I often wonder: Did we wait to long to have “the talk” with our boys?
Admittedly, we've drug our feet for a couple years. We knew that beginning to discuss God's design for our physical bodies and sexuality was important. We just didn't have “the talk.”
My husband and I want to be the people our kids come to when they have questions about things like this. But, we both grew up in homes where sex wasn't discussed much and churches where it was a fairly taboo topic. We didn't want that for our kids.
But we didn't have “the talk.”
Innocence vs Ignorance
Sadly, in wanting to protect our kids and their “innocence,” we've held off having a formal talk about sex. I think we were afraid of saying the wrong thing. Explaining something wrong. Addressing issues they weren't ready for. Figuring out how to answer questions we didn't know how to answer. We've learned that all we've really done is preserve ignorance and increases the chances they will learn about this important topic from someone else.
Sexuality in Every Day Life
I've talked with the boys during science about reproductions in animals. They understand that God has made male and female, sperm and egg. We've used correct terms for body parts. They know some basics about how babies grow in the womb. I've also discussed how some people have chosen to kill babies in the womb before they can be born. I've always breastfed openly in front of my boys and they've seen me pregnant multiple times. Babies and our bodies are a fairly open thing in our home. Joel was born at home. Josiah even woke up during the last hour or so of my labor and witnessed Joel's entrance to the world.
Too Much or Too Little?
Over the years, I think we've been more open than I'd realized. So, what has held us back from having an open discussion about sexuality and God's design for our bodies and relationships with our now 9 year old?
Honestly, I think it's us. We've held ourselves back. We were the problem. We made it awkward and weird. We assumed that our son would find sex gross or uncomfortable to discuss. We wanted things to be different in our family, but we continued to be the problem. We had to make the decision to change from our past experiences.
My husband sat down the other day and began going through the book “The Talk” with our oldest son. He positioned it as doing a special Bible study with him. This was natural because we do family devotions and studying the Bible is the first thing we do every morning after breakfast and before school. Having the talk should be a natural extension of studying the Bible. We go to God's Word for everything else in our lives, so this subject should be no different.
It was getting late the other night and we almost forgot to reserve time to get through the next lesson with our son. He came and asked to sit down with his dad to do the next lesson before bed. He wanted that time with Dad and to learn more. There's a natural curiosity in him and by studying what the Bible says about his body and relationships, we're giving him a way to find out what he needs to know before he finds out somewhere else. But, he wasn't grossed out. He did have questions prompted by science and things he'd heard over the years but never asked about.
Did We Wait Too Long?
Did we wait too long to have “the talk” with our 9 year old? In my opinion, a little. We could have started being more open and direct sooner. We will be with the next son who is currently 5.5 years old. Every child is different, but between the ages of 6-10 is a good time to begin having “the talk”.
Having “the talk” isn't as scary as you might think. If you're already doing family devotions or regular Bible study, it's a natural step. If you've already talked about babies and bodies and the world around us, it's a natural step.
If you're not already studying the Bible with your kids, you need to start there. Here are some resources that you might find helpful:
- Grapevine Studies
- Bible Studies from Not Consumed
- What's in The Bible? Video series
- Write Through the Bible
Having The Talk
Need some encouragement in taking that next step to have “the talk”? Need to break out of some of your past thinking? Need some practical advice for how to explain things or how to answer tough questions? Then check out Luke and Trisha Gilkerson's “Having the Talk” eCourse.
We were given complimentary access to the course to preview it and share it with you. This course was so encouraging for us. It made is realize that we were working in the right direction, but that it was time for us to move a little faster and be a little more direct with our boys. It was so helpful to hear Luke and Trisha explain each section of the book.
Luke and Trisha have several resources to help you discuss God's design for our bodies with your kids:
- The Talk – 7 Lessons to Introduce Your Child to Biblical Sexuality – available in ebook at Intoxicated on Life or paperback on Amazon
- Changes – 7 Biblical Lessons to Make Sense of Puberty – available in ebook at Intoxicated on Life or paperback on Amazon
- Relationships – 7 Lessons to Give Kids a Greater Understanding of Biblical Sexuality – coming soon!
- Having the Talk eCourse – This is a video series that steps you as the parent through how to use “The Talk” with your kids and includes a free ebook copy.
Here are some additional resources on specific FAQ's and topics of interest:
- Transgenderism: 5 Things Your Kids Need to Hear You Say – Equips parents to use the current buzz in the news about transgenderism as a springboard to good conversations.
- “Mommy, how are babies made?” (a no-freak-out strategy) – Addresses what many consider “the big question” when it comes to sex education.
- Moms and Sex-Ed: 7 Tips for Teaching Young Boys – How moms can be involved in teaching their boys about sex.
Material Disclosure: We were given free access to Having the Talk in order to facilitate our review.