Society & Culture:Relationships
Episode 11- Talking to Your Kids - Ages 6-10
In this episode, Dr. Gilbert discusses how to talk with your children aged 6-10 about issues of sexuality. Between the ages of six and ten most kids are looking for answers and they are ready for those to be blunt and explicit. Give it to them. Be honest. Be casual, but remember that in every response you are helping them form their belief system about sex, sexuality, gender, and their bodies.
Your silence preaches. Also, the world is speaking loud and clear through movies, music, online videos and social media about its beliefs on these things. My recommendation is to begin at birth and have constant, continual micro-conversations so that your kids can say, “My parents were always talking to me about sex.”
During this age range, our children are absorbing the culture of the home, as well as the world around them. They begin to absorb the energy of a home at birth, but somewhere around age six it becomes more about the culture. Their vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. Their opinions and personalities are not only being formed, but already becoming more solidified. Therefore, we must stay ahead of the curve regarding micro-conversations on sex, sexuality, gender and the various other issues they will soon face.
The average age a child in America views pornography is nine. Most of the parents I talk to believe that their child is the exception. I then talk to their children in college and those parents were wrong. Their children were normal, but were hiding behind shame, afraid of being exposed, living in fear and full of desire gone mad which is lust.
You MUST be the one to initiate dialogue, asking questions of your own. Keep the conversations short though so you can have them often—micro-conversations.
Be a constant in your child’s life.There are key areas that ought to be covered during this formative stage when most parents would prefer to ignore the fact they are soon to be young men and women.
Continue using the correct terms. It is very important that a discussion about masturbation occurs during this time of life. Are they ready? Prepare them for what they are about to feel, desire, and potentially obsess about if they are not careful.
Focus on a more thorough understanding of anatomy— as well as what is about to change in their bodies and those of the opposite gender.
Prepare them to face the onslaught of sexual images they will notice at the check-out stands, in entertainment, and people they pass on the street. Be sure not to shame covered body parts. It is about dignity and modesty. These are not “dirty” words.
Establish a foundation regarding dating now. Set the stage at home by discussing dating, the opposite sex, and attraction ahead of time — before they are even interested. Plant the seeds of understanding that other families and friends will expect a young boy or girl to date by thirteen or fourteen, but you want something different for them — something better — and this is why. Explain your ETHOS when they are still willing to listen to you and pray that they will take it in and adopt it as their own — for their success, health and future well-being.
Teach them about abuse more thoroughly — explain the real world. Help them see that there is evil in the world and that not everyone has their best interest at heart. Let them know that they have the right and power to choose, to say “NO,” and to stand up for themselves. Prepare them to fight back.
Help them to learn coping skills for disappointment and rejection. It is much better for them to face small hurts now and learn coping skills than to protect them from consequences and render them incapable of facing bigger hurts later in life.
Open the door for them to talk about sexual identity. Who are they attracted to? What should they do with these feelings? Is this right? Good? Okay? Biblical? Will I ever be loved or accepted or find that one person? I know that it seems like it is too soon. It is not though when you consider the culture and time we live in.
Discuss marriage on an ongoing basis. Use stories that you’ve heard, scenes in movies or TV shows, and occurrences around your own home to teach, train, and prepare your children to have a biblical sexual ethic.
You want this ETHOS in their heart before they are making decisions with their body. You want them to have an ETHOS that is so settled and strong that when they are faced with a choice to make, it is a no-brainer for them.
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