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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Birds + Bees + YOUR Kids: A Guide to Sharing Your Beliefs About Sexuality, Love, and Relationships

Toward the end of my pregnancy I started seeking resources for parenting. One of those was on how to talk to your children about sex, because I am a firm believer that sex education starts young. One of the mistakes parents make is that assuming sex ed is one conversation when your kid is old enough to understand; the commonly cited statistic is that more than 90% of children who are sexually abused know the abuser. Recently, due to the Larry Nassar abuse coming to light, we also have the statistic that is made clear: when children are abused, they have to tell, on average, seven times before they are believed. When children are taught that there is shame in their bodies, or that we don't talk about those things, it closes down the conversation and makes children feel embarrassed about things they should be sharing. 

So I turned to the book of faces, and I found Amy Lang's Birds+Bees+Kids page. It's an outstanding resource for how to talk to your kids about sex and their bodies, and I picked up her book, Birds + Bees + YOUR Kids which happened to be on Kindle Unlimited (yay!) for my husband and I to peruse. I was so impressed with how this book was written and structured that I decided to purchase it. As Amy guides you through the chapters on your own beliefs about sex, love, and intimacy, she asks you and your co-parents/guardians some tough questions that make you dig deep into what you believe about these topics and why. She starts with your values regarding sex, how you learned about sex, and what it means to be ready for sex. She then moves into some hard topics, including pregnancy, masturbation, STD's, and birth control. The third section is about puberty and adolescence, and the last two sections are about outside influences on your kids regarding sex and how to have conversations about all of this. 

This prompted my husband and I to have some talks we might not have otherwise. We are both very open to talking about sex and the topics around it, but these are things that just don't come up in regular conversation. I wanted to start these talks early and have them often so that they wouldn't feel new and that they would just be a part of our lives. I know that for me, the sex talk was quick and already at the end of my high school career. I was told that sex was bad and not what the Lord wanted, but no one ever really talked to me about my body. No one certainly ever spoke to me about how to make good decisions about sex that weren't mired in guilt. This, however, was progressive compared to my husband's upbringing, which in the Evangelical tradition taught a great deal of shame over the body and of sex. Both of these parenting choices affect us and our outlook on sex, and I don't want my children to grow up in a home where we aren't comfortable having real conversations about things that affect our physical and mental well-being. 

These chapters in Amy's book are well-structured and they ask deep and thoughtful questions that seem so simple at the outset but spark good conversation among parenting/guardian partners. It's so important to be on the same page, and this is what Amy gets through to her readers. She encourages you to write down the answers, but Hubby and I just talked about them. We took the book chapter by chapter, and while only time will tell, I do feel more equipped than I did before having this resource handy to deal with what comes. I'm glad I purchased this book to have as a resource for when I need it. 

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