Which Parent Should Give the Sex Talk?

November 17, 2022

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It's no secret that sexuality is a tough topic for parents to broach with their kids. After all, it's not something that most of us feel comfortable talking about. How do we talk to kids about sex and sexuality, and when's the right time to do so? In this episode, Elizabeth Urbanowicz answers the question, "Do you think it is more valuable for a dad to have talks about sexuality with a son or is either parent just as valuable?"


Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.

Hello friends, and welcome to another episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast where we seek to equip you to get the kids God has placed in your care to carefully evaluate every idea they encounter so they can understand the truth of the biblical worldview. I'm your host, Elizabeth Urbanowicz, and I'm thrilled that you've joined me today for another episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast. Now, our question today says, "Do you think it is more valuable for a dad to have talks about sexuality with a son or is either parent just as valuable?" Great question. Well, both parents are valuable and needed in a child's life. It's a blessing for a child to have a mom and a dad present in his or her life. But this is an interesting question to think about talks about sex and sexuality. Now, the first thing I want to cover is just that sex should be talked about period, whether it's the mom or the dad, or both.

Children need to have talks about sex and sexuality at much younger ages than we may have thought so in the past. And part of this is just because our culture is so aggressive. It's impossible for us even to just turn on the computer or the TV or drive down the road, especially during the month of June where we're not being exposed to some form of sexual deviation. And it's really, really, really important that the first time our children have any concept of sex and sexuality, that it be coming from a biblical perspective and that it be something that is positive. Because if we want our children to understand that sex and sexuality are part of God's good design, we can't wait until there's a moment where they've been exposed to something and we have to back-pedal and explain why that thing is wrong when we haven't already built up the positive theological case for the goodness of God's design.

Recently in a webinar I recommended that the first sex talk actually happen when a child is three, and if not three, then four. And you may be thinking, "Oh my gosh, Elizabeth, are you kidding me? Three years old." I'm not saying you have to sit down and have a talk through all of the details and the mechanics and every single thing that you're going to share with your child one day about sex, but that it's so important that from a young age our children know that there's a difference between girls and boys, and that God designed us as sexed beings for a good purpose. That sex is not something that's dirty. It's not something that we should be ashamed of. It's not something that should just be talked about in whispers. It's not something that should be shared with everyone because it's a special thing just between a husband and a wife, but that our children understand that this is part of God's good design.

So we need to make sure that the first conversations that we have are not reactionary, but that they're actually proactive. This is a philosophy we take at Foundation Worldview for basically all things. I don't know if you're watching this podcast five, 10 years after I record it, maybe there will be a ton of comparative worldview resources on the market for elementary aged kids. And if there are, praise God for that. But one of the reasons that we decided to publish a curriculum for kids as young as eight, teaching them about competing ideologies, is because we know that by the age of eight, they are already exposed to competing ideologies. And there is available for Christian parents and pastors and educators to teach kids to evaluate the ideas that they encounter until they were in high school. And by the time kids are in high school, it's not too late to teach them to think well. But they've already had such deeply ingrained ways of thinking and they've been confronted with so many false ideas that by the time they're in high school, you have to do a lot of reformative work.

You have to do a lot of tearing down of faulty ways of thinking. Where what we wanted to do is we wanted to actually build up the positive foundation and teach kids, this is the biblical truth. These are what other world views teach. Let's compare and contrast them. What actually lines up with what we find in reality? Oh my goodness, it's what we find in scripture so that they were prepared to carefully evaluate every idea that they encounter from a very young age. And so this is what I'm recommending right now for having talks about sex and sexuality rather than waiting until we have a moment where we have to kind of back-pedal because they've just been exposed to something that does not align with God's good design or waiting until they've already had conversations and hushed whispers in the Sunday school classroom or out on the playground or in their school classroom where they've already been given misinformation.

We want to be that first person or the first people to set that stage and to help them to understand God's good design. In a webinar I did a while ago with my friend Hillary Morgan Ferrer, she talked about how there's this psychological phenomenon where whenever we hear an idea from someone, whoever we hear it from first, we view that person as the expert. And so if we're not the first ones to talk with our kids about sex and sexuality, whoever they hear this from, whether it's someone online, whether it's someone in person, whether it's a friend, no matter who it is, they're going to view that person as the expert. And so we want to make sure that we are the first ones to have these conversations with our kids. Now if you're thinking, "Oh my goodness, Elizabeth, I have no idea how to start these conversations. My child's already nine. That's six years after you've already recommended."

There's a great course, an online course out there called The Birds and the Bees. If you just Google Birds and Bees online course, it'll pop up. And it's just a course for parents explaining how to have these conversations with children ages one through 10. What are the different conversations that you need to have, what's an appropriate level of detail for a three year old versus a nine year old, what are the different ways you need to talk about this, when do you need to talk about this, how can you be proactive about conversations with an eight or nine year old about pornography without going to too much detail, but also making sure that you're protecting your children from what is predatory. So if you just search for that Birds and Bees course, it's a great resource for families to start thinking, "How do we have these conversations?"

