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TALKING SEX BY THE BOOK GIVING KIDS A BIBLE-BASED VIEW OF IDENTITY, RELATIONSHIPS AND SEXUALITY

PATRICIA WEERAKOON


CONTENTS

Why you need to have this talk

XI

PART 1

1

Chapter 1—Parenting principles Parenting and relationships Parenting and marriage Parenting and godliness Parenting and servanthood Perfect parenting?

6 8 10 13 15 17

Chapter 2—Parenting styles 18 Affection 20 Affirmation 23 Advice 26 Authority 29 Accountability 31 Chapter 3—Roadblocks to parental sex education Personal discomfort

35 36

Contents

Introduction 2

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Talking Sex by the Book

Poor personal attitudes regarding the goodness of sex and sexuality 36 Belief of childhood innocence 37 Belief that talking to children about sex will encourage experimentation 38 Thinking it best to wait until the child starts the conversation 39 Belief that ‘other parents and teachers will think I am weird’ 40 Inability to find the right time to talk 40 Lack of specific knowledge 41 Skills in communicating with children 42 Maintain closeness and comfort 43 Avoid sabotaging communication 44 When you are stuck 45

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PART 2

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Introduction

48

Chapter 4—The developing body 51 Introduction 51 Sources of identity: Implications for development and body image 53 The body as a source of identity 53 Sex as a source of identity 54 A better source of identity 55 Age-appropriate applications 57 Under 5 years 57 Be prepared 58 What can you do? 58 5 to 10 years 59 Be prepared 59 What can you do? 60 10 to 14 years: Tweenagers 63 Be prepared 63


64 68 68 69 77 78 78 79 79 80 80 80 82 82 82 84 84 85 91

Chapter 5—The developing brain 92 Introduction 92 Pornography 96 What happens in the brain? 96 Can the changes be reversed? 98 How can Christian parents help children live a life of purity in a pornified world? 98 Age-appropriate applications 99 Under 5 years 99 Be prepared 99 What can you do? 99 5 to 10 years 100 Be prepared 100 What can you do? 101

Contents

What can you do? Over 15 years: Teens and beyond Be prepared What can you do? Created Male and Female Age-appropriate applications Under 5 years Be prepared What can you do? 5 to 10 years Be prepared What can you do? 10 to 14: Tweenagers Be prepared What can you do? Over 15 years: Teens and beyond Be prepared What can you do? Take-away points

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Talking Sex by the Book

10 to 14 years: Tweenagers Be prepared What can you do? Over 15 years: Teens and beyond Be prepared What can you do? Conclusion

VIII

103 103 103 107 107 108 114

Chapter 6—Desire, love and intimacy 115 Introduction 115 The science of sex 115 Cultural context 116 God’s word on sex and relationships 117 How do we apply this in our parenting? 120 Age-appropriate applications 121 Under 5 years 122 Be prepared 122 What can you do? 123 God’s purpose for sex and relationships 124 Body and identity 124 Bodies: Where babies come from 125 Feelings, friendship and love 125 Self-touch 126 Tips for parenting toddlers 127 5 to 10 years 127 Be prepared 127 What can you do? 129 Marriage: God’s purpose for sex and relationships 131 Body and identity 132 Bodies: Sexual function at puberty 133 Feelings, friendship and love 133 Self-touch 134 Talking technology 135 Tips for parenting primary-schoolers 136


HOT TOPICS FOR TEENS

136 137 138 139 140 140 142 144 144 144 145 147 149 151 153 156 161 161 161 163 165

Introduction 166 Where in the Bible does it say that sex is for marriage only? 167 If two people love each other, isn’t it natural for them to have sex? 167 How do I know I am in love? Or is it just lust? 167 How do I know that someone is the one for me? What should I be looking for? 172 How do I choose whom to date? Should I wait for my soulmate? 172 What if I fall in love with someone who isn’t a Christian? 172 How far is too far when dating? 172

Contents

10 to 14 years: Tweenagers Be prepared What can you do? God’s purpose for sex and relationships: Basic biblical sexual ethics Body and identity Feelings, friendship and love Self-touch: Masturbation Talking technology Tips for parenting tweenagers Over 15 years: Teens and beyond Unique challenges of teenage Be prepared What can you do? Biblical sexual ethics Boundaries Dating and mating Consent, contraception and sexually transmitted infections Talking technology Self touch: Masturbation Tips for parenting teenagers

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What should I do with sexual urges that can’t really be expressed in a godly way? How do I stop being tempted to think sexual thoughts? Why would God make sex so pleasurable if it’s something he wants us to save for one person? Mum, Dad, I was out at a party and I had sex. Will God forgive me? If God has made us with same-sex desires, doesn’t it mean we should act on these? Why is this a sin? If two people of the same sex love each other, isn’t it unloving to tell them to not have sex or get married? Does God hate gay people? One of my friends has come out as a lesbian/gay. Should I stay friends? What if she/he comes on to me? Mum, Dad, I think I’m trans. What should I do? What should I do if a friend shows me porn? One of the girls in class showed us pornography on her phone. It was weird. How can I get it out of my head? Dad, Mum, how do I stop watching porn? APPENDIX: CYBERSMART PARENTING

