I’ve had several request from friends asking me to write a blog about the birds and bees talk with our kids. Maybe it’s because I’m a mommy to lots of girls or because I already have a teenager. Maybe it’s because they’ve seen how open and confident our teenager is when it comes to discussing these issues with us. I’m not sure why they trust me on this matter but I promised that I would write about it. It won’t be for everyone and I’m definitely not an expert, this is just how we do it in our home, what I believe in, what we see going on in the teen world and how we handle it. I am under no delusion that everyone agrees with me. I guess it’s not really a post on the birds and bees but what the lack of communication, lack of brutal honesty, our self-centered society and what our entitlement and the entitlement we give to our children does to them in the long run. I’m also going to give my view on divorce and how the way we as parents handle it affects our children. You might not like it, you might disagree and there are several exceptions to my experience on it. I understand all of that, this is my view and my experience. I’ve written this for my girlfriends.
I recently read somewhere that children who become involved in a relationship, boyfriend/girlfriend, before the age of 12 are 60% more likely to become sexually active as teens. I read it in a book from an author whom I put much faith in and who dedicates her life to teaching young girls and boys about purity, faith and living the way that Christs intends for us to.
I also recently read this startling bit of info. A recent survey found that 38% of Christian teen girls have sent or received a sext message, 57% have viewed porn, and 73% struggle with self-image.
Maybe I should stop reading so much because it’s starting to freak me out.
Our birds and bees sex talk with our girls isn’t a moment when we sit down with them and go over everything we think they need to know. It’s an ongoing, progressive talk that we’ve been having for many years. It’s also not all about what we say to them. It’s about the examples that we set, the way we act, the way we treat our spouses, how we speak to each other, how we dress and how we treat ourselves. The aren’t just listening to us, they’re watching us too.
The very first time that we had to have any sort of sex talk with one of our girl was when our oldest was 6 years old. Yes, 6. We were all sitting down eating dinner when she calmly let us know that “Stacy’s parents don’t have sex anymore.”.
I would pay good money to have captured to the look on my husbands face when those words flowed from her mouth. We smiled and said okay and then rushed through the meal. Apparently Stacy’s parents fought in front of Stacy and weren’t very careful about what she heard. Stacy repeated their fights to her friends, teachers and counselor at school. I bet Stacy’s parent wish they would have been a little more discrete while fighting in their home in front of their small impressionable little girl. I’m sure Stacy wishes she had never heard or seen them fight.
Later that night while I was getting her bath ready this conversation went down.
“Honey do know what sex means?”
“Yes, it’s when a boy and girl lay in bed and hug each other”
I would have liked to stop there but knew that I couldn’t.
“Well it’s actually when a HUSBAND and WIFE lay together at night and show each other their love with their body’s while they hug and kiss.”
And that was that.
Conversation about sex go very differently with her 8 years later.
We’ve decided that brutal honest is best. I promise that if we aren’t talking to her about it and telling her the truth then some teenager is talking to her about it and telling her their version. I’d rather her hear and trust our version.
When she asks what any sexual act is we tell her in as much detail as needed. We also do our very best to not have a completely shocked look on our faces or scream “Where in the world did you hear that!!” . We try to never bash the source of where she heard it and we make sure that she knows that kids will inflate stories to sound cooler than they really are so there is no repeating of the gossip to her friends.
She is completely confident that she can ask us anything and she will get the honest answer and that there will not be any repercussions for knowing and asking. She is just as comfortable talking to her daddy about these things as she is talking to me about them. Daddy has a harder time keeping the shocked look off his face, especially the day she had maturation class and called him to tell him all about how feminine products work.
She got in the car two days ago and said “Mom I can tell you anything right?”. Then a barrage of shocking stories spewed from her mouth about the goings on with middle school/high school kids.
Did you know how common it is for boys to text girls and ask for nude pictures of them? It’s happening and more girls are complying than I care to admit. In the last week I’ve heard of three girls that took pictures of themselves nude and/or in a sexual act and sent them on to “friends”. Those pictures were then passed around like hot potatoes. That’s just in one week!
Boys and girls are getting caught having sex at school.
Sexual acts are being filmed at school and posted on social networks to show just how cool it is.
Girls are “satisfying” boy in class, in the lunch room and I’m sure other places I haven’t heard about. It’s happening outside of school too. It’s happening at the movies, the park, friends homes, our homes, even church…yes church!
This isn’t just happening in the public school system and my daughters are part of a pretty amazing school district. When I was the cheer coach for a Christian private school I was told by the girls that it was going on there too. One even showed me texts a boy at the school had sent her requesting nude photos… a Christian boy at a Christian school.
