Body changes and the-birds-and-the-bees...
Two potentially awkward speed bumps in the journey of parenting, or so I'm told.
The Hubs and I came from two completely different backgrounds for handling the delicate topics of hormones, body changes, sexuality, and purity. So, when faced with parenting in a hyper-sexualized society, we knew we had to find some common ground and face the task together. We determined early on that we wanted to be pro-active in this area of parenting rather than reactive. We wanted to be the first ones to introduce our children to certain topics in order that our kids could learn the true worth and value of sexuality according to Scripture instead of the world's fractured view of it.
(This post contains affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for full details.)
In our way of thinking, it would be best done through an on-going conversation, not a one-and-then-done talk.
On top of just the clinical WHAT and WHERE of sex ed, we knew we wanted to help our kids develop a Biblical view of their bodies, teach them that hormones and feelings are not bad or sinful, but God-designed, and ward off any unhealthy notions that sex was dirty or wrong. We wanted to paint sex as beautifully ordained by God for a husband and wife. In encouraging them towards purity, we knew we didn't want to just press for physical abstinence. While physical chastity is good, it is really only a small part of real purity before God. We wanted to help lead them to emotional purity as well.
Those were our plans...from the very beginning.
We've a long road yet before all of that is accomplished, but we've already begun pointing them all towards Biblical sexuality at each new age and stage.
Here's a list of the resources that have helped us learn and teach along the way.
The Talks: A Parent's Guide to Critical Conversations about Sex, Dating, and other Unmentionables- This is an excellent book to help parents navigate the tween, teen, and young adult years of parenting in a very sexual world. I love the author's position on sex and relationships. The list of questions he provides to "determine if this is someone you should marry" is worth the purchase price of the book alone, in my humble opinion anyway.
Preparing Your Son for Every Man's Battle- The author's of the critically acclaimed Every Man's Battle and Every Young Man's Battle series have put together a resource book for parents to help their sons prepare for sexual integrity.
The Boy's Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing up YOU- While there are many boy's body changing books on the market, most of them use toilet humor and crude innuendos assuming that boys need books soaked in grossology to capture their attention. This one is the rare exception. Please be aware that it is not a Christian book. But, as it mostly just addresses just the clinical side of puberty, it doesn't necessarily oppose a Christian worldview.
It's Great to be a Guy!- This book is both an informative guide and a devotional. It tackles puberty from a Christian perspective. And while it is humorous, it's not crass or inappropriate.
The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls- This is not written from a Christian perspective, but it is an excellent resource for introducing physical changes and basic hygiene to girls as young as 8.
The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls- The second book in the Care and Keeping series addresses the specific body and emotional changes of girls ten and older. Please note that there are some mildly graphic illustrations and diagrams in both books in this series that detail female body parts and the ins-and-outs of the menstrual cycle. Non of the images are inappropriate. But, you might not want to leave either one of these laying around your house.
The original Care and Keeping was a one volume book that addressed both younger and older girls. Should you come across an original edition at a garage sale or used book store, please be aware that your daughter may or may not be ready to read it in its entirety.
The Body Book- I actually do not care for the silly writing style in this book, but I do appreciate that it is written from a Christian world view. I'd recommend this book to those who would prefer a bit more discretion in illustrations. It is a black-and-white paperback and therefore has very few pictures.
Sex Ed & Purity
Learning About Sex Series
This is an exceptional series for kids ages 4-14 and up. Each book details a certain aspect of body changes, reproduction, sexuality, and purity and grows with your child. While age range recommendations have been provided for each book, be sure to use your own discretion in light of the maturity and personal needs of your children. Please note, the series was originally created to be used with both boys and girls, but the recent editions have divided the books into two different tracks, one for boys and one for girls. Should you come upon an older edition, be aware that the books will cover the body changes and sexuality of both genders. (The older series also has a more unifying look with similar covers and binding making them easier to store on a shelf together.)
Learning About Sex Series for Boys
Why Boys & Girls Are Different (ages 4-6)
Sex and the New You (ages 12-14)
Love, Sex, and God (ages 14 and up)
Learning About Sex Series for Girls
Why Boys & Girls Are Different (ages 4-6)
Other helpful resources
Consider the following, the runner-up section.
The "talk" doesn't have to be awkward. With a few helpful resources, you can create an on-going conversation to help steer your child towards a healthy view of Biblical sexuality.