177 177 177 177 183 183 183 183 188 193 193 193 195

Introduction 196 Parenting iGen

197

Social media literacy

199

Social media mentoring External controls Readiness for devices and social media Parental controls Internal controls

201 201 201 203 204


• ‘My six-year-old son keeps touching his genitals.’ • ‘My ten-year-old daughter was shown an emoji of oral sex in school.’ • ‘Boys in the school bus showed my nine-year-old son pornographic videos. He came home crying.’ • ‘My little girl came home from school terrified. Her teacher had told her that she can be a boy or a girl. She wants me to take her to the doctor to find out if she is a girl. She is six years old.’ • ‘My 13-year-old daughter showed me a text from a girlfriend where she asked my daughter if she had ever been kissed and invited her to try it with her.’ • ‘My six-year-old daughter was told by her 13-year-old cousin that her parents had sex. I don’t think either of them have any idea what sex is!’ • ‘My 15-year-old daughter has decided that she is transgender and wants to be a boy.’ These are real-life scenarios. Do one or more of these sound familiar to you? Maybe you have other stories to share? Are you a parent who wants to teach your children about sex but feels unprepared and

Why you need to have this talk

WHY YOU NEED TO HAVE THIS TALK

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anxious? Do you worry that talking to children about sex will whet their appetite and make them want to ‘do it’? Children today are the most connected, socially aware, advertisedto and sexualised generation that ever walked planet earth. Many of the parents I speak to are struggling to know how best to communicate with their children and keep up with the challenges they are facing, particularly in the areas of sexuality and the cyberworld. You may be one of these. But the conversation has to happen. Avoiding it will make your children seek information elsewhere. Ignorance is not an option. This is why I have written this book. It is a book for all ages and all types of people involved in parenting. It is for biological parents and adoptive parents, foster parents and grandparents. It is for single and married aunties and uncles who play a role in parenting. But there is more. Every member of the church has a part to play in nurturing the children in the church family, so if you belong to a church, this book is for you too. In fact, this is a book for everyone. This book is about a unique component of parenting. It is about nurturing children in God’s truth of sex, identity, marriage, intimacy and relationship. It is about giving them a roadmap based on God’s word and the Bible to navigate the rocky terrain of a sexualised cyberworld. You may not realise it but when it comes to sex, intimacy and relationships, both what you say and how you behave matter to children. The transfer of knowledge, beliefs and values occurs in intentional ways when parents, school or church speak directly to children from a very young age. However, children also learn in non-intentional ways from the behaviour and role-modelling of parents, siblings and significant others including those of the church family. This latter process of sexual socialisation is easily neglected. This book gives you Bible-based guidelines based on current secular research. It is not a set of rules or recipes for successful sex education and parenting. Every child and family situation is unique, and you are


HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THIS BOOK

This book is not a textbook on parenting or sex education. It is a guide. I recommend that you read Part 1 as a whole and absorb the broad principles discussed. When reading Part 2, I recommend that you read

Why you need to have this talk

encouraged to read, discuss, digest and apply these principles as best suits your family. The book is presented in two parts. Part 1 gives you an overview of current guidelines on parenting and sex education in a biblical framework, and discusses the myths and misconceptions that act as obstacles to effective communication. Part 2 gives you the knowledge and skills to provide age-appropriate sex education that enables children to understand the science of sex and develop a value system based on God’s overarching plan for sex, gender and marriage. This will empower them to counter secular attitudes and behaviour, and gives them the skills they need to make wise choices. Each chapter in Part 2 will cover one topic. Each topic will be discussed in terms of the science and cultural norms. A biblical framework of the issues children face and the role of parents in helping and guiding them will be discussed in four age groups: less than 5 years (toddlers); 5–10 years (primary school); 10–14 years (tweenagers) and over 15 years (teenagers). In this part, you will find that I refer to three other books I have written: Teen Sex by the Book written for your older teens and young adult children; Growing Up by the Book for your tweenagers between 10 and 14 years and Birds and Bees by the Book, a book for you to read with your primary-schoolers. I refer to these books to give you a resource for communication with your children. Use the three books as a connection point for conversation.

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the Introduction section in each chapter and then concentrate on the particular age group of your child. You may find some sections repetitive, if you are reading this book from cover to cover. This is because this book is designed in order to make each section a standalone guide. At intervals you will come across Reflection boxes. I recommend that you take time to work through these. They allow you to think about your own values, beliefs and knowledge both individually and, if applicable, as a couple. Some Reflection boxes recommend activities that you could share in parenting group discussions. These will help you understand that you are not alone on this journey. You will also see Gospel opportunity points referred to throughout. These are there to prompt you to bring the conversations you’re having back to the core message of the Bible. They will enable your children to understand how these good principles you are pointing them to fit into God’s plan for their relationships and life.

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