Now, the question that I read initially was, do dads need to be the ones to have these conversations with their sons? If we start talking about sex and sexuality with our children at age three, they're not at an age yet where it's like they need to have a conversation with one parent over the other. Ideally, conversations about sex and sexuality would happen with both of the parents so that the child feels comfortable coming to either parent with questions about sex and sexuality. Now, once kids start to get older, especially as they're 11 on up, having these more in depth conversations with parents of the same sex can be very beneficial because a mom's perspective of sex and sexuality is going to be somewhat different than her husband's perspective. So having a father actually have these conversations with his son can be of great value. Having a mom have these conversations with her daughter can be of great value.

But if you're in a situation where you know might be a single parent, whether that's from divorce or from widowhood or just from other circumstances, don't think that God still can't use you to have this conversation with your child just because you're a different gender than they are. I guess with everything in our world, I should say, then you're a different biological sex than they are. So I would say if both spouses are believers and are walking with Jesus, having these conversations with both spouses is a real benefit so that children are comfortable talking with either parent about these things. And if that's just not possible, use what God has given you to have these conversations and also look for who are people who God has placed in your life that you can invite into your life. Not that these people have to have sex talks with your kids, but just so that they can see other men and women of God living faithfully for Jesus.

So if you're a single mom, what are men in your church that you could invite into your kids' lives? Doesn't mean you have to invite the man over by himself, invite a couple over just so that your boys can see a man of God and what it looks like for him to care for his wife and to care for his children. If you are a single dad, who's a couple from your church that you can invite over so that they can see a mom caring for her kids, or their aunts or uncles, your siblings, your parents, that you can invite into your kids' lives so that they can really play that role.

Now, another thing I want to address is sometimes when we think about having sex talks with our children, we can have a lot of anxiety over that. It's not a comfortable topic for us to talk about. And part of it is many of us, mom, if you're listening to this podcast, I know this was not you, you did a great job educating me when I was growing up, but many of us have not had these talks with our parents and we don't know what they look like.

Many of us might even be uncomfortable with the concept of sex and sexuality, even if you've been married for years. And if this is you, I would encourage you to seek out with your spouse some godly Christian counseling to talk through what is the purpose of the sexual relationship between a husband and a wife. And then just even talking about your relationship with your spouse and how can you use that relationship to honor God to strengthen your marriage. If that's something you don't really have an open communication with about your spouse, start that. Go to Christian counseling, start talking through this. And then as you become more comfortable having such conversations, then hopefully you'll be less uncomfortable having these conversations. Obviously they'll be in much less detail, but having these conversations with your children, and even if that discomfort never goes away, even if you remain very uncomfortable thinking about having these conversations with your children, I just want to encourage you to think of what is the consequence.

What is the price tag of not having these conversations with our kids? What's the price we're going to pay if their first encounter with the concept of sexuality is when they encounter a same sex couple kissing in the street? What is going to happen if their first or talk about gender or sexuality is when they see a man who is dressed like a woman in the store, or if they see that on an iPad, on YouTube, anywhere that they are. We don't want to have to do backpedaling before we have laid that positive foundation. And then also, if we don't have these conversations with our kids, there are so many Christian couples out there right now who are struggling in their sex life because of deep addictions to pornography. And many of these addictions were started when the person involved in that marriage was only 9, 10, 11 years old.

They stumbled across something online, they became curious, and it's just created this lifelong addiction that now they and their spouse are really struggling in their relationship. It just takes years to overcome an addiction like that, even with good counseling. So just think of, we might feel uncomfortable, but what is the price tag that the comfort comes with? If we just keep putting off these conversations, what is the price tag? And I would just say that price tag is way to high to avoid having these conversations with the children that God has placed in our care. So in answer to the question, both parents ideally are involved in talks about sex and sexuality with kids. If you need some guidance on that, check out the Birds and the Bees Course. It's a great resource just on how to have these conversations with your kids. Once kids get older, it can be great for dads to have more intense conversations with sons and for moms to have more intense conversations with daughters.

But if you're in a situation where that just isn't a possibility, you continue to have those conversations with your children and then think who are other people that you can bring into your life that can speak into your children as a man of God or as a woman of God? And just if you feel intimidated by having these conversations, just remember that the price tag of discomfort is a much, much smaller price tag than the price tag of our children stumbling across things that could lead to a life of enslavement. That's a wrap for this episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast. But as always, as we leave this time together, my prayer is that God would richly bless you as you continue to intentionally disciple the children that he has placed in your care. I'll see you next time.

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