In our increasingly sexualized, undisciplined and morally negligent society I think it is more important than ever to safe guard our kids against sexual impurity and abuse. Because my husband and I have both seen the devastating effects childhood sexual abuse can have in people’s lives, we have prayerfully and purposefully set out to be pro active in this area of our parenting.
The reason I feel bold enough to share this with you is because of a situation we recently have had to deal with. About a year ago I was talking with my oldest son who was eight at the time. Just casually revisiting some of the things we’ve taught him, keeping his private parts private, removing himself from situations where kids are talking foolishly etc. and he told me, “Mom, if you hadn’t told me that sometimes kids do stuff like that I would have never known because no one has ever said or done anything like that around me.”
I was like, oh no! Maybe I’m being a freak and preparing my kids for something that will never even come up. I was really second guessing myself but guess what? In the last year three different situations HAVE come up and I thank the Lord with all of my heart that each time my kids have done the right thing. They did what we told them to do, they got away and when an opportune time came they told us about it. Now these were three different situations involving different kids from different families and even different circles of people. The incidents only involved talk.
Just the other night Blue eyes and I were already in bed and somehow all four of our older kids ended up sitting on our bed talking and talking. It brings tears of gratitude to my eyes just thinking about it because they were so open! We prayed together for friends. I tried to explain to them on an appropriate level why things like this happen.
Blue eyes told them that we are like their cheer leaders, sitting on the side lines, hollering, “Come on! You can do it! Finish strong!” We told them that everything we ask of them is because we want them to be whole and safe and happy. We told them that kids don’t understand how these things will harm and effect them in the long term but we do.
We’ve told them that God uses the private parts of our bodies to create children and that is why it is so important to protect them. We’ve talked about how after you are married you would need to tell your spouse about these shameful, embarrassing things if you were to partake of them. Blue eyes has told the boys especially about taking their thoughts captive, he has told them that sin always starts in our hearts and our minds before it manifests itself physically.
We have told them that sharing your body with your spouse is beautiful and precious and that you wouldn’t want to give any of that away to anyone else. Ever. These are all things that we have been teaching them throughout the years.
After everyone was thoroughly hugged, kissed, prayed over and sent to bed Blue eyes told me,”Wow, Honey! I’m so proud of you. All that reading and listening to Dr Dobson and seminars you’ve gone to have come to fruition. What you were trying to do worked!” He knows it’s not me, it’s a collaboration of wisdom I have gleaned from a lot of different sources. The only thing that I can claim is a heart willing to learn.
I know that my family is still young. Our oldest is 13, we have seven kids and our baby is almost a year. I know that pride comes before a fall, and I am not sharing this out of pride but only because I want every Christian family to be able to preserve purity in their children.
I know that there is a certain amount of childhood curiosity that obviously isn’t going to scar your kids for life but throw one child into the mix who is being or has been sexually abused or exposed to pornography and some really messed up stuff can happen right in the next room.
Unless you as the parent have introduced the subject it’s unlikely that your kids will even know how to articulate their thoughts if something does come up. They need to know that we are always there for them, that they can tell us anything even if it’s really bad or embarrassing. I tell my kids all the time that that’s why kids have parents, so they are taken care of, have someone to talk to and to help them figure things out.
When I’ve talked to my kids about the birds and the bees or their changing bodies I always tell them that they can ask me anything, they don’t have to be embarrassed at all. I tell them not to ask their friends because their friends probably don’t know anything more then they do and I will be willing to talk to them about anything.
We have a rule that our kids are not allowed to spend the night at other people’s houses until they are at least ten. Even then it is only at family’s homes that we know well. I don’t think it is wise to leave your small children with other people too much, even older siblings. They need the careful care and love that only a parent can provide. Except on a rare occasion our babies who are not potty trained are not left with anyone. This is not because I’m weird and think everyone is a pervert but because I think it sets the stage for healthy boundaries and personal respect. Even my older girls do not , except in rare cases, change diapers. I just don’t think it shows respect to the little one or an older child to have them change a nasty, stinky diaper. That’s a parents job.
We also have a rule that our kids don’t play together in their bedrooms with the door shut. If a child wants time to his or her self they can go in their room with the door shut but they let me know.
If you have read many of my previous posts you will know that my boys spend a lot of time roaming the woods unsupervised but if they are with kids from other families I do keep an eye and ear open. Also, because when they were very young we established good communication they tell me stuff. We often rehash conversations they have had with their friends.
If you are very, very careful with your kids in the early formative years and set good, solid boundaries and foundations of thought, by the time they are six or seven they are able to navigate a lot of social situations with a lot less risk. It is so worth investing that time and energy!
One more thing to think about that is of utmost importance. If you or your spouse has any unresolved sexual issues, including childhood sexual abuse or exposure, pornography, or any other hidden things of this nature it will make it much harder and perhaps impossible to properly teach and direct your children in purity. This is because without even realizing it you will process everything through the filter of your own experiences. Instead of calmly and rationally dealing with your kid’s stuff, your own feelings of anger, fear, sadness, and shame will be added to the mix making things much more emotionally draining and intense than need be. That will only make you and your kids avoid talking about this stuff even more!
I know that this is an uncomfortable subject but God wants all the hidden dark things in our lives to be brought to the light so they can be healed. Find a safe person to talk to, read some good Christian books on healing (Focus on the Family has many wonderful resources) and think of it as a way to become a better parent.
May God bless all of us as we do our best each day to bring up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
“Flee fornication. Every sin a man doeth is outside the body, but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and you are not your own? For you are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” 1 Corinthians 6:18-20