Have you had the talk yet? You know the one I am talking about. I am not referring to the stork, some magical garden, or some easy to digest story for where babies come from. I am talking about the actual talk about where babies come from. Thanks to some of the kids R was hanging out near at church, we had to have this talk a few years ago. However, as she gets older I find that we are having to revisit the topic. This can be such a difficult topic to broach with your children. You have to be careful not to over or under share with your child while giving them a realistic perspective of sex. I thought today would be a good day to focus on some of the questions you need to ask as you set up your homeschool sex education program.
Homeschool Sex Education
Do you believe in abstinence?
This is one of the most important questions you will answer before picking the direction of your homeschool sex education. If you do believe in abstinence it will influence how you teach and how you prepare your child. There are many resources for teaching about abstinence. Many local pregnancy centers will have someone who does abstinence education. You may be able to reach out and join a class they are offering in the future. Some of these classes will be more detailed than others. make sure to ask what will be covered.
If you don’t believe in abstinence, what are your beliefs about when sex is appropriate for a person?
Figure these out before sitting down to talk to your child. It’s important to know exactly what matters to you so you can teach your child effectively.
For either belief, whether you are for or against abstinence, you will want to know why and be able to explain it simply.
For my children, I tell them sex is for marriage. I explain that it can be beautiful between two people but that there are some natural consequences to sex outside of marriage that they may not want to experience. We try to have a very honest conversation about why we believe abstinence is best and have openly discussed this with R who is 9.
How detailed do you plan to get?
The age of the child may have a lot to do with how much you cover. When R was 7 and asked me about sex, I asked her what she thought. If you have a child who is asking questions and you don’t think they are ready for the answer, ask them what they believe. Sometimes they are asking for a very basic explanation and you won’t need to go in depth.
Other children will need a more detailed explanation. For R, we started with the very basics to give her an idea of where babies come from. As she has gotten older we have talked more about sex and exactly what it is. She has an understanding of the reproductive process and we kept it pretty scientific.
You will have to look at where your child is developmentally and decide how much they need to know. Make sure you don’t shy away from the topic just because it’s uncomfortable. It’s important that your child feels comfortable talking with you about this.
Do you believe in birth control?
If you believe in birth control this will be something else you will need to include in your discussion with your child. This will tie in well with abstinence. You will have to decide whether you want your child aware of their birth control options. As someone who worked with teen moms for over 8 years, I would suggest giving a basic explanation of these. Your child may make a choice and you want them prepared to keep safe. However, this is between you and your child.
It’s important when teaching your child about birth control to teach them about the success rate of each one and how improper usage can impact that rate.
Will you be teaching about Sexually transmitted diseases?
This is a very important topic to cover. It is even more important if you do not believe in abstinence for your child. Make sure that you research the ones that are lifetime infections versus treatable ones. It is important that your child understands that sex can be dangerous due to certain diseases. Anything that starts with an H has no cure. That is important to help them understand.
Will you be teaching about rape/molestation?
According to rainn.org 1 in 6 American women are the victim of attempted or completed rape. 1 in 33 are men. With odds like that it is very important to teach your child about their ability to say no and ways to remove themselves from unsafe situations. We used our modesty barbies to talk about this at an early age and continued the discussion as she has grown older.
What example do you set?
If you are talking about modesty, abstinence before marriage, or other boundaries what examples are you setting? Your child will watch your choices to decide how they should behave. If you are a single parent and your child knows you have a partner while you are telling them not to, your advice may be ignored. Look at what you plan to teach and what you are doing. Do the two line up?
How open are you?
When I was younger my mom was an oversharer. We talked too openly about certain things in regards to sex. I am trying to find a more balanced approach with my two. They know about sex and what its purpose is. They have the freedom to ask questions if needed. My son actually asked me the other day how mermaids have sex… This led to a long discussion about whether they are mammals or not. It was quite the experience… Sit down and figure out exactly how open you are comfortable being with your child and communicate that when you speak to them about their sexuality.
What will you say about self-pleasuring?
This will come up at some point. You will need to decide what angle you will take with this. Do you believe it is a sin? Do you believe it is normal? What boundaries will there need to be? There are ways to discuss this without traumatizing your child.
I think that if you spend some time asking yourself some of these important questions you will be prepared when the time comes to talk about sex. Don’t let it overwhelm you. You can do this.
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