Besides being a Sex Therapist (Kristin) and a Sex Educator (Alisha) we are both Moms trying our best to raise kids in this ever-changing world. We still have to answer the same questions all parents get and hope our kids make choices which will move them toward health and happiness.
Recently my (Alisha) oldest daughter and I were out to dinner enjoying some much-needed Mother/Daughter time. About halfway through the conversation my daughter looked at me and said, “Okay, Mom, I have a question for you.”
I braced myself for what might be coming.
Any parent out there knows that when a child makes that statement it’s time to put on your parent hat and get ready to hopefully share some words of wisdom or advice they’ll actually listen to.
“Alright,” she said, “I’m probably not going to have sex with my boyfriend, but I need to understand why, more than just ‘because God said not to’ or you said not to.”
And this is what parents need to understand. The playing field has changed. Kids want to understand more and be educated about sexuality, relationships, their bodies, and so forth. They get so much information from the internet and peers which can leave them confused and wondering. The more education they can get from you, the more your words will help guide them when making challenging decisions.
Here’s what I said to her:
“Tell me what you know about him. (She did) Okay, what questions are still unanswered? (She acknowledged there were many things she still didn’t know about him) Ok then, what you have to understand is that entering into a physical relationship too soon can be really distracting from the real issues of what’s going on between you. Sex can completely take over and make you feel like you have a better relationship than you in actuality do. Legitimate questions can go unanswered and/or made to seem less important because of the newness of sex. Six months or six years down the road you may find yourself in an unhealthy relationship because of all the things you overlooked due to having sex too soon.”
And then I waited while she thought…
The Mom in me was on pins and needles. The Sex Educator in me was curious.
She looked at me and said, “You know, you’re right. That is really important and I don’t want to get into some relationship which, in the long run, isn’t good for me. Thanks, Mom.”
Now, whether or not she actually follows that advice isn’t the point (although I hope she does). The point is being willing to have open and honest conversations with our kids about sex and relationships, no matter how uncomfortable or if the talk goes against your personal values. Staying approachable will allow your kids to look to you as they try and navigate their path.
Good luck and best wishes!
For more help, purchase our book Yes! You can Talk to Your Kids About Sex