What happens in the meantime?
Advertising, explicit music and videos, sexually charged sitcoms, Planned Parenthood and Google searches linked to deviant behavior fill in the blanks, daily, with inaccurate and even shocking material. Our silence leads our kids to find answers elsewhere. Their understanding of sexuality is formed by a culture where pornography is mainstream, and their sense of modesty, respect and privacy is numbed, sometimes irreparably.
So if we need to start talking now, what do we say?
- Start with a smile. Welcome your child's questions. If the question relates to something sexual, remember that the body and sexuality are beautiful. Your child is curious. Honor their curiosity with a welcoming demeanor, and keep answers brief.
- Start with the facts. And JUST the facts ... in the context of the events of everyday life. Teach the accurate names of body parts, and answer questions simply, matter-of-factly. (Scripts in Planned Purity for parents below can help!)
- Start with the heart. Focus on the formation of virtue and character. Conversations about character and unselfishness naturally build bridges to discussions about sexual integrity as a child grows.
The five senses (what we call the Five Doors) are our children's windows to the world, but also the key to maintaining hearts of virtue. When kids learn that they can choose to open or close these "doors" to keep their hearts clean, a conversation begins. From there, an engaged parent can open discussions of sexuality naturally, over time, instead of being squeezed into one impossible "big talk."
Don't be silent anymore. Your child is already being taught. The question is, by whom? Let it be you, always.
Start now, and start with the heart. PARENTS have the power to keep children safe.