So lately I’ve been going through some stuff and because of it, I have all these thoughts in my mind… and I considered sharing it on my fb… but I feel like I’d be kind of putting it all in peoples faces. lol So I figured, maybe I’ll just blog instead and those who are interested in what is going on in my head can come find it. :P So I don’t know if this will last a couple days or if this will be a regular thing or not… but I’m just gonna word vomit a bit and go from there. haha Enjoy. :P
So I’ll just dive in… haha
I was having a conversation with my 11yo about sex the other day (one of our prep talks for stuff she may experience in the next few years) and her response to me saying she may find herself having a physical response to certain ideas was, “I just can’t imagine that… I have boundaries… I mean, I don’t chase boys and stuff.” She respects her body, respects the lives of her potential future husband and children, and really wants to be mindful of the choices she makes in that regard because she’s witnessed some rough stuff happening in the lives of people she cares a lot about. I don’t take all the credit, because she’s a pretty amazing little girl. However, talk of puberty, protecting our bodies, age appropriate conversations about relationships, marriage, parenting, and sex has been a casual and normal conversation since she became old enough to be curious and ask questions (which was about 3yo) and I do believe that’s played its part.
Over the years I’ve seen sex in our culture reach younger and younger ages.. all too often, porn is the sex education that children are receiving rather than a healthy dialogue with parents/healthy adults in their lives who care about their wholeness. I don’t think it’s an intentional issue here, I think we, in general, don’t know how to talk about this stuff ourselves! Trust me, it’s hard to do it sometimes… I hear the words “penis” and “vagina” and “sex” come out of my mouth to my 11yo and I cringe… but she isn’t battling with those “dirty” words like I have (because of my past sexual abuse)… she’s hearing healthy terms of anatomy that will someday be a healthy and beautiful part of her life one day.
I read articles talking about 12 year old girls having rough sex with their boyfriends because well, that’s how you do it and with such a strong response to perverted sex in porn, that makes logical sense, even as heartbreaking as it is to think about. 16 year olds shaving their pubic hair so as to not be “disgusting” and that oral sex is a normal go-to before engaging in intercourse. These are all normal for this younger generation.
How are we missing the affects of a sexually focused society? Adults want to be free to engage in and watch pornographic acts, adults want to be free to engage in sex with no real responsibility attached to that decision (contraceptives, abortion, hook ups/break ups/divorce), and adults wanting to be free to participate in rougher more dominant sexual activity… all the while, kids are witnessing, watching, and learning from it; the aftershock is directly effecting them.
I just look at my 11yo and think, how can all this sexual influence that our children (in general) are encountering be the accepted norm and me be the weird one for sheltering?
[Please note that by sheltered I mean, “covered from injury or annoyance; defended; protected” – Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary 1913, contrary to isolated, which means “standing detached from others of a like kind; placed by itself or alone.” That is to say that she is indeed exposed to harsher realities and truths, but in a way that is protecting her at the same time.]
How is it that me allowing her to learn and grow in a safe way is somehow believed to be damaging to her? My daughter has boundaries and she knows how a good man should treat her… and she has a safe place to go to (her Daddy and I) to process through her emotions about it all. Isn’t that the point being driven home about all this “sex ed” that is being pushed… isn’t the “safe sex”, “avoid pregnancy and std’s”, and “the right to abort” talk all supposed to be about getting our kids to a healthy and safe place regarding sex? It can’t just be me that’s seeing that it’s not working.
The concept of abstinence is being regarded as idealistic… but maybe it’s because people don’t know how to talk about it? Maybe? I don’t teach my daughter abstinence by name as much as I do the heart of its idea. Sex is only ever discussed with her as a beautiful thing that is good to want… but it’s never just sex that we’re talking about.
She knows many families that look different than our family and has a deep compassion and empathetic heart for them. She doesn’t look at them and say “poor parents” or “poor children.” She sees that one beautiful family looks a bit more difficult than her own life and thinks of how she would feel in that situation. So talking about sex for us has been about sex in context of life – an enjoyable, fun, and intimate connection between two people, a way to create new life, and thus a way to create a family.
She’s seen heartache of divorce, of shared parenting, a fatherless home, and young moms trying to figure things out. She sees the heartache of each parent and of the children… she doesn’t see “if only they didn’t have a child together” or “if only they didn’t keep that baby” (in fact she recently learned what abortion was and she couldn’t wrap her mind around it, it broke her heart to think that I could have legally chosen to end the life of her or one of her siblings… “I just don’t get it,” she said, as she stroked her 2yo sisters hair). So those thoughts never crossed her mind… she just sees another way and she’s determined for it to come together in that way for herself. She sees the value in waiting until marriage, not because Mama and Daddy say so or because the Bible says so, but because she sees what can happen if a healthy and committed covenant relationship isn’t established first (and if it is). Additionally, she hopes to wait until she’s married to have children because the idea of a child having to go to be with their Daddy in a different home while also being away from Mama to do so hurts her heart (because she can’t imagine not having both Mama and Daddy to go to on a daily basis and at the same time if she wanted to). She knows families figure this out… but it’s not something that she wants.
She knows these aren’t things people necessarily planned for their own lives or the lives of their children… and that’s why she finds it important to be intentional. I feel our open line of communication where she is safe to talk to us about everything will help her to continue to pursue that and to process what she’s feeling and what she wants as she enters this new season of her life. I don’t make any claim that she won’t make wrong choices or that she won’t be found in a situation like mentioned above… but I feel like she has a good foundation to work from and we’ll face whatever may or may not come, together as a family. Meanwhile, we’ll just enjoy our time together and these talks about life and growing up and all that entails.
I just wish we could find a similar solution for the vast majority of children in our culture… what exactly could be done differently? Is it our focus on safe sex rather than sex in context that’s the issue? Maybe it’s our focus on sex in general rather than overall wholeness? Maybe I’ll never know. :P
Additionally: If this is unorganized or sounds rambly, it’s because, well, I’m rambling. I don’t pretend to know everything… I’m a wife and mom that loves being a wife and mom and works at it on a daily base. I’m imperfect and definitely say a lot of stupid stuff in general and I’m definitely still figuring things out. After all, I’ve never had an 11yo before and frankly, every child is different! I’m just rambling about my observations and reserve the right to realize I’m wrong and change my tactics. lol If you’ve read all this… thanks! Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts. Even if you disagree with me. I love healthy dialogue. :)