Sunday, April 11, 2010

"The" Talk with your kids...have you had it?

This week we were so pleased to have been able to go hear a wonderful speaker on a very delicate topic. Mary Flo Ridley is a "Mom Down the Street," as she calls herself, who offers wisdom on how to talk to our children about God's design for sex before the world gets a hold of them and educates them!

The lecture was SO very good and if you ever get the opportunity to hear her speak, you should jump on it! It was SO good that I took two solid pages of notes, we bought the book, the CD and the DVD! This is serious business! But knowing that many of you may not be able to hear the lecture any time soon, I thought I'd share my notes with you.

"Sooner Than You Think"
Simple Answers to Challenging Questions

Your Message
What do we want our kids to know about sex (make the big list) and then narrow it down to one sentence. This sentence is like a banner. It is your message. It is the main idea and everything you say and teach your kids points back to this banner.
For example, your message might be, "Sex is a gift from God for marriage." This statement alone says so much when you break it down:
1) Sex is good and God approves
2) God planned sex so there must be a purpose for it
3) Sex is only for marriage
and many, many more things can be taken from this one message.
The more in love you are with your message, the more passionate you are, the more excited you are to share it.
"Because (insert your message here) then..."

Vocabulary
Be sure to use correct vocabulary with your kiddos. "Privates" is not the only word to use. Their "privates" should be kept "private" because it's all very "private!" Use words to label their anatomy (I'm kind of afraid to type those words here!!!!!) without giggling or turning red. She encouraged us to wow our kids with our knowledge and vocabulary. We want to set ourselves up from the very beginning as an authority on things of this topic. Tell them that you want to teach them the doctor names for parts of their body. Teach them to talk respectfully about these parts, never inappropriate. It's important to set yourself up as a loving authority.

Birth
It's good to teach our kids about birth...about their birth! Mommy does not have a baby in her "tummy." Great phrase to use here or anywhere on this topic..."By God's design..." By God's design He made a special place for the baby to grow inside mommy's tummy called a uterus. What if your kids haven't asked or inquired about birth or babies "how do they get in there?" kind of question...Then you can ask them, "Have you ever wondered...?"
Again here, wow them with your vocabulary.

Reproduction
Get your kids out into nature. Bring nature to them and make them aware of how all living things are made to reproduce. Plants, animals and humans all reproduce. Teach the basic principal of the seed and the egg.
The world sends a sensual message about sex. We want to play up God's design of sex and how we can marvel at the reproduction of a living thing. What an amazing God we serve!

Conception
The biggest question parents ask is when to talk about THIS with their kids. Every kid is different. A 1st born may be much more sheltered than a 4th born with a 17 year old big brother. You have to know your child and your situation.
We want to share the biology of sex with our kids, but not share the dangers or pleasures of sex before approximately age 10. Only basic biology of how the seed and egg meet is what is needed here. Everything else is, well..."private."

Continuing the Conversation
"I'm so glad you asked..." can be the phrase you're ready with whenever they ask questions. Make it so that they never remember a time when they couldn't talk with you about these topics. Remember, you are the authority in their mind. Continue to encourage them to talk freely with you, but reminding them that these are private family discussions and shouldn't be discussed with others or outside the home. Encourage them not to tell their friends as it is a private family discussion and his/her mommy will want to be the one to tell him/her.

I love the analogy she gave of a sponge. Your child is a sponge. We can't have the attitude of protecting their sponge and not letting one little drop of anything get into that sponge. If you do this, one day they will come across someone or something that will be the first to "fill up their sponge" with the message they have...the message that the world teaches about sex, not your prayerfully thought-through message. You may think you are protecting them, but really you are leaving them wide open for the world's message. We should be the first ones to fill up their sponge with the truth and then when they do encounter other messages they will just roll right off, as the sponge is already full. A full sponge of the right message is their protection!

One piece of encouragement that I found VERY practical is what they would say when they might chance upon an inappropriate advertisement or movie preview, for example. They would remove it from view immediately and then say, "I certainly hope they are married, but even if they are, what they are doing is private and no one should ever watch." This really emphasizes that overall message that you're trying to send.

Keep a running commentary with your kids. As they get older (4-6 grade) talk with them about what is going on in the culture, what you see on the magazine covers, celebrities lives (Tiger Woods right now, for example). Discuss these tough issues as they come up.

Next, flex the muscles of self-restraint. Don't feel bad for not allowing your kids to do whatever they want when they want to. "In our family we do things this way." This can be with having a toy or privilege that they really want. Delayed gratification. Ear piercing, sleepovers, growing up privileges that need to come on your time table and allow them the blessing of having to wait for something that is good. Do things in order. (see where this is going?)

Age 13-21 is a new stage. BEFORE they hit this age where puberty kicks in you should take them on a special weekend to talk with them about the next stage in their life that is coming up. Talk about their dreams for their life. Show them a time line of their whole life from birth to 90. Highlight the 13-21 and tell them that this is the age you want to discuss specifically. Talk about particular decisions in life and what the ramifications of certain decisions might be. Talk about how certain decisions might effect the dreams that they have for their life. Talk VERY candidly about issues and struggles they will face in these nearing years (I definitely won't be typing those things here). Once they hit puberty, little drops of wisdom here and there are usually better received than big talks..."You know, it would probably be a good idea to...or not to..."

I loved learning what just a "mom down the street" had to say about this topic. It truly was like a wise woman was sharing her pearls of wisdom with us. Just what we needed to hear. If you want to learn more...Mary Flo has a blog!

Visit her at: maryfloblog.com
Website: www.maryflo.org

After all ladies...these conversations need to happen "sooner than you think!!!!"

5 comments:

Tricia Lynch said...

Thank you so much for this Tamra. I think the reason this topic is so scary for most parents (I know it is for me!) is not only that it is undeniable evidence that your baby is growing up - but also we don't want to inadvertently give the wrong message or a message we did not intend. Your notes provide a wonderful starting place to prepare yourself to fill your little sponges with the best possible message about this beautiful gift. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Good timing. Last night our 5 year old mentioned she didn't know babies grew in tummies (as she's watching mine grow). I could see her brain thinking/worrying that one might end up in her tummy on accident. :) Same kid is also excited about having a boy b/c she's never seen a "boy part". Nice. Got me thinking about all these things...
Joanna

Julie said...

This is wonderful, Tamra! Thank you so much for posting this!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to type this! I SO appreciate it. Would you mind if I posted your info on my blog?

Amber

Gabrielle said...

Thank you! We are oh so close to this topic, and I keep seeing how long the answer "God put it there" or "that's how God made it" will work...and I know it's not long. And those suggestions and words of wisdom are wonderful, I will re-read a few more times!