Teaching Sexual Responsibility to Children

 

By Ron Hindbaugh M.A.

 

In an age of sexual irresponsibility it is important that parents have a plan for teaching sexual responsibility, the concept the last generation called chastity and fidelity. Even though this is a subject that many parents would rather tip-toe around, it is an issue that must eventually be addressed and dealt with. The parent must recognize the importance of this responsibility and help their child can make a commitment to sexually purity. There is no doubt that a individual who makes such a decision will have a life that is satisfying and complete.

Parents must not avoid this issue. There are voices that would influence children to abandon traditional values of chastity and fidelity. Therefore, parents must provide the foundational influence that will help their children make a commitment to sexual responsibility no matter how hard it is or even though pretending that others will do it may be a tempting idea. This article is designed to give some ideas to parents who decide that they need to help their children in this area and are willing to hit this issue head on.

The first idea a parent must have when addressing this subject is that it is important. Down through the ages it has been the wisdom of all civilized people that self control is necessary for an ordered society. (The word sex is actually the Greek Word for six. The commandment, “Though shalt not commit adultery,” in the original Greek was the sixth commandment.)

Do not abdicate your responsibility in this area. Parents are the best teachers of sexual fidelity and chastity. They can teach in a warm and loving way that avoids the sterile, factual, academic tone that permeates most academic discussions. When the parent is the teacher sexual knowledge can be taught in a personal way that creates mutual trust and forms an emotional bond between the parent and the child that is lasting and important.

Secondly parents must give up the idea that sex is bad. The underlying philosophy that parents need to keep in mind, as they teach sexual virtue, chastity, and sexual abstinence, is the child's sexuality is too beautiful and too good to be given or used or thought of loosely or without commitment. A child's sexuality should be given the same attention that is given any other aspect of their training where commitment and responsibility is important.

It is also important for parents to be aware that the opposite view of sex can be very harmful to a child. The view that sex is dirty or evil should be avoided and countered at every opportunity. Sexuality is the power to create. A child should learn to reverence this great power, not see it as something evil or bad.

An equally damming point of view, predominate in the world today, is that we are nothing more they animals. This leads to the next conclusion which is, “If it feels good, do it.” Counter this simplistic idea with the ennobling idea that we are intelligent beings who have the capacity to reason, choose, and make decisions rather then to be controlled by instinct.

Thirdly, recognize that at an early age children can be taught about sexual body parts and functions at the same time they are taught other body parts. Answering questions in a manner that takes into consideration the child’s age and maturity is also important. Any questions that a parent feels a child is not ready for can be postponed by giving the child the information they need at their current level of understanding. For instance, if a three or four year old asks where babies come from you may say, “From a special nest inside mommy’s tummy.”

As a child grows up modesty can best be taught by example and discussions. Appropriate physical affection is also taught by giving lots of appropriate hugs. Just the opposite is true. Lots of hitting and inappropriate touches lead the child to believe that part of a relationship is control and forceful touch.

When your feel your child is ready usually about eight years old, sit down with your child and discuss some basic information about their sexuality. If you wait longer you run the risk that your child will learn of reproduction and sex in a silly and negative manner. The perspective they get about sex will be from other children not from you. Eight years old is a naturally curious age when children understand in a sweet, unpretentious way. Cover at least the following points.

·  The natural attraction of men and women is normal.

·  Sexual intercourse is a way that a man and a woman express love and commitment.

·  Assure that your child understands the process by which sperm fertilizes an egg and an embryo develops. How much detail you use depends on what information you feel your child is ready for or has been exposed to.

·  Stress the fact that the sexual power they have needs to be used responsibly and you will be there to guide them as they learn to use this power.

·  Stress the fact that their sexuality is a good thing. But, like all good things, it can be used to harm or hurt others. (A car is good thing but can be misused and cause death if not used responsibly.) Give your children guidelines and rules. Let them know that the rules you establish are designed to help them use their sexual powers responsibly and to make sure others do not hurt them and that they do not hurt others.

·  Explain to your child that he/she will hear some kids talking about sex as if it were dirty or silly. Help them to understand that if this occurs it is just because the other children do not understand sexual things the way they do. Their parents may not have taken the time to help them understand the sacredness of sexual matters.

With your help, your child will eventually understand that responsible sexuality is essential for a happy life. The sexual capacity he or she possesses is the capacity that is the most godlike of any power a person possess. It is the power to create a new life. Because the power to create involves more than one’s self it must be used unselfishly and with deep reverence for the partner involved. The sexual capacity your child has can bring them great joy or deep despair depending on how they learn to use this great power. Your influence in this area can help them find this happiness and live life as a sexually responsibly person.