Monday, November 15, 2010
HOW? WHEN? WHY? Teaching Children About Sex part 2
(If you missed Part 1, check it out HERE)
I am sorry it has taken me a few extra days to get to this. Life has been crazy busy, and I knew that I needed to be able to focus completely on this post as I wrote it.
So, I told you I would tell you more about the discussion that Jake and I had. How I answered his questions, what to say, etc.
I want you to know that I believe there is a fine line between too much information and too little. I silently prayed for guidance throughout our entire discussion. Knowing how to say things to him, what to say and when to stop.
When Ryan and I were first married we were given a book called "Between a Husband and a Wife". I don't remember the specific words, but I remember the description they gave of sexual relations between a husband and wife. They presented it as a gift from a loving Father in Heaven. Something that could bring a greater closeness and companionship to the couple.
I remember thinking that I didn't ever want to raise my children thinking that sex was bad, evil or wrong. IT isn't. The timing can be, but sexual relations in and of themselves are a sacred and special gift. Meant to be shared between a husband and a wife.
I remember one of my sisters telling me once that it is hard to go throughout your entire life thinking that sex is bad and should be avoided and then one day you get married and suddenly it is great and wonderful. It was hard to shut off the years of learning the opposite and feel good about it all of the sudden. That made a lot of sense to me. I wonder how many of us feel uncomfortable with this aspect of marriage for that very reason.
So, I began by talking to Jake about how our bodies were created. We talked about women's bodies and the miraculous design and ability we have to create life within our own bodies. We talked about what a uterus is, ovaries, menstruation, why it all happens...you name it. I explained and he would ask questions.
Then we talked about a man's body. We talked about puberty, the creation of sperm and it's purpose, we talked about erections, everything.
I tried to approach this part of our discussion...well, all of the discussion, with a sense of the miraculous and perfect design that God created in our bodies. How special and amazing they are. How Heavenly Father planned everything out perfect. That when we feel like these things are dirty or wrong that is the adversary trying to weaken or distort the miraculous and sacred nature of all of it.
Next we talked about sex. I felt the best and easiest way for him to process it was to tell him that a man and a woman's body are created to fit perfectly together, like a puzzle. Neither one is complete without the other. He asked specific questions to clarify how it all works and I gave him straight forward and honest answers.
Then he said, "Well, that's life changing".
Hahaha! I laughed so hard. The subject can be heavy, but I was trying so hard to keep it matter of fact and light. "Well, that's life changing" became the theme of the discussion. He used it a few more times! :)
I told him that it is important to know that Heavenly Father created our bodies this way so that we can
1) create life and have children and
2) as a way to express love and deepen our bond in our relationship.
The intimacy of the subject weighed heavily upon him. I used this opportunity to ask him if that helped him understand why Heavenly Father wanted us to wait until we were married to experience these things.
Of course he peppered me with questions like, "Have you and Dad done that?" (which would seem obvious since he IS our child. This was another "Life Changing" moment for him). I really tried to encourage him to ask questions. This did two things. It helped him express and have his curiosity satisfied, but most importantly it gave me a really good idea of where he was at throughout the discussion. When he asked, "Where would people do this, like hiding behind curtains or something?", it helped me understand that he was still feeling like it was a bad thing, or something that people would sneak to do. We cleared that up.
There came a point, after a lot of questions and answers, that I felt a peace. A sort of knowing that it was enough, for now. Jake had asked all he wanted to and the subject was starting to change in our conversation. I quickly told him that I knew that it would be on his mind a lot over the next few days, because it was a lot of big information. I told him that if he had any additional questions come up, I would be there to answer them at anytime. I also told him that it was very important that he didn't talk to his friends about all he had learned. I asked if he thought it was helpful that all of this information came from his parent. He definitely thought so. I asked if he thought it would be good that his friend learn from their own parents. He totally agreed that would be best. I told him to remember that it is a sacred thing and not something that we talk to everyone about. However, he was more than welcome to ask me or Dad any questions that he had and we would answer them honestly. I did tell him that if the subject comes up again at school that he should encourage his friends to ask their parents, tell them it wasn't bad and it helped, and then change the subject.
I do have to tell you that at some point during the discussion I asked Jake why he didn't tell me what he had heard when he first started hearing it. His response was that he was worried that he would be in trouble.
This opened up a great opportunity to teach him about the promptings of the spirit. I asked if it made sense that he would be in trouble for something he heard on the playground. He said no. I helped him to understand that the feelings of uneasiness he had while listening was the spirit telling him that what he was hearing was not right and that he shouldn't take part in the conversation. The feeling of "Don't tell your parents, you will get in trouble" comes from the adversary. He, of course, does not want him to get the right information. The horrible things he learned that day, swirling around in his head, had potential to do a lot of damage.
Over the next couple of days questions came here and there. Just little clarifications. One of the days we felt prompted to talk about masturbation. Ryan spear headed this one. Straight forward and simple. Perfect. We talked about how Heavenly Father designed our bodies to feel good when they are touched, but those feelings are to be saved until we are married. He explained the specifics and again, we felt that the proper amount of information had been shared.
Over the last couple of years there has been an addition here or there, in information. It is difficult for anyone to tell you when your child is ready for any specific information. You are their parent and know them best. You will feel it. But PLEASE don't think that your children are not exposed to discussion and false information on the playground and at school. They are. Yes, children seem to be younger and younger as they are learning about these things, but no matter there age it is ALWAYS best that it comes from you! Let that idea be what it takes to help you feel comfortable having this discussion!
Thoughts, feelings, success stories, worries, questions......JOIN THE DISCUSSION HERE