Let's talk about sex

9:22 AM

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I don't have teens yet; but whether I like it or not, I will be dealing with it sooner.  I remember Bro. Bo's question; who will brainwash your child? TV? YouTube? Social Media? Their peers? or You, parents?  

I am raising a two smart tweens; questions are continuously coming up and most of the time shocking questions bring me to pause and think critically on how I am going to answer them the way that is adaptable to their developing stage.  One of the crucial questions is about sexuality. They are asking about courting, relationship, romance, and even the terms of endearment.  If we don’t talk to our kids about the facts and our family values about sexuality and relationships, they will eventually bungle their way through this, with or without our help.  So, who do you want to help them, media, friends or we, parents?

What is our role as parents?

As parents, we should be on-guard to the crucial developmental need of adolescents.  According to experts, at this stage they develop their identity and they learn to relate with opposite sex.  Guiding them to understand themselves in relation to others, be aware of how to handle emotions and establish genuine and intimate relationship can lead them to maintain satisfying relationships in adulthood. Most of the teens don't feel comfortable talking about relationships and sexual issues with their parents due to one-sided parenting rules "no boyfriends and don't engage in premarital sex". They tend to lie in order to pursue a romantic relationship. As parents, we assume that they already learned about sex from Health lessons in school.  As our teens and tweens are finding it hard to confront and deal with real life, particularly on relationships and social interactions, we should guide them as they satisfy the moment for their needs of assurance, acceptance and alliance.  Instead of expressing themselves out in the virtual world, our attention should be their comfort.  Make them feel at ease when they approach us about their anxieties and questions about puberty.  Talking about sex is a real challenge.  But it's better that our teens/tweens learn from us rather than a stranger on YouTube.  

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How are we going to talk about sex?

According to experts,  we can start talking about sexual issues when our children are eight or nine years old, by using age-appropriate terms and in context already comprehensible to them.  Using appropriate terms in our discussion can encourage comfortable communication.  If you find it difficult or awkward to initiate such discussion, here are tips to assist you:

  • Let your child in on how it was for you as a teen/tween.  Share feelings, concerns and experiences you remember having while growing up.
  • Take advantage of the useful publications available for preadolescents.  leave them on the coffee table in the family room or somewhere your teen/tween is likely to stumble upon them.
  • Use TV, movies, lyrics in a songs and other media to begin a discussion about sexuality.  Let your children know how you feel about sexual messages delivered by the media.  Ask about their impressions.
We need to listen well to our children's questions so we can respond well.  We can explain the beauty of the human sexual act, the goodness of this gift from God, and our value about love and sex.  We can stress the importance of the mind to discern, the emotions to feel, and the spirit to do what is right.  

Sex is not an easy topic to deal with.  We need to reflect on our own beliefs, values and inhibitions.  Does it serves us and our children as well?

Evaluating the quality and manner of communicating with our teen/tween are merely important.  We can ask ourselves, do we have an honest communication about sex issues? Are we accepting our teen/tweens' beliefs and opinion about sexuality and relationships? How do we react when we hear unacceptable insights from our children?  Do we communicate with them without malice and judgement?

The ways we communicate these to our teens/tweens take on special urgency in this day and age.  We need to be mentors in the proper sense of the word, and model for our teens the essence of genuine and lasting relationship.

If you are practicing a healthy communication with your teens/tweens, well, congratulations! Keep up the good work!  If not, begin today.  You and your child have everything to gain.

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