Time for "The Talk"

Cues for sharing "the birds and the bees"

LET'S FACE IT. Most of us would rather face a root canal than talk to our kids about sex. It can be awkward, difficult, not to mention embarrassing. When should we give "the talk"? What should we say? How much information should we give out—and at what age? What if they don't want to talk about it? What if you don't know how to talk about it? And what if you have some guilt about your sexual past?

Take heart. Here are some guidelines to help you tackle this all-important parenting task.

Talk More Than Once
Don't make the mistake of having "the talk" once, then leaving your child to fill in the blanks as she matures. Your kid's growing up in a culture that bombards her with sex on every front. From videos, TV, movies, magazines, to pornography on the Internet, the list goes on. One talk will not suffice. You need frequent talks over a period of many years.

When you have the first talk with your child, keep it simple. Share facts and use proper terminology. Be sure to ask if she has any questions. Don't give more information than she needs. Reassure her you'll have many conversations about this as she grows and that you want her to feel free to ask you anything, anytime. No question is dumb.

In followup discussions, don't talk only about sex! That's part of the problem. Sex isn't an isolated issue, so be sure to discuss commitment, communication, choosing a mate, marriage, and having children.

Cummunicate the Positives
God loves sex! He created it for our mutual pleasure as well as for reproduction. God made us sexual beings, and the act of sexual intercourse is the most intimate expression of love between a husband and wife. Yet our culture often depicts sexuality as dirty, naughty, sleazy, kinky, exotic, or free-for-all. In a world that cheapens sex, we need to elevate it. Make sure you communicate its goodness, in the context of marriage, to your children.

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May 25

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