Category: How Do I Talk? (Page 2 of 2)

My Body is a Gift Discussions: Pages 6-7

The theme of these pages is another often overlooked area of early-childhood healthy sexuality: caring for our bodies.

Discussion Questions:

How do you keep your body clean? (bathe, toilet appropriately, brush teeth, comb hair, etc)

What foods are healthy? (In our house this would be said with dramatic uncertainty…are you noticing a pattern?  I mention this because in my experience small children respond very well to over dramatizing questions).  Do you eat those foods?  What foods do you think are not healthy? (With these and all questions, parents can suggest and instill their own values in the conversations).  Should we practice eating more healthy foods so we can take care of our special bodies?

Do you get plenty of sleep?  When do you sleep?  Why do you think sleeping is a way to take care of your body?

What is your favorite way to exercise?  What other kinds of exercise do you do? (play on the playground, ride bike, run around the house, etc.)  Do you get lots of exercise or just a little bit?

My Body is a Gift Discussions: Pages 4-5

**Theme Continuation from Pages 2-3**

One part of healthy sexuality that we don’t often consider is having an appreciation for our bodies.  Teaching our children that our bodies are wonderful and can do incredible things is an easy way to begin discussions about healthy sexuality with very small children.  These pages address this appreciation.

Discussion Questions:

What wonderful things can you do with your body?

Can you move your body? (In my house that would be said with dramatic mock uncertainty and a raised eyebrow).  Show me how your body can move!  or  What is your favorite way to move your body? or  Let’s practice different ways of moving our bodies! (Dance, martial arts, reaching high and low, etc.)

Do you learn and explore?  Yes!  I know you learn because you’re smart!  I know you explore because you’re curious and you want to figure things out.  What do you like to learn about?  (or point out different things they have learned recently).

Does your body feel?  Mine does too.  (Discuss and explore textures, and/or kinds of emotional feelings and what they mean).

My Body is a Gift Discussions: Pages 2-3

One part of healthy sexuality that we don’t often consider is having an appreciation for our bodies.  Teaching our children that bodies are good and from God is an easy way to begin discussions about healthy sexuality with very small children.  These pages address this appreciation.

Discussion questions:

Does God love you?…Yes!  He does!…And so do I!  (in our house this type of scenario is accompanied by hugs, tickles, and giggles)

Have you ever thought about your body as being a special gift?

Living your whole life in a body is a long time!  How does your body look different than it did before? (baby features, haircuts, broken bones that healed, etc.)  What can you do with your body that you couldn’t do before? (ride a bike, read, etc.)  Wow!  Look at all the amazing and wonderful things that happen as your body grows and changes!  What a neat body you have!

My Body is a Gift Discussions: Introduction

The book, “My Body is a Gift from God: Introducing Conversations to SafPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000444_00047]eguard Children” is an excellent way to begin a pattern of ongoing conversations about healthy sexuality with your children. Each page is an invitation to a variety of healthy sexuality conversations. Following the articles entitled “My Body is a Gift Discussions” will give you ideas to get your creative juices flowing. There are an unlimited number of such conversations that can begin with the pages of this book, based on the individual experiences of children and families.

Let’s get started!

Children Are Like Onions

Whenever your children approach you, or when you ask them about things they have experienced, it’s always important to keep in mind that children are like onions.  When someone shares vulnerable information with another person, especially if they think highly of them, they are likely to share just a little at a time, layer by layer.  They may hold some level of shame or embarrassment around the issue.  They may be uncomfortable and want to know if you will be too.  They share a little, see how you react, and then share a little more.  So be aware that there are likely lots of layers to a situation or story.  They may only be sharing a part of how they felt (the less important part).  They may only be sharing a part of a “bad” situation.  They may only be sharing one time when something has actually happened many times.

What can you do to invite more conversation, and help them feel comfortable enough to share?

Be calm.  If you don’t get upset or emotionally heightened, they will be less likely to close off.

Be curious.  Curiosity helps you be calm, gives you space to think, and also helps you gather really important information.  Curiosity gets you gently probing for and through more layers.

Be patient and persistent.  Recognize you may not get through all the layers in a day.  But don’t assume you’ve got the full story.  If they are done for the day, wait.  Think through it yourself–be curious–look for holes or inconsistencies in the story timeline, in how they felt, etc. that may be indicative of more layers.

Trust your gut.  This is the most important part.  You may feel everything is on the table, and if so, that’s great.  But if something feels off, trust it.  You have God-given parental intuition.

The Number One Thing to Do

My number one takeaway for parents is always:

TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK, TALK

Talk to your kids about sex whenever and wherever you can.  You want to normalize the topic.  This does a few things, it makes the topic less awkward because it’s a topic that is discussed frequently.  It makes discussions less formal.  Your kids aren’t worried that if they want to have a discussion with you they have to wait until Sunday after church wearing their suit or dress, sitting straight-backed in the front parlor…you get the idea.  Because Mom and Dad talk to me when we garden, at the dinner table, while we watch TV, or driving to soccer practice, I can talk to them anytime too.

I have an aunt and uncle that are really good at this.  They regularly have discussions, often around the dinner table, about what their teenagers are experiencing outside of the home.  Their children feel comfortable enough that they come to their parents and bring up locker room talk and other things they are exposed to at school.  They don’t just take their peers’ word for it, they get the truth from their parents.

My mother also was a good example of teaching us to pay attention to the messages we received in the media, recognizing truth, and rejecting unhealthy messages.  Even though, when Mom would say, “what message is this commercial teaching us?” we would often respond with eyes rolling, “if we drink beer we will be super attractive to everyone, we will get all the ‘hot’ guys/girls, we will be super popular, and live on a beach,” it made a huge impact in my life.  While it wasn’t always about sex, I still automatically analyze commercials looking for the message they want me to believe.

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