Q&A: Talking about sexuality with our first child

Question:

Our first child (a daughter) is just six months old, and my wife and I are already dreading the inevitable “birds and bees” discussions. Do you have any advice on how to handle this – eventually?

Answer: Marriage and sex – in that order – are among the most beautiful gifts humanity has been given. Unfortunately, children don’t naturally understand that, thanks to rampant confusion in our society about sexuality and marriage. That’s why it’s up to mums and dads to teach them. 

If you want your children to develop healthy attitudes toward sex, there are two things you need to do. Number one, start talking. And number two, demonstrate for your children how to honouring marriage.

Let’s start with talking. We’re referring to age-appropriate discussions about sex that begin in toddlerhood and continue through adolescence. Create moments of open dialogue where you can offer candid answers to your child’s questions. Of course, honest conversations like this require parents secure enough in their sexuality to say, “I had those same feelings when I was your age. We all do. It’s normal.”

And when we speak of “honouring marriage,” we mean much more than telling children to save sex for marriage. We’re talking about preparing them for a great marriage, just as we prepare them for college or a career – intentionally and proactively. How do you do that?  By modelling a loving relationship yourself.

Children can learn what healthy sexuality in the context of a thriving marriage looks like. But it all starts with parents who understand it themselves and model how to live together with love, loyalty, and trust. To help you with that, explore our Resources.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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