Thursday, May 19, 2011

Raising Real Men, part 10

A few MOPS meetings ago, one of our speakers gave us a couple handouts about speaking to our children about purity, physical privacy, respect for our bodies, remembering that our bodies are temples, and of course, sex! She also gave us a gigantic packet called, "Talking to Your Kids about Sex." Throughout the past year, I have learned that children are finding out about all kinds of aspects of sexuality at much earlier ages.

I am not typically a worrier, but I have to confess that I have many fears in this area...talking to my kids about sex, explaining the need to remain sexually pure, the privacy issues I need to teach them about starting NOW, etc. I worry that I will not do or say enough to protect my sons. I worry that I will not convict them enough or that I will say something to push them away (possibly to rebellion.) (I have a lot of faith in my influence, don't I?! :) )

Chapter 13, "Love and War," discusses this topic as it relates to young children all the way through marriage. I'm just going to hit on the younger side of things, since that is the stage my sons are in right now. The Young's must have felt or heard fears similar to mine, because they point out that often those fears are based on the fact that we don't have a clue what we're doing or what we're going to say about sex (etc.) (I would definitely say this is true about me!)

Based on Raising Real Men, the speakers at MOPS, and the informational handouts we were given at the meeting, the general idea is this: Make discussions as frequent, natural, and laid-back as possible! (Easier said than done, right?!) I'm sure we have all heard the quote, "You are your child's first teacher." As far as this topic goes, though, that might not be the case. Unfortunately, many parents tend to skip over this subject, and their children end up learning about it from peers at school...leaving the parents with the nasty clean-up duty! (Which end would you rather have this discussion on, because it's bound to happen one way or another!!)

Let's get straight to the main points for teaching our YOUNG children (not as in Hal and Melanie's kids ;) )

1. Watch for teachable moments (again, a common piece of advice I heard and read in all of this information.) If your kids bring something up, go with it. I loved that one of our MOPS speakers said that often our children want to know less than we think they do. (In other words, don't go into more detail than they were looking for!)

2. Don't have THE talk...have many discussions as they present themselves. Make your child feel comfortable in their curiosities, and allow them to ask questions when they come up. If you can't answer right then (especially if you don't have a good answer), tell them you will talk about it at dinner, for example (and make sure you follow through.)

3. Call things what they are. I have always cringed when people use "cute" names for various body parts. Why NOT call things now what they are going to need to call them as they get older (and with a doctor, if needed!) It seems silly to me to make it into a childish thing if we are going to have serious discussions about what God intended us to use these things for.

4. Be positive! God designed sex for our pleasure and for having babies, and there is nothing to be ashamed of or worried about if we follow His design. Our American culture has so twisted and cheapened many things about sexuality. It is up to us to lead our children in the way of the Lord, in all things!!

I could keep going...this packet (from Christianity Today International, copyright 2009, www.Kyria.com) is so full of good things!!

The Young's book deals so wonderfully with how to help your older sons with temptations, traps, and "the battlefield of the mind (p. 205.)" As a mom, I sometimes wish I could move out into the country and never allow my sons to even experience these temptations and trials. (That would obviously be ludicrous on many levels!)

"Unfortunately, if we don't recognize how much temptation is already burdening our children, we may take a false hope in simply withdrawing them from bad company. What they need is help dealing with the temptation they carry within." (p. 198)

Prayer, lots and lots of prayer and leaning on the Lord to lead me and guide my boys through life are the only two things that are ultimately going to get us all through this!!

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