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If you have kids you already know that sex education does not start when they are teenagers, so let's not kid ourselves. Human beings are sexual beings. You have your own childhood stories, I have mine, and our children will have theirs. Kids are getting an education on sex starting from day one.
Little ones start out exploring everything, including their bodies, with simple curiosity. In past generations that exploration was treated by some with shame, embarrassment, or their own discomfort. These days we know that our own discomfort can be transferred to our children and we work hard and deliberately to be aware of our own issues and to work through them.
Without making assumptions about anyone except for myself, I consider it a healthy, mature, and loving thing to consciously and deliberately address internal issues that keep one bunged up inside. And why? So as to not pass those issues on to our beloved offspring. I did it; it took me years. But I'm grateful to not pass along the stuff that I was carrying, especially about sexuality and sins and sluts.
If I can do it, so can anyone.
Our children and their beautiful bodies will serve them for their entire lives; let's help them to feel healthy and happy being a human being. Being sexual is perfectly normal and healthy. Our culture works so hard to pass along messed up messages about body image, sexuality, genders...let's make our homes a haven of loving acceptance, accurate information, and healthy messages about the sexual part of all of our beings.
Let's Talk to the Kids
I might have this wrong, but it looks to me like this new generation of parents are far more informed and healthy about sexuality than past generations. Loving acceptance of a range of sexuality expression and identity and gender is such a freeing gift to give to this and future generations. I'm delighted when I see the kids coming up these days with such love and understanding. Perhaps my supposed knowledge is unnecessary.
- Keep communication open and positive from the earliest days of your child's life about sexuality, sexual feelings, and their bodies. Our children look to us and adopt our tone.
- Talk about it. The media portrays both males and females in stereotypical and skewed ways. Don't allow these messages to go unchallenged.
- Smile and let your children know that their choice and identity is lovable and loving and welcome.
- Think about gender roles and rules and be willing to adjust your assumptions for the good of our children.
Stop the presses.
This post is sounding like obvious stuff.
You know what? You know what to do:
- Be loving and genuine.
- Be genuinely informative at your child's level and interest.
- Be honest.
- Be encouraging.
- Know that sexuality is complex, too complex to have black and white rules governing it.
- Discussions of ethical, equal, and compassionate treatment of others is a precursor to all relationship conversation.
- Human relationships require respect and self-awareness to be at their healthiest.
- Each relationship is unique.
- Compassionate conversations during the teen years are possible when conversations are open and warm.
We have had the conversations that I wish someone could and would have had with me when I needed the information; if I had had these conversations perhaps I would have understood things better. My life path would have been so different. The conversations we have will probably not keep my children virgins; that is not the purpose of our talks. But they will be more confident, safe, and respectful than I was. Fear will not be sole birth control for my kids. Instead, knowledge will serve. And condoms and other appropriate interventions.
Look, I don't want my kids to run out and have sex, but with the knowledge and respect for sex that they now have, I have been very impressed with their way of approaching the subject and with their choices. Not that the conversations are easy at this age, my mind buzzes half of the time, but I'm grateful for their openness, for their strong desire to be ethical people, and for their respect for self and others.
If I can do this, so can you.
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