How I Was Raised
I was raised in a strict “we don’t talk about taboo things here” house. I went through abstinence sex education during my time in Catholic middle school, but my take away from it was that sex is how babies come into the world. You have it once, you get pregnant and that is only when you are AT LEAST 25. We all know that is true … I have had two kids; I have ONLY had sex twice in my life, right? However, I have no memory of either of my parents ever ACTUALLY talking to me about sex.
So now I am a mom of two beautiful babes, one of whom will be a teenager in a month. All of a sudden, I have had this ah ha moment that I do not want my children raised in a home where sexual relationships are not talked about. We have always had an open relationship; we are a family of talkers and this is not going to stop now.
I was raised in the 1990s culture where abstinence was preached. Anyone else remember “True Love Waits” complete with a purity ring to promise yourself until marriage? I would love to poll people who promised themselves to marriage and “succeeded.” I get it; parents are terrified to walk the line between never ever even thinking about them having sex to teaching them how to have a healthy sexual relationship with their partner. Plus these are our CHILDREN we are talking about. We changed their diapers for goodness sake!! The last thing we want to think about is them being in a relationship of any sort. I promise it will happen though, and I am sure your thoughts will be something to the effect of “I am not ready.”
As parents, we are still trying to figure out how to have regular conversations with our son (and one day with our daughter … when she is older, of course) that show sex in a healthy way. We want to make sure they know that a healthy sexual relationship is a key component to a healthy romantic relationship. I need my son to know that there are risks to having a sexual relationship with someone that he does not know which can be both physically and emotionally harming.
We have had conversations with him about protecting himself. Protecting himself emotionally from the emotions that come along with choosing to have a sexual relationship, as well as protecting himself physically from sexually transmitted diseases. We have also had conversations with him about consent. Consent in a relationship, respect for partners, and respect for himself.
We don’t sugar coat or get creative with these conversations; we tell it how it is. We fill in the holes that are left out by society. There is no need to dance around the topic; it’s not a party.
For our family, we are still figuring out how our relationship with Jesus intersects with raising our children to make good decisions for their emotional, spiritual and physical health. However, I personally do not believe that preaching purity will keep them from making these decisions. I believe that keeping an open line of communication with our kids is the key.