Helpful Articles •
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Teaching Children About Sex
We need to talk to you about sex. Kids today are learning
more information faster than ever before, so fast it’s
scary. And without some good teaching on this subject they
are in for a difficult time in their lives.
a video of Dr. Turansky describing a conversation he had
with his daughter and her boyfriend.
If you aren’t talking
to your kids about sex then you’re the only one who isn’t.
They’re hearing about it on TV, in music, at school, from
friends, and through advertisements of every kind. But
parents find this one of the most difficult subjects to
address with their kids.
There are three reasons parents don’t talk to their kids
about sex. First, they’re too embarrassed. Second, they
don’t know how. And third... they’re too embarrassed.
Here are some questions that will help guide your parenting
decisions when it comes to sex education in your family.
How early do we start talking to our kids
Recognizing that children are at different
stages of maturity, it’s important to discuss sex and related
issues in a way that’s appropriate for a child’s age and
development. Parents set an open atmosphere with their
kids by talking even with preschoolers about differences
between boys and girls, privacy, and God’s design for families.
This open dialogue answers a child’s question only as far
as they need to know but teaches kids that they can talk
to their parents about these issues and that differences
are part of God’s design.
As children move into the elementary years it’s good
to talk more about biology and the growth of a baby inside
of a mother and that God designed the process of pregnancy
By preadolescence it’s important to talk about intercourse,
privacy, the biology of pregnancy, and the God-given gift
of sex within the confines of a marriage relationship.
It’s also important to talk to kids about how to relate
to the opposite sex. Differences are fun but need to be
During adolescence it’s important to keep an open dialogue
with your kids about sex, biology, and the God-design planned
for reproduction and sexual intimacy. Although kids are
often hesitant to talk with their parents about this subject
during the teen years, parents can do a lot to initiate
an open dialogue with their teens.
What are the areas we should talk about? Although the
material you cover is partly determined by the child’s
age and interest, here are some basic things you want to
consider as you talk with your children.
First, use the correct anatomical terms for body parts.
Second, talk about social relationships between boys and
girls. You want to encourage healthy dialogue between guys
and gals within limits. The reality is that girls and boys
think and act differently and that makes for interesting
interaction. That’s not only okay. It’s good.
However, sometimes the interaction turns into flirting
and experimentation. Privacy, sexual jokes, teasing, and
touching games are part of the social interaction you’ll
want to discuss. Be careful about your own teasing in the
area of relationships. Young people can become quite sensitive
and self-conscious. You’ll want to be honoring and affirming
as you talk about this sensitive subject.
Third, talk about values that influence sexual decisions
and God’s design and plan for marriage, sex, and family.
It’s important for children of all ages to realize that
living within God’s guidelines for sexual purity produces
the healthiest and strongest marriage relationships and
avoids many emotional problems that come with sexual promiscuity.
What if my child has shown an early interest
Sometimes children touch themselves or experiment
and explore with other children, exposing themselves to
more information and experience than you’d like or that
is helpful for them.
An increased exposure or interest in sex at an early
age is important to address. Here are some guidelines.
By all means, keep your fear and anger in check. You can
do more damage to your relationship with your children
by your intensity than by the experimentation itself. You
want to set firm limits without making kids feel ashamed
or guilty about their own sexual interests and desires.
Be firm in setting limits with kids regarding their involvement
with other children. Kids need to know that sexual exploration
is not acceptable. When children engage in sexual stimulation
at a young age, work to distract them, keep them busy,
and gently encourage them away from that activity.
Children who use privacy to explore sexuality need less
alone time. Keep them in common areas and in places where
you can keep an eye on them. Children who have a greater
interest generally need more discussions and teaching about
Which parent should do the talking to our
Some people believe that dads should talk
to their sons and that mothers should talk to their daughters
about sexual issues. It’s important, however, that both
dads and moms have significant discussions with their kids.
The reality is that men think differently than women.
When a mom talks to her son about sex she’ll emphasize
different things and have a different perspective on
the subject than a dad will.
Likewise, when a dad talks to his daughter about sex
he’ll approach it differently. Furthermore, when sexual
issues become more important and correction is required
you want to have both parents involved. Also, the reality
in most families is that children often gravitate to one
parent over the other as the parent they confide in. This
isn’t wrong. It’s a reality. So, who does the talking may
be determined by the unique family dynamic.
Should we talk to our children individually or together?
The answer to the question is “both.” Open conversation
about sex within the family dynamics includes group discussions
about the social issues, and maybe even some conversations
about pregnancy and birth. Certainly developing personal
convictions in children requires individual conversations.
The ages of the children in the family must be considered.
You may discuss more with an older child in private so
as not to expose younger children to more information than
their development is ready for.
Open honest conversations in family life both individually
and together require that a parent feel comfortable with
the dialogue. This takes work but it’s worth it in the
What can I do to overcome my own issues
of embarrassment with discussions about sex?
for parents to work hard to overcome embarrassment in this
area. You can do several things to prepare yourself to
adequately parent your children. First, talk to the Lord
about your own sexual experiences. If you’ve sinned in
this area, ask forgiveness and deal with it before God.
Second, thank the Lord for your own sexuality. Acknowledge
God in this important area of your life and you’ll experience
tremendous relief from anxiety and embarrassment.
Imagine your unmarried daughter pregnant at 17 or your
unmarried son fathering a child. You want to have done
everything you can now to prevent that. Recognizing that
your kids are in danger in our sex-crazed society will
fuel your desire to overcome any personal issues and allow
you to be proactive in this area with your kids.
Read the book How
to Talk Confidently with Your Child about Sex. This book will give you practical ideas for
addressing these issues with your children.
Get an age-appropriate book from our Learning
About Sex curriculum. These books provide
you with a resource, taking the focus off of you or your
child and placing the focus on an informative book. At
the National Center for Biblical Parenting we are committed
to helping you be the most effective parent possible.
We work with moms and dads every week and we know that
parenting is the toughest job in the world.