Studies say that talking with your kids early on about the “birds and the bees” makes them less likely to be promiscuous. I had read this; but like most parents, I was dreading the “talk”. I knew it was an important part of their early childhood education yet I probably would have put it off another few years… but my brainiacs kept asking questions like “What are those white pad things under the bathroom cabinet?” and “Why do you have to get a male kitten fixed at the vet if he can’t have babies?” I am sure they could tell when my face flushed that something was up. I started getting 'the panic attacks' when we read books about animals and mating was mentioned. I either skipped over the content or read it like a commercial (where the announcer lists all the side-effects to taking a pill or the fine-print when you lease a car). Even the Bible provides much material for skipping over when you are nearing the age of inquisitiveness.
Recently, I resorted to renting the 1975 version of Animals are Beautiful People rather than show them another modern day National Geographic documentary (we found out the hard way that NG sometimes goes a little overboard in the mating arena)... I was just sure another ‘Kangaroo incident’ was going to come on the screen and start up another discussion I couldn’t finish.
Somewhere in the past few months I had a brilliant idea: Get help! I started reading all I could on the subject of talking with my kids about sex. Somehow I sensed that it was going to happen soon – even if I had my feet stuffed in my mouth and a horrid case of the hives. I might as well be prepared. I discussed it with friends, also. A few of my friends have already let the “dirty little secret” out of the box with their own children. I wanted to know what to expect. It seemed as if things were moving into place without my help… as if God was guiding me to give this attention because He knew that I was going to chicken out unless I was pushed into talking.
This is the legacy we have been handed in Generation X: the mystifying and muddling of our sexuality. Because of the secrecy and the silence, a whole generation has grown up thinking of sex in a negative way - or just too much! Women are degraded on billboards, men are stopping off after work at the triple-x movie house down the street, and kids are having sex in the junior high lunch-rooms. Stringy clothing is less tacky than only the girls who are wearing it. Young kids are getting daily doses of sexuality and violence from prime-time television… while their parents are mute about values and the purpose of a WONDERFUL Christ-centered sexual relationship through marriage. We aren't telling kids the real reasons why God made us the way we are and giving GOD the credit for the wonderful thing that we call sex. I want my kids to have godly and fulfilling sex-lives one day when they are grown and married. I don’t want them to be afraid to talk about it with their own kids. I knew that if I wanted to prevent the cycle of silence from setting them off track in their own lives, I was going to have to speak up and GET REAL.
Soon after the questions started, a discussion came up on one of the email lists I am part of and another mom was asking for book suggestions for talking with her own kids about the “birds and the bees”. There were many great books suggested and much kind advice given by other moms. I began to think that my panic was really unnecessary. I decided to order a book that would relay the story to them better than I could; one that we could read together as a family. Many of the moms who had already been through this phase of child-rearing suggested “Before I Was Born” by Stan and Brenna Jones.
When the book arrived in the mail, the kids were excited and thought they were getting a gift. They always love getting mail since we live so far away from family. I opened it up and told them it was a book that I wanted to read with them. I figured the moment was lending itself to us… and “now was as good a time as any”. We curled up on my bed and began to read. I introduced the book to the kids. “I bought this book to explain to you about how Mommies and Daddies raise a family. You’ve been asking a lot of questions lately that I feel deserve answers. Do you remember the discussion we had about the Daddy cat going to get fixed at the vet? This book will explain why the Daddy cat has to get fixed.” That got their attention right away! They were all ears until the book started to get graphic. It wasn’t near as uncomfortable as I had imagined talking with them to be. I got such a kick out of their responses and our discussion that it made the whole experience rather humorous.
The book was wonderful. It began with God’s purposes for people, sex, and the love between man and wife. There were scriptures interwoven through the story and pretty illustrations. I was glad that I was having this conversation early on (at 10 and 8) rather than finding out that they were learning all about this from some other (and less biblical) source. We managed to make it through the book (with quite a few comments and smaller discussions along the way). “Gross!!!” and “Eeew!” were accompanied by some pretty ill-faced grimaces. I had to stop and laugh at their expressions and responses, but I kept reading. My favorite moment was when Kaden asked (as most little boys will), “So that is what you had to do with Daddy for us to be here?” He looked so grief-stricken that I had to smile. “Of course it is, Kaden. If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have you!”
