Monday, May 11, 2015

Relationship Ratio

I believe that many parents are so worried about teaching their children about sex that they get too focused on the actual act of sexual intercourse. Here is a breakdown of some things children need to learn about sex before they start dating:

1. Pregnancy (how a baby grows, what it does, how it's born, how it got started with sperm and egg)
2. Sexual intercourse (for making babies and marital cohesion)
3. Puberty
4. How to make and be a good friend
5. How to say no to inappropriate touch
6. How to show respect to others, including opposite sex, same sex peers, people from different backgrounds, and so on
6. How to listen
8. How to communicate effectively
9. How to discern what makes a healthy friendship and relationship
10. How to accept or reject dates appropriately
11. How to negotiate kindly and effectively
12. How to compromise
13. How to be empathetic
14. How to be sympathetic
15. How to be selfless
16. How to be supportive
17. How to say "I'm sorry" and mend a wrong, or many wrongs
18. How to look for someone else's strengths and focus on them
19. How to handle a difference of opinion (aka how to fight fair)
20. How to show love
21. How to give and receive service
22. How to give sound advice
23. What the spirit feels like
24. How to follow spiritual promptings

I could go on.......but, you get the picture. There are only three processes we teach children when it comes to sexuality- pregnancy, intercourse, and puberty. EVERYTHING else they need to know is about relationships (because sex is part of a relationship). To be honest, pregnancy is actually fun for me to discuss with my children. They love learning about how a baby grows because they are still growing and understand it so well. It's also a process that most of us find beautiful and rewarding. It's not so hard to talk about...........Puberty, well, going through it is harder than discussing all the changes. All that's left is intercourse. Intercourse......ONE so hard for many parents to discuss that they end up focusing on it too much, or avoiding the topic of sex altogether.

I'll describe it this way. Think of making a cake (or cookies because I'm not a big cake person). If we focus too much on the sugar and add too much, we've made terrible cookies and all you can taste is the sugar (which is good, but not so much by itself). You need the right blend of ingredients to make the cookies delectable. Well, a relationship only focused on sex is a terrible relationship. There is an intricate blend of ingredients to make a relationship work. You need a bit of all the 24 things I've listed, plus some more. You can't take sex out of context because, you know, sugar doesn't really do so well by itself.

So, when you think about teaching children about sex, remember that you are just giving them one ingredient that, when mixed well with everything else, creates a healthy view of sex and relationships.