You can read more about the Paquette’s at their blog, or see Julie’s photography work here.