Full question: How (when, where, who, what) did you teach your kids about sex and how old were they?
About half of the contributors talked about first introducing the topic of sex around age eight. Others talked about the relationship they had with their kids and that they kept discussions about things like this very open so that their kids felt comfortable asking them questions at any time - they don't remember having a formal discussion but talking about it in bits and pieces. One also mentioned the importance of teaching the value of sex to older children as they got married.
Kenneth (and Catherine)
We had a picture book that we reviewed with each of our children at about age eight that gave a basic explanation and answered their questions. I held a personal interview with each one on every fast day where we discussed what was happening in their lives and I reemphasized the importance of chastity and the capacity to create life which is what makes us most like our Heavenly Parents and how sacred the power of creation is. We opened our interview by having them pray as we knelt and I listened carefully to what they prayed about and then I closed our interview with a kneeling prayer and I prayed about the things I thought they might need at their age. Our children have never forgotten those special experiences together.
Marsha (and Richard)
This is a tough one for us. We grew up in an era where neither of our parents said anything to us about sex. Of course, we learned about it through the rumor mill but had very little, if any instruction. Therefore, we were not very savvy in our own approach. I did buy a little book. I believe the name was “You Were Smaller Than a Seed” and read it with the children after they were about 8 years old. It pretty well laid out the information in a simple, tasteful format. I have come to understand that 8 is the ideal age. Some had questions and opened the door to some discussions and others didn’t want to talk about it.
The one positive thing I did that I really believe in is to pass along advice to my daughters that my sister-in-law used to pass along to the girls in our family as they were married. Her advice is to give of yourself freely to your husband. Don’t use sex to control, punish or whatever, but just be loving and available as much as is possible.
I once explained to a young woman that just as you would not withhold food from a baby because he was fussy or grumpy or demanding, it was not advisable to withhold sex from a husband. It’s a basic need that must be filled and when it is, there is a bond that is created that is extra special. It’s so worth it!
Jane (and Samuel)
I began very early to teach the kids about sex. When my three year old first daughter came home and told me the boys next door told her to take her panties off I am sure we had a discussion about how your keep your underwear on. When I looked out the upstairs window and saw my four year old son comparing little erections with his neighbor friend it was a good thing I had to go downstairs to talk to them so I had time to catch my breath and speak calmly about keeping your pants up and bodies being special. So we taught them that no one touches your private parts (those covered by your bathing suit) except your mom or dad or a doctor or nurse to keep you clean and healthy. We had a book by Dr. Griffin and his wife called You Were Smaller Than a Dot that we used to help teach the process of how babies are made which we talked about when kids were in first or second grade. Since we had a new baby every couple of years for quite a while there were plenty of opportunities for talking about where babies come from with very little kids. I think we expressed how special and sacred it is to create a life and how important it is for every baby to come to a loving family. We taught modesty in dress. With a background in child development and medicine we felt it was important to be really open talking about sex...and I had taught sex education when I taught Jr High Home Economics. Guess you would have to ask our kids how well we actually did.
Marianne (and John)
Because we were taught very little about sex when we were young (except by friends), we were determined to share with our children before someone else did. We taught basic information and then answered questions as they came up. Sometimes I feel like we went a little overboard trying to be open and informative - our parents would have died! But our children always seemed to be comfortable to share and ask questions as developmental changes came in their lives.
Mary (and Robert)
The sex talk never really happened in our house. A while back we wrote about cuddle time with Dad and I believe that the answer to this question lies in that time frame. The idea of having the opportunity to talk casually with your children saves parents from having to stress about these kinds of big deals. The boys talked to their dad and I talked to our daughter and when the questions came up they were addressed right then.
Anna (and Gerry)
As we talked about this question this week, we realize it’s kind of hard to remember exactly when and what was taught on this subject. We probably didn’t teach enough, but simply put, we taught our children more about morality than we did about sex. I remember telling them to ask us rather than their friends when they had questions. Now, a number of years later, I realize that sexual issues are in front of children every day and a more direct approach is definitely in order. However, we would still take the approach that teaching about morality, modesty, and sacredness is still the basis of any sex education, with additional information as needed by each individual.
Rachel (and Bennett)
We were slow at teaching our kids about sex--it was basically just before they were married. That is totally impossible now. I'm sorry they have to be exposed to all the perversions of what could truly be a beautiful discussion of Heavenly Father's plan to bring children to this world.
Next week's question: About how many hours a week did you personally play with your toddler/preschool children (especially at your house with toys)? What kinds of play are the most memorable to you or do you think were most influential for your children?