S.e.x. is just one of those awkward topics. Not that it should be, or has to be. But it is. However, like anything else that is awkward, if you push past the initial ‘did you really say that out loud’ feeling, it’s not that bad.
Having five children, now ages 10 through 17, we’ve been around that bend a few times. In fact, for those of you who are truly skittish about the topic, you may want to avoid a casual dinner at the Metzger’s house. You may lose your appetite if the ‘taboo topic’ surfaces. It isn’t an everyday occurrence, but it happens, now and then. Just often enough to horrify those who think such conversations should be left for the week before the wedding.
So what should we tell our kids, and when? What is appropriate? What should they find out the week before the wedding? Or, more accurately, what should we pretend they don’t know by age twelve, of fourteen or eighteen?
Whether it’s bathroom talk, or exploring, in some secret place, children know far more than many parents think they do. The only thing that’s worse than no information, is wrong information with no healthy teaching. And that is what silence affords countless kids in today’s world. Particularly those in Christian cultures, especially those in private schools and ‘closed culture’ circles.
Think back to your experience. How old were you when you first knew about sex. Not necessarily ‘what’ it is, but about it. The intrigue. The fascination with the difference between male and female. The way a woman’s tummy gets big and round and then, miraculously, smaller right after the stork drops off a baby. And then there are animals, doing ‘it’ shamelessly in public–how old before you figured that one out?
My point is that kids know things. Some adults pretend they don’t in order to avoid the awkward truth about s.e.x. and ‘that’ talk. Realistically, if we figured anything out before age sixteen, our kids will likely know as much at age ten or twelve, as we knew at sixteen. And if they don’t learn it from us first, they will likely have a warped view of it.
If ever there was a time and an era when kids need to hear the truth about sex, and long before they get married, it is now. It isn’t possible to take the family to the grocery store, let alone the mall, without being confronted by it, so we might as well push past the discomfort and give our kids the truth–God’s pure, unadulterated truth–and equip them for life in an over-sexualized world. If we think it was bad when we were young–for those of us over thirty-five–it has not gotten better.
We owe it to our children to teach them well. It will help them protect themselves from abuse, and will give them good reason to wait for marriage to enjoy sex within the confines of God’s plan.
And, yes, I do believe this is still the best option in the twenty-first century. And do-able, if we equip our families. Old fashioned? Not in my opinion–or God’s. But, either way, the alternative is not a risk I am willing to take. I will endure the awkward moments to equip my family the best I know how, so they can make wise choices and, by the grace of God, manage well the wonder of their sexuality.
S.E.X…. What do you tell your kids? The truth. They deserve it! They’ll figure it out either way, one way or another. The advantage to you telling them is that it wins trust and equips them for life if you tell them.
© Trudy Metzger
Return to 1st post in Sexual Abuse Series