One day I was checking the internet history on our family computer. It's something I do regularly just as a precaution, and to make sure I know what is going on, even though we keep the computer in a common area. My kids are also never allowed to use the computer unless an adult is awake and around.
And then I found it. Lots of Youtube videos about sex. Raunchy, nasty videos.
I was completely stunned. Horrified. Literally sick. I try really hard to be a (reasonably) great mom. And I have (reasonably) great kids. We have family standards that we live by, and this is definitely not it. So how did this happen?
We did some investigating and found the curious child who had watched it. I blamed myself-I felt awful. My child's innocence and childhood had been ripped away right in our own home.
I NEVER want that to happen to you. And that is why I am telling you about this important website. If you never read another thing on Raise The Good, please read this one.
You and I need to talk to our kids about sex NOW. Don't believe me? Watch this video to find out why.
(FYI: The video has good information, but the side bars on Youtube or the collage of video images after the video finishes might not be appropriate for kids.)
Educateempowerkids.org is dedicated to helping you talk to your kids about sex before friends, the internet, or others do. And they are super great at it. Featured by the Mom Conference, Power of Moms, and many, many other organizations, they are quickly becoming the go-to experts in this arena.
Unfortunately, when we think about talking to our kids about sex, most of us get a deer in the headlights look. Too many of us think that we just need to talk to them once, and then we're done. That's what I did...and obviously, it didn't work.
Sex is EVERYWHERE in our society: movies, tv, books, billboards. . . heck, it even helps sell hamburgers, rice and shampoo. With lots of discussion in the news and politics about sexual identity, various laws, the way prominent men treat women, and so many other topics, we have to start being realistic about the things we need to talk to our children about and realize that one "birds and the bees" talk is not going to cut it.
I know it can feel really awkward. And sometimes, it's a toss up as to who is more uncomfortable-us or our kids. But think about the consequences of NOT doing this-it's scary! Curiosity aside, this is also a major safety issue. Consider these statements from educateempowerkids.org from convicted child sex offenders:
“Parents shouldn’t be embarrassed to talk about things like this—it’s harder to abuse or trick a child who knows what you’re up to.”
These quotes make me sick. Even though it's not always possible to escape abuse, I never want my kids to be a victim if I could have taught them something that would have helped to keep them safe. But sometimes, I don't know where to start-there is so much to cover, and I also want to make sure I explain these things in an age appropriate manner.
That is why I HIGHLY recommend EducateEmpowerKids.org. They've done all the heavy work for you. They have written great books that are literally a script for you to jumpstart conversations with your kids of any age. They start small: "Why is your body special?","Your body belongs to You" and then work their way up from there, eventually getting to the mechanics of sexual intercourse, gender roles, predators, sexual identity, sexting and STDs and orgasm.
Kind of crazy, huh!? But if our kids don't learn this stuff from us, where will they learn it?
These books have lots of great questions for open ended discussion, definitions (in case you don't know how to explain something), and great opportunities to have meaningful conversations with your kids that will result in closer relationships. These books are also written in a very neutral way (because they mostly consist of thoughtful questions) so no matter your beliefs about sex, this will be very helpful to you.
Check out some of these other SUPER helpful resources on their website:
It really is easier than you think.
I've been trying to practice these skills for a little while, and they have been coming more naturally. When my teenage son mentioned that his friend's sister ran away (and thankfully was found safe), I was able to explain how grateful I was that she was safe, and then discuss the sex slave trade, pimps, etc. He responded really well, and I hope that if his friends ever talk about running away, he can help be a voice of reason, help them find other solutions to their problems, and help them stay safe.
It really is easier than you think. Please give it a try- your kids need your guiding influence in this part of their lives.
P.S. Below is a video of founder Dina Alexander at a conference speaking about best strategies. If you haven't had a chance to hear her, she explains the "whys" and "hows" really, really well. It's not for little ears though, so be sure to find a time when your kids are out of the room to watch it.
Community Question: Did your parents talk to you about sex? How did it go?
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