Archive for Sex Talk

Under the influence?

Are you curious about who or what has the power to influence your children? Is it the back of the cereal box? the latest video game? The newest ap?

According to research, that answer depends on the age of your child. From ages 0-7 parents have the strongest influence, from 7-11 teachers and coaches, and from 11-16 their peers. This makes sense because as their world widens, they are met with forces outside of the home that have new and different ideas that sometimes reinforce what was taught at home and sometimes challenge them.

But what about subjects that are never taught at home?

Topics that are left OUT at home are left UP to others. Where there is a void of influence at home, it will be taken up by the culture at large.

I encourage parents to think about a sponge being in the mind of their children. It’s up to parents to either fill that sponge with the ideas about their sexuality that the parents want them to have, or else their children will absorb whatever they may pick up on the playground, or the next click on the computer. I don’t say this to frighten parents, but to open them up to the great opportunity that is before them. Before the hormones kick in, before the culture has it’s turn, you can have the power of the first impression.You have the chance to fill the sponge…drop by drop!

If you need some encouraging resources, please go to www.maryflo.org

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Summer Time Homework

Ahhh…it’s summer!

A change of seasons brings a change of schedules and routines. Maybe you can sleep a little later, maybe you have to get up earlier to beat the heat and make swimming lessons on time. But whatever the case, summer is usually a change for young children and their parents. If you have school age children, then it’s nice to know you can stop asking  them if they have any homework to do.

That question gets so old.

YOU, however, are not off the hook, and as your friend I may need to remind you of a few homework assignments that are due by Labor Day!

1. We’ll start with your writing assignment. Some of you have already turned yours in, but a few of you still need to write your “message”.  You need to answer  the question, “What do I want my children to know about sex if they are growing up in my family?” One sentence only. Memorize for future conversations with your children.

2. There will be a vocabulary quiz each Friday. Be sure you are using respectful words when you talk about bodies, and minus ten if you only use “wingy-wangy-words” for body parts. I’m sure you will all get A’s on this.

3.  Take your children to Farmer’s Market and find something you have never eaten before…give it a try. While you’re at it you can get extra credit for finding time to talk about the seeds of that fruit or vegggie, and if you actually plant the seeds and grow something in the back yard you can go to the head of the class. Make keen observations about the fact that there are seeds and eggs inside of all living things.

Don’t you love Field Trips? Good, because here’s  another one.

4.  Visit a family with a newborn baby (they will let you come if you bring them dinner!), then engage your child in a conversation about babies as you drive home. Topics can range from why we wash our hands before we touch babies to who the baby looks like, but you will get bonus points if you talk about birth or conception in any way. Remember, just the most basic biology and your values.

5.  Speaking of biology…you might want to check out a resource at www.maryflo.org. The book is Questions Kids Ask About Sex, and it will meet your Biology requirement for all the information you will need to answer those questions. My Simple Truths resources are also available on that website, and they will suite every learning style.

That just about does it, but  let’s review:

Your message, vocabulary, birth, reproduction, conception.  It’s going to be quite a summer!

Just don’t let the dog eat your homework.

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A strong foundation

On my walk this morning, I came across some men laying the foundation for a new house in our neighborhood. It made me think about this important but completely un-glamorous part of a home.

Cement, wood frames, steel rods.

Not too exciting, but if you mess up the foundation, all of the pretty decorative tiles in the bathroom might come tumbling down. The expensive curtains don’t hang straight either.

Whenever we begin something important, we must start with a solid foundation.

That is the purpose of the “Message”. If you have been to one of my talks you hear me stress the importance of your message to your kids. Your message is the one sentence answer to this question, “What DO I want my children to know about sex if they grow up in my home?”  The answer to that question is foundational to all of the conversations that you have with your children. Not only your conversations, but your actions and reactions to this subject.

When our children were growing up, we wanted them to know this: Sex is a Gift from God for Marriage. They are now 29, 26, and 22 years old, and we still hope they understand this as they go through the rest of their life.

Consider carefully what message you send. Will it stand the test of time? Is it positive? Where will it lead your children? Do you believe it?

As you set the forms to pour the cement, as you place the iron rods in the wet cement, you may not feel as if you are doing anything very important….but what you are doing is far more important than the fellow hanging the beautiful chandelier. 

The security of that fragile thing of beauty is hanging on your work.

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Seeds and Eggs

OK…this is it….your perfect chance…the table is set.

All creation is screaming at you, and all you have to do is notice.

