My do the years fly by from birth to adolescence. There are so many milestones tucked into the first 10 years of a child’s life. Baby’s first words, first tooth, and first steps to learning to ride a bike, going to school, and… the beginning stages of puberty. The early years quickly turn into the “easy” ones as hormones begin to creep into the picture, leaving parents (me, I’m parents) wondering, “Where did the time go?”.
Unfortunately, there is no way to make time slow down. (If you know of one, please share with the class!) The days are long but the years are short. Just as soon as your baby has muttered their first word, they start talking about their first crush and who they’re going to marry when they grow up. Thankfully for us, Raygan has never been one for the jobless, bad boys with greasy hair and motorcycles. Her first crush was Ben Stiller, later followed by Chris Pratt… *sigh of relief. Great guys.
Starting in the second grade, Raygan started to be more aware of the attention she received at school. (She attended a private school for both 1st. and 2nd. grade) She started caring about how her hair looked, what she wore, and about the opinions of others. She also started coming home with unsolicited information from other kids in her class, a typical occurrence in any grade school, but still a blow to the gut of all moms and dads. Every parent wants their child to remain young and innocent for as long as possible, but unfortunately in today’s world, it’s not a viable option.
We all know how exploited female (and even male) bodies are in advertising and even on day time television. How all who are tuned in instantly feel inadequate because their bodies and appearances aren’t that of the it girl (or boy) featured. Sex is no longer a sacred, private matter saved for the husband and wive’s bedroom… it’s being shown and insinuated in shows and movies more and more as the years go on. Kids are picking up on it and they’re curious, naturally.
Aside from hiding your kids under rocks and living completely off the grid, apart from all other human interaction, they are bound to see or hear about matters before your are ready for them to.
So here we are, age 9 (and 3/4, if you ask Ray) entering into the pre-teen years, looking for ways to be proactive and praying for a continued smooth sail through the teen years into adulthood. What better way than sexual education? *gasp! You’re joking, right?! Stay with me.
As mentioned before, kids are learning about sex and experiencing bodily changes much earlier than ever before. Sadly, I’ve heard of numerous instances of local lower elementary students (1st-5th) who have been caught doing inappropriate acts while AT school. Most recently, I’ve heard of TWO little girls, in the same class, going into 6th. grade PREGNANT! Preg-a-nant, people! When I was going into 6th. grade, the only things I was concerned about was T.Y. beanie babies and flavored Lip Smackers. I almost cried when I heard about these young girls and thought of how much their lives are going to change. They aren’t capable of being parents. They can’t even legally make decisions, much less appropriate decisions on their soon-to-be child’s behalf. Their childhood, as they know it, has so quickly been stripped away. Bless.
So, why do I feel like making my child (at such a tender age) learn about sex is such a great idea? Is it not enough that it’s being shoved in her face every time she turns on the t.v. or flips through a magazine or scrolls through the internet? The answer is, no. The information that is being fed through the media is so twisted and misleading that I don’t want her lifelong impression to be made solely by its standards. Also, like I said, kids are curious. She’s at the age where her friends are obsessed with inappropriate information and are chomping at the bit for any opportunity to share, whether asked to or not.
I’ve decided that it’s my (and my husband’s) responsibility to lead her through these awkward yet important conversations here at home, as I believe it is every parent’s responsibility. Relying on schools to teach more than just the physical parts and actions is not enough. If you want your child to grow up with healthy view of their bodies and what sex was meant to be, you have to step up to the plate. It’s uncomfortable. There will be giggles (maybe tears, on your part). But imagine being able to give your child their first impression of the matters, sharing with them the real purpose and beauty of these God given gifts.
Imagine your children seeing you as a safe haven where they can come and ask questions and hear the truth. Imagine them growing up confident that abstinence is something to be proud of and that the reward of monogamous intimacy with their spouse is a beautiful thing. And if for some reason, they decide to take an alternate route, they know that your door is open and that you’re committed to helping them through whatever life throws their way. All because you took the time to sit with them and discuss these things (no pun intended) at an early age. You can treat yourself to a massage, or a drink, or an ugly cry.. or heck, now that you’ve mentioned it.. maybe some mommy and daddy time, to calm your nerves and continue on with your life. Let us pray.
There are plenty of good resources available online or in books from the library to help you through these delicate conversations. In addition to our homeschool curriculum, I’ve chosen to use The Good and The Beautiful’s Maturation & Sexual Reproduction course. It’s so carefully put together, giving undisclosed details of the human anatomy- both male and female, intercourse, puberty and other topics, allowing me to read word for word and improve as I see fit.. all while using a faith based perspective and referencing scripture to back it all up.
(I am not affiliated with The Good and The Beautiful in any way. This is not a paid advertisement. This is purely personal experience and review.)
I’m so pleased with the curriculum thus far and the conversations that it has encouraged. I would definitely recommend it to other moms and dads who are unsure where to begin when it comes to teaching about these next important milestones in your kiddo’s lives. It’s not easy to admit that your child is old enough to learn about such “grown up” topics.. but they’re going to find out about them one way or another. I don’t know about you, but I want to be a key player and a major influence in most of my child’s decisions. I’ve learned quite a few things the hard way over the years, and whether or not my shared experiences will shift her opinions, at least I’ll feel confident that I did my best in providing her with purely the most healthy information that I know how to give. I will be open to all questions, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. I will play an active role in her life, just as I have from the beginning because that’s what I was called to do. You can too. I believe that our children will look back and thank us for the time and effort spent and the seeds we planted along the way. You got this mama (and daddy)!
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.Proverbs 22:6 (NIV)
What are your thoughts on this matter? Do you agree that we should give our children their first impressions of these matters? At what age do you feel it’s appropriate to start sharing about these topics? I’d love to hear your opinions. Please comment and share with others who you think would benefit from this article.