The other day I was asked by one of my colleagues a very important question that’s on the minds of any good parent. She wanted to know when she should talk to her kids about sex and what she should say. Even more, she asked me how she could address this topic in such a way that she could begin to foster a healthy view of bodies and sexuality as she was not afforded this positive outlook herself. She is an excellent mother!
I rejoice at hearing her question echoed in the voices of many other LDS parents wishing to be transitional figures in their families lives. For far too long negative information, misinformation, no information, and non-doctrine driven messages have been fueling communication from parent to child for generations in our LDS culture. Now I’ve heard stories of exceptional parents that have not fit this mold, but most often the stories are far from healthy.
We as members of the LDS church have a stronger need to be open with our children and send correct ongoing messages for a number of reasons. First, the LDS population is at the onset of a new cultural narrative surrounding sex. More voices are being sex positive and promoting. It’s truly an amazing time to be LDS. To fully bring about this movement and cultural paradigm shift the culture needs our voices and the voices of our children to overhaul how our culture thinks, feels, and communicates about sex.
Second, we have a clear picture about our Godly nature and heritage. A crucial part of that lies in us getting bodies and having experiences in our bodies. We know that we are created in the image of God. It appears as though Heavenly Father has a plan for us that includes fundamentally having and using all of our God given body parts. Sexual expression foundationally bonds and attaches us to our eternal companion.
Third, who better to teach our children than their parents. Your kids will be taught about bodies and sexuality from someone. In this technological era it is undoubtedly going to occur. We have seen historically that no information or limited information gives rise to some pretty serious sexual issues, but I don’t think many of us are aware or prepared for what is to come if we leave the educating up to peers and whatever our kids find online.
The answer to my colleagues question is now! Start talking to your children about their bodies and sexuality today. Don’t dodge questions. Stay age appropriate. Find natural moments to infuse their understanding with sex and body positive messages that link back to our Godly heritage. Formal discussions communicate messages that might make it hard for children to open up as a big deal was made about this topic. The new “talk” is ongoing not a once or twice occurrence. It may be weekly, monthly, or very from kid to kid and time period.
The following are amazing links to age appropriate talk.