Daddy walked in from work around the time we were finishing up the discussion after the book. He knew that something was going on when everyone stared at him in a strange, knowing sort of way as he entered the bedroom. I’m sure he felt as if he were walking into a hornet’s nest. “What’s up?” he asked, quizzically. The kids acted as if they wanted to flee the room. Kaden sheepishly said, “I am never going to get married”. His face was beet red. I showed Daddy the book and he proceeded to blush, too. Morgan said to him in her most serious voice, “Well…, I’m glad that you and Mommy… did sex… so that we could be here.” It was as if she thought it must have been awful and we needed some kind of award for our service to them as procreators. The things kids say! I wish I had a video camera that would have recorded these moments. They were priceless. When she said this, though, I thought Kevin might pass out. He quickly scanned the book (managing to regain his composure) so we could continue our discussion.
Daddy and I began to tag-team a “birds and bees” talk with the kids. We talked about how precious it is and how it should be saved for a man and wife. We talked about the reasons why some women get pregnant before they are married. They asked interesting questions and had both of us there to answer them. We talked about how men should treat women. We talked about what “hookers” were (the kids had heard the word in a great gospel song by Randy Travis) and how sad and hard their lives are. We talked about how the body is beautiful and the people who dress “trashy” are God’s creations and their bodies are not trashy – it is how they dress and ACT that is trashy. We talked about how God created sex as a gift for a man and wife to show each other love. It really was a wonderful discussion.
Amazingly, I feel a lot closer to the kids. I feel like I’m not keeping any secrets now. I’ve never been one to lie or hide things from them. I didn’t know that waiting this long seemed that way from their point of view. It struck me when my son said, “I always thought you guys were keeping some kind of secret. Now I know what it was.” I told him, “Do you blame me? It is kind of a personal thing to talk about bodies in that way, hu? It is pretty embarrassing. If you had a kid, would you be afraid to talk with them about it?” He smiled, “Yeah. I would.”
So there you have it. The bee is out of the hive. The bird is out of its nest. I am left to wonder why I was so afraid of spring. It really isn’t so bad after all.
Got bees?If you have your own little hive of kiddos and are nearing the “talk” yourself, here are a few of the resources that I was referred to below. Be sure to let me know what you think of them in my comments section if you have read them!
ONLINEHow to Talk with Your Kids about Sex - Whitney Hopler (Live It Editor)
Sex Ed at Home - Conquering your own anxieties is the first step to teaching your kids healthy sexuality - by Debra Evans
Abstinence Advocate: Concerned Parents Are Talking With Kids About Sex
Talking With Kids About Sex and Relationships (secular site)
Kevin Leman: Talking Turkey About Sex - by The 700 Club
Abstinence-Only Sex Education - Religion & Ethics
Spiritual Sex-Ed - Talking about sex involves more than the birds and the bees. Make sure you include the Bible, too. - by Jim Burns
Teaching Teens: Homeschooling with Christ - The Best Defense Against Pre-marital Sex - by Mimi Rothschild
BOOKSQuestions Kids Ask About Sex: Honest Answers for Every Age
God's Design for Sex (Pictured Above)
Revised – 4 Book Set
by: Stan and Brenna Jones
Talking to Your Kids About Sex
by: Mark Laaser
Life Before Birth
by: Gary Parker
Girls and Puberty:
God, Mom, Me and Tea
by Doorposts Ministries
PO Box U
Quincy, Calif. 95971
revised by Karen Andreola
Secret Keeper Girl: The Power of True Beauty and Modesty (Eight Great Dates for You and Your Daughter)
by: Dannah Gresh.
I Kissed Dating Goodbye: A New Attitude Toward Romance and Relationships (Upgraded)
by: Joshua Harris
Teaching True Love to a Sex-at-13 Generation
by: Eric Ludy, Leslie Ludy
The Princess and the Kiss or The Squire and the Scroll
by: Jennie Bishop