I’m not okay with any of that.
What is going on in our society that kids are starting to think that this behavior is getting them the attention that they crave. A little girl doesn’t let her friends film her satisfying a boy at school because it’s cute, she does it because she is desperate for some sort of attention. Why? Where are we going wrong?
Kids are living in the now with very little consequences and it’s terrifying. We’ve become scared to punish their behavior or hold them accountable. We have become too worried about them liking us as their friend. We have accepted that broken homes are common. Our society is becoming more and more numb and accepting that this kind of behavior is the new normal.
It’s not okay.
It’s not normal.
It’s not God’s plan for our families and future generations.
It’s up to us to stand up for them, to teach them the truth no matter what is becoming acceptable around them. We also need to not be naive and think that it can’t happen to us and our children. These kids don’t need us to be their best friends, they need us to be their parents. It’s not cute when an elementary/middle school child has a status of “In a relationship”, “taken”, “single” or anything else that defines where they are with the opposite sex posted on their social network site.. I’ve been challenged as being wrong on this one saying that they are learning to form romantic relationships with the opposite sex that they will use in the future. I disagree. At that age they need to be learning how to form relationships as peers, not partners. It’s okay to wait. There’s no rush. Let them be kids because once they become adults there’s no going back.
Our oldest daughter is the victim of divorce. That’s not her fault, never has been never will be and it’s not her cross to carry. It has been her daddy’s and my number one goal in her life to never let it affect her. From day one we put our feelings aside and her feelings first. She has never heard a single negative thing about the other parents come from either of our mouths. As a matter of fact she hears us tell each other that we love each other and how thankful we are for each other every time we are all together. My first priority is her relationship with her dad, yes that relationship comes before my relationship with her. She will never have an empty space in her where her daddy should be. She will never be desperate for the affection of a father figure or a man who truly loves her. She has a daddy and step daddy who fill that need each and every day. That has been my responsibility to her since I chose divorce. As parents we have to stop using these children to manipulate and hurt the other parents. We have to stop using them to control our relationship with the other parent or gain some sort of power over the other parent. It’s causing a bigger problem in their lives than we are able to see. It’s filtering over to their social life, self-image, sexual exploration and desperation for a relationship and love. I understand if one of the parents is a harm to the child and there is a need to be separated. I am writing about divorce where both parents are capable and healthy for the child but the parents can’t seem to separate their own feelings from those that are truly best for the child. It’s not just divorced parents but also parents that are fighting in their marriage and using the kids against each other as well. These kids are not pawns and it is affecting them greatly. I’m sure little Stacy can testify to that.
Very early on in our daughters lives we start to pray for their husbands with them. We pray that he is respecting himself and others and that he is doing his best to stay pure. We pray that the devil is terrified of his faith and can’t get near him. We remind our daughter to respect their future spouses and themselves. We tell them that first kisses are best reserved for real love and that sex was designed by God to be one of our most amazing experiences but that experience is intended for our husbands only. If they wait for their husbands they will experience sex the way that God intended it to be and it will be wonderful. We also tell them that the devil uses sex probably more than anything to get us away from God.
We check our daughters phone daily. We have an open door policy, meaning I can open her door whenever I want to and if I feel like it I can go through everything in her room. We know who her friends are and who their parents are. We say no even when we don’t want to. We talk to her daily about whatever we can get out of her. We listen. We answer. We are not overbearing but it is our job to give her enough rope to venture, explore and learn but not enough to hang herself.
Not once in 13 years have we had to go through her room.
She’s never been grounded.
She’s never made a bad grade.
I’ve never been shocked by a single text or phone call in her phone.
I’ve never had to question her whereabouts or had to double-check her story.
She trust us and we trust her. She respects us and we respect her. We make it our goal to teach her to respect herself.
She’s not the perfect child (major teen brain these days) and we are by far the perfect parents but she knows without a doubt that she can tell us anything, I mean anything, and she will never get in trouble as long as she is honest with us. She also knows that no matter what she will get the truth from us and we will give her as many details as she wants.
We decided to not be embarrassed or scared to talk to her about anything. We’ve decided that we pray for those who we feel are on the wrong path and never put them down or repeat rumors that we’ve heard about them. We’ve decided to tell her the truth about sex before someone else tells her lies or tries to physically show her what it all means. We’ve decided that her trusting us, knowing that we support her and that she is in an open and safe home is more important than the fear and mild embarrassment of having to sit down and talk about the birds and the bees.