Parenting & Sexuality

PARENTING & SEXUALITY: Be direct & plain

Sexuality milestones:

Remember: You are integral.

“As our children grow, they need information taught by parents more directly and plainly about what is and is not appropriate.  Parents need to teach children to avoid any pornographic photographs or stories… talk to them plainly about sex and the teaching of the gospel regarding chastity. Let this information come from parents in the home in an appropriate way.”

-Elder Ballard “Like a Flame Unquenchable”

How to teach your kids to have healthy sexuality:

It goes beyond abstinence.

Individuals who have remained abstinent can still struggle with sexuality in marriage.

The body and spirit combined represent the soul of a human and that unless the body and spirit together are united and perfected, true joy is not achievable – see D&C 93:33-35 & chart below.

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Official milestones:

  1. Young Children:
    • It is normal for very young kids to be interested in their bodies & to touch themselves
      • This is natural, it does not mean they’re perverted
      • Use distraction to stop, say “I know that feels nice, but how about we go outside.” or something similar
      • Respond in non-shaming ways
    • Explain to children how wonderful their bodies are and great it is that they work
    • Use correct names of body parts
  2. Older children:
    • May see sexual latency during early childhood
    • Puberty:
      • as early as 7 or 8 in girls, with first menarche at 12
      • as early as 9 or 10 in boys, with first spermarche at 14
      • Adolescents are prepared report much better experiences than those who are not.
    • Avoid object lessons – it is what it is
    • Avoid shaming

Pep talk to Kelbie:

DON’T WORRY, you can do it! 

You do not need to be perfectly sexually healthy to raise sexually healthy children.

It is never too late to improve. Guilt is not allowed.

Create a culture of openness:

Change: 

How – be approachable, open & non-reactive

ANSWER QUESTIONS

good parenting = more effective

bad parenting = less harmful when parent-child relationship is positive

BE INVOLVED, SET LIMITS, LISTEN

Things to try:

  • find time to spend with your child (one on one), do something they want to do
  • ask what you can do to improve your relationships with others – feedback

When –  often, not a single conversation

ANSWER QUESTIONS

proactivity = the key

strategies = cocooning – sheltering from any source outside the family that poses a threat to chastity

prearming – active attempts to socialize chastity by providing arming to combat conflicting messages, better than cocooning

TALK TO CHILDREN EARLY & OFTEN

Things to try:

  • a questions jar
  • have an FHE about sexuality
  • find a special time to talk about it with each kid individually
  • talk openly about it

Why – the emotional & spiritual parts of healthy sexuality

ANSWER QUESTIONS

why = the consequences emotionally, spiritually, and behaviorally of being unchaste

celebrate = the gift of sexuality and what it can be in the right circumstances & then teach our children how to be chaste until then

DO NOT FOCUS ON THE “DO NOT”

Things to try:

  • explain to teens why they have these feelings and where they come from, and that they are natural and normal
  • share with children your experiences growing up
  • build trust and openness
  • be patient

Issues or Concerns for Healthy Sexuality:

  • Talking about sexual wholeness & building a relationship of trust with my children
    • Building trust, a how to guide
      • Listen
      • Attune – read body cues too
      • Make eye contact
      • Respond
      • Keep promises
      • Tell the truth
      • Establish boundaries, consistency & routine
      • Be open
      • To read more about each of these click here.
    • Once you feel practiced in using these well, begin an open conversation about sexual wholeness when it feels right
    • Get dad involved – it has positive impact on sexual beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors
    • Be led by the Spirit (1 Nephi 4:6)
  • Explaining to children the church’s standards and beliefs
    •  Use For the Strength of the Youth
      • Which says: “The Lord’s standard regarding sexual purity is clear and unchanging. Do not have any sexual relations before marriage, and be completely faithful to your spouse after marriage.” (see more on this here)
    • Check out this talk by Jeffrey R. Holland

      Surely God’s trust in us to respect this future-forming gift is awesomely staggering. We who may not be able to repair a bicycle nor assemble an average jigsaw puzzle–yet with all our weaknesses and imperfections, we carry this procreative power that makes us very much like God in at least one grand and majestic way.

    • LDS Parent’s Guide – one final resource, even broken up into ages!
  • Risks of not teaching healthy sexuality
    • Teens of parents who don’t talk about sexuality will find it from another source – more likely to conform to peer norms
    • Educating teens about healthy sexuality does not lead to them becoming sexually active
    • Religious teens are more likely to experience STDs and unplanned pregnancy because they are less educated

Citations:

L. Walker, Lecture 20: Healthy Sexuality, SFL 240, Winter 2017.

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