I watched my kids color today. They are so young and so innocent. Their only focus in the moment was the 50 shades of crayons that they had to choose from. They have no clue about the “50 Shades of Grey” controversy. They have no clue about the dark and crazy world we live in. They have no clue about the difficult choices, or the peer pressure, or the confusion, or the temptations that this world will soon present to them. I’m so glad.
I’m so glad that their only worry right now is what color they should choose out of the pile of crayons on the table. Soon the choices they make will be so much bigger…colors of crayons will turn into kinds of friendships. A broken crayon will turn into a broken heart. Which picture should they color with their crayons will turn into which decision should they make for their lives! Whether it be choosing healthy relationships, not cheating on a test, protecting themselves from pornography, saying no to drugs and alcohol, or waiting until marriage to have sex, they have so much ahead of them.
And just as I start to ruin this beautiful moment of them coloring quietly together by panicking, I have to regroup. I can’t focus on the thought that the colors of crayons that they are so carefully choosing right now are the least of their worries in life. I can’t focus on the thought that I’m not ready. I’m not ready for them to make big decisions. I’m not ready for them to even know the word sex let alone learn about it. I’m not ready.
And just when I start to panic even more at the thought that maybe I am not adequately preparing them for what’s to come, God steps in. His voice calms me and He shows me how I am thinking ahead more than I realize.
I am already taking steps to prepare their little ears for the big talk…their little lives for the bigger “pictures” to come.
And then I realized that He was right. I am setting a foundation. Of course at ages six, three and one, I’m not talking to them about the specifics of sex, but I am creating an environment of trust, open communication, love, and respect. Let me share with you…
Here are 4 helpful hints to get you started on the right path to talking to your kids about sex:
1. Set Boundaries: Teach them the correct names for their private parts. There is no shame in the fact that they have a vagina and a penis. That is what they are called. Even if they shout in the grocery store that the check out lady has a vagina…that is ok! 🙂 Emphasize that their private parts are indeed that…private. Don’t just talk to them about that once either. Every chance you get, remind them about the importance of respecting their private parts and someone else’s too. Establishing appropriate touching boundaries is healthy and necessary.
2. Communicate: Create an environment of open and honest communication. Don’t expect that this will just happen. You have to work at it. Kids don’t just naturally continue to trust you. You have to build it, maintain it, and make necessary repairs as needed…always. Every night, I take a few minutes with each of my older kids and talk and pray with them. I ask about their day. I see if they have any questions to ask me. Sometimes they do…sometimes they don’t, but I hope that giving them that invitation to ask me anything every night will soon become something that they wait for and expect. It is my prayer that when the appropriate time comes, having already established a level of openness and questions being exchanged, that my kids will be less uncomfortable when we do talk about more serious or uncomfortable topics like sex.
3. Love: Kids need to be loved! More importantly, they need to feel loved unconditionally! If they know they are loved, talking to them about sex will be easier. If they know they are loved, they will feel more secure and confident in who they are and be able to love themselves and how God created them to be. They will be able to better understand the meaning of love in sex when the time is right.
4. Pray: The most important thing you can do is pray! Ask God to give you wisdom and guidance in how and when to talk to your kids about sex. He will be there to direct you and even give you the words to say! And begin praying for their sexual experiences and their sexual health too. Pray for confidence to protect their bodies. Pray for purity and for them to value their first sexual experience saving it for marriage. (Even though I didn’t wait doesn’t mean I don’t want that for my kids.) It’s never too early to pray over all of the big and little decisions that your kids will face in their lives!
The bible says in Isaiah 64:8- “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.”
As moms, we have to trust that God will be there for our kids when their crayons break. He will guide them in choosing just the right pictures to color. He will show them when they color outside the lines, and He will help them choose just the right crayons in life to become the beautiful works of art that He created them to be!
Our job is to set healthy boundaries, communicate with them, love them, and pray for them. Cheer for them. Encourage them. Respect them. Hug them. Laugh with them. Enjoy them. By doing these things, we are not only preparing them for the big talk, but we are preparing them for their big masterpiece in life…whatever that may look like.
Lord, thank You for our children. Help us to establish a firm foundation in loving our kids and teaching them to love themselves. Help them to love and respect their bodies and the bodies of others. And guide our words when the time comes to talk to them about difficult topics. Give us confidence in our parenting and help us to model healthy relationships in our lives and in our marriages to set a good example to our children while You mold them and shape them into Your beautiful masterpiece! In Jesus name. Amen.