Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The world in which we live

I don't know why I feel compelled to write about this on here; it seems more of a private matter.  I'm also not naive enough to think you are exempt from situations like this in your families, so this probably isn't news to anyone, but wanted to record my thoughts anyway.  I think this is just another example of why we need to be lionesses and protect our families.

I've heard mentioned several times the manual, A Parent's Guide, but have never read it before now.  It's the LDS Church's 1985 guide on how to talk to your kids about the body and sex.  Sure, some of it may seem a little out-dated, but there's a lot of good stuff in it.  We started reading it just in time.  When we finish reading  it, I'll probably share a few more thoughts.

Yesterday, my 6 year-old girl said something like, "Is it true that a boy and a girl who aren't married sleep in the same bed without their underwear?"  Gasp!  Deep breath.  "Where did you hear that?"  She'd been at a friend's house and a friend of that friend came over and was talking about it.

Sometimes, I don't know why, but I don't feel bold in calling a sin a sin -- I tend to say "bad choices," so it doesn't come across so judgmentally and meanly.  Luckily, though, we'd recently read this in the manual:

Your role as a parent requires that you pass judgments on your children and correct them as necessary. Some reports are not about accomplishments but about failures. Here you can be most Christlike. Without excusing or minimizing the problem or sin, you can react with concern, candor, and practical steps to correct the error or help your child repent of the sin.
Now the quote was clearly in reference to correcting a sin of a child, which obviously was not our situation, but the word "sin" was fresh on my mind.  Six year-olds also easily understand the word "sin."  I told my daughter something like, "Well if someone did something like that, it would be sinning."  Then we continued to have a little discussion on how our bodies are like temples and when we are married we can share our bodies that way, but if we do things like that when we are not married we cannot have the Spirit with us. . . .

Then, talk about a double whammy -- the kids had been outside tonight playing with some neighbors and my little 6 year old comes in and says, "So-and-so said, what if a girl was naked and someone took pictures of her and put them on iPhoto?"  I said, "Well that would be pornography.  Why was so-and-so talking about that?"  I then told her, yes, people do that, and it is wrong, and so-and-so shouldn't be talking about things like that.

I then asked my husband (I was nursing) to go tell the kid (another 6 year-old) that he shouldn't be talking about things like that, and it was time for him to go home.  I asked my husband if we ought to call the kid's mom.  My husband looked a little surprised at first, but really, he likes things like that.  So, he called the mom and told her what happened.  She was pretty upset and hopefully wasn't too hard on the kid (the manual talks about this).  It's not like they were looking at pornography, he was just talking about it, but I'd think she'd want to know.

When we had family prayer tonight, we again talked about the situation and told our kids that if other kids are talking about things like this to please let us know so that we can know what kids are talking about, tell them if it's true or not, and also answer any questions they have.  We told them it's okay to talk about these things with mom and dad (and we have had discussions in the past on the topic), but they don't need to go talking to their friends about this.  Our 8 year-old son seemed almost relieved to hear that it was okay to talk to mom and dad about when other kids talk about these things.  He seemed to like that he didn't have to keep it inside him and that he could let it out and that mom and dad could actually do something about it.

So, I guess I just write this to reenforce that it's never to early to talk to your kids about the body and sex in an age-appropriate way (the manual gives ideas on this, too).  I'm afraid, though, that the kids are getting more and more details at younger and younger ages these days.  I also want to say how grateful I am that we've been reading A Parent's Guide which has put the topic fresh on my mind and has given me some really good tactics in how to confidently talk about the body and sex with my kids.


Annie said...

Wow! I thought, how sad that that little girl has already heard something like that, then I realized it's YOUR little girl, and YOUR little boy!!! Wow! You're good parents. :)

Nicole said...

I am in my thirties and had conversations like this at age 5. (And I was a sheltered kiddo.) I think the talk has always been there, though it is getting more explicit, but parents weren't necessarily as aware as they are today. Also, it seems at least in my case, that my parents weren't as comfortable discussing these things openly.
I homeschool and am extremely aware of what is out there and yet my son has been exposed to p. and extreme violence--both at relative's homes, once while I was there. It really is so important to talk about these things in an age appropriate manner with our children! Kuddos to you! It really is important that children understand that they can talk about these things with their parents.

Heather@Women in the Scriptures said...

This is great. My oldest is 4 and a few days ago we had a situation sort of like the one you described. It was such an eye opener for me and scared me to death, kids these days hear and see things SO young. I love how you handled it. My husband and I decided it is just so important that our kids know and feel comfortable talking about things with us.

Also, I think it is AWESOME you called the kids mom. I know I would be SO grateful to know if my children were talking about things like that!

Robyn said...

Thank you for sharing this. I have been grateful for the information in the Parent's Guide too. We had a special FHE recently about my the gift of our bodies, pornography, other people touching their body, etc. And, I know I will have to keep repeating that. I like how you handled things.

Emily said...

Nicole, you're probably right in that we had similar conversations at this age, and I think you're totally right in that our parents were less willing/able to talk about it (so we never said anything!). I'm really surprised that even though you home school, your kids have been exposed the same -- not that any of this has happened at school -- it seems to be during play time at home. Thanks for your comments, ladies!

Darlene said...

Yep, this is something you really have to be on top of. The ideal is that they are comfortable going to you with questions. Good job! So, did we fail? I thought we handled things pretty well, at least what we knew about!

Nicole said...

Well, it def. is more prevalent now. (As far as actual exposure goes...) There are just so many more ways in which to be exposed to indecency. Between tv, ipods, ipads, internet, ereaders, ect., it really is difficult to have our kids come out completely unexposed. Just last week I was out shopping for groceries. I stopped by Walmart first and was shocked at the very *explicit* magazine covers--swimsuit editions--in which one was topless. I was SO grateful that I shop alone! I then went to a grocery store and was again in line waiting when I noticed a man also standing in line waiting, ogling that same magazine cover, then picking it up and looking at the inside material. Now, I have NEVER seen that happen before, and it literally made me feel sick!
We have no tv, our kids have no access to computers without us, internet is password protected, we have had multiple conversations, and yet the exposure is there. It is a really difficult thing to feel that you are doing all you can think of to protect them and yet still have it happen--at grandparent's homes, no less!
One was when a cousin wanted to show our son a Lego something on the computer and my young son (who loves legos) sat by him as he searched you tube and the lego image came up, but a side bar image was of a topless woman! My son brought it to our attention right then, and we have very strict rules about that (LDS) grandparent's home because they just haven't viewed our concerns as serious. Our children are no longer allowed there with out us at all. Period. The violence occured at a gret-grandparent's home, when they had just left the tv running and my son just happened to wlak into their home as a man blew himself and others in to smithereens--he was so traumatized by this! Again, he is no longer allowed to go to that grandparent's without us. Even within family and LDS community, there can much disparity between what constitutes immorality (for viewing), what movies are okay, ect...
However, while it may be inevitable that our children are exposed to this, we can combat it in our homes by being proactive! I have absolutely had that witness. Like your blog title suggests, it takes us being Lionesses at our gates; it takes us building up a fortress of spiritual strength in our homes; and it takes us keeping the lines of communication open wide with our children and teaching then what is appropriate and what is not.
Whew! I've said a lot! I hope it hasn't been too forceful! =)
I believe that the Lord gives us tender mercies like your having been reading over these things just at the moment you would need it most.
I have enjoyed your blog. thanks for letting me unload!=)

Emily said...

Love it, Nicole. Thanks for sharing! You just can't be too careful, can you?