Notice the nests, the swelling buds just ready to burst. Notice the new life and talk about it!

Get yourself to the farmer’s market or the grocery store and buy a few packets of seeds…any kind will do. Start digging in the dirt and jump into a conversation about new life. Who makes it, how it happens for all living things. Be amazed. Look as closely as you can at every detail.

Does it get any easier than now??!!

Go for it. Explain the pattern of seeds and eggs in every living thing…it will come in handy later.

If you still find yourself tongue-tied, and you live ANYWHERE  close to Dallas, get yourself to the Dallas Arboretum, and it will practically speak for you!

Of course, back yard beauty is also amazing!

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A hard life.

Earlier this year I met a single mom with 6 young children. None of their dads are around.

I think about her a lot.

 Her life is hard, and will continue to be hard.

She came up to me after my workshop, looking tired but hopeful for some morsel of advice about how to point her children in the right direction. She wants something different and better for them than what she has experienced. I wanted to hug her and wished I could somehow fix things, but instead I asked her to sit down, and listened to her story for a while. Among  MANY other things she is frightened by the messages she is finding on her 6th grade daughter’s phone.

All I could say was:  Pray. Keep talking. Keep listening. Stay involved.

When we are frightened, when our children seem out of control, when the concerns of our hearts seem overwhelming, there is no other remedy that I know of but to turn to the Lord. He is the only One who has Light and Hope and is able to redeem these situations.

Talk to God about your kids, talk to your kids about God. Point to His design.

I can’t give you her name, but I ask for your prayers for her and her family tonight.

She  sheepishly asked if it was OK that she had looked at her daughter’s text messages.

I put my arm around her and said that it was.

Don’t we need to know what our children are facing?

Tough stuff.

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Protecting the Innocent

Had lunch last week with some friends who are young mothers and each had been to my workshop, Sooner Than You Think

Wondering if they had  implemented what they had learned, I asked, “Now that you’ve heard HOW to talk to your kids about sex, have you actually done it?” I was glad to hear that 3 out of the 4 had taken the steps to talk to their children, and had felt confident in doing so.

The mother who had not spoken to her children said, ” Here’s the deal… I WANT to talk to my son, and I feel like I finally  have the
tools to do that,  but I just don’t want to take away his innocence!”

Totally understandable.

But then, thankfully, Christy spoke up, “I find the beauty of this strategy of starting early is that it actually PROTECTS their innocence. We  know our children have heard the facts from us, and
we have told them that sex is designed by God. I really feel like this has protected their curious minds from accepting what they might
hear out in the world. What we have said is their FIRST impression, and also their protection.”

None of us will do this sex-talk thing perfectly, but protecting our children by giving them our own thoughts and facts on the subject is a great motivation to make a stab at it.

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Healthy, Junk, or Poison?

What did your kids eat today?  Some whole grain goodness wrapped up in a Cheerio? How much do we love it when they ask for a second helping of brocoli?  If our children are picky eaters and will only eat mac and cheese it stresses us out a bit. We want them to get all the nutrients of a balanced diet.

It’s OK if they have the occasional junk food…the chips, soft drinks, pizza, sugar cereal. Everyone enjoys those treats. But all in all, as parents we oversee the menu for the week and do our best to insure that what we offer is as healthy as possible.  At least we try.

Now let’s think about what their brains are taking in over the airwaves each week. How much of what they consume is healthy tv? How much is junk?

One thing we would never let our children put in their mouths is poison! We lock it up, and panic at the thought that they might accidentally ingest a toxin that could really harm them. There may not be a skull and crossbones on some of the tv shows, movies, or video games that are out there, but maybe there should be. When you consider what devastation can come from a steady diet of the programming that Hollywood is cooking up.

The problem is that they flavor it with  a cup of humor, two tablespoons of great acting, and a dash of pizzaz. We hardly know we’re swallowing anything objectionable.

I know, I know.  I may sound like a downer…but should small children watch Glee? Modern Family? even old re-runs of Friends? What are they learning? Is it contrary to your values? Then consider taking it OFF the menu. It may be a sacrifice for you. It’s certainly your decision, but be sure you ARE deciding. Some of the attitudes our children will pick up about sex haven’t come directly from you, but indirectly through the tv and movies that are consumed under your care.

What one person considers healthy, fine, or fun, another thinks is awful. We all have different taste buds when it comes to what we watch. I’m not judging, just encouraging you to consider what’s best for those growing minds and hearts!

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