Now Featured at the Patheos Book Club
Sex + Faith
Talking with Your Child from Birth to Adolescence
By Kate Ott

Book Excerpt

Talking about sex with our children is scary! How do you begin to teach your children about sex when you feel so uncomfortable? It is no wonder that so many children get "the talk" from their parents very late in childhood, under awkward circumstances. This plus all the other demands on our time are reasons many parents feel justified in pushing "the talk" down the road.

But it doesn't have to be that way. Our sexuality is a gift from God. It is a natural and amazing part of who we are. Talking about our sexuality and our faith does not need to be tongue twisting or stomach churning for Christian parents. We have good news to share about our faith and our sexuality. This book is a starting point for parents who want to share their faith values as they discuss sexual development, healthy relationships, and sexual decision making with their children.

Here you will find information and new ideas. There are stories in which you might find yourself, your family, or your children's questions reflected. What this book cannot do is take over the job of talking about faith and sexuality with your kids. No book can do that. That is a parent's job as well as the other trusted adults in our children's lives! I know that this is not an easy task. I too stumble through sexuality conversations with my two children. I find it awkward to bring up sexuality issues in my Sunday school classes, and I talk about sexuality for a living! Talking about our faith and beliefs takes practice. Talking about sexuality is no different.

The fact is, as a parent, you are already a sexuality educator, even if you have said nothing about "sex." Your kids are learning by example from how you live in your romantic relationships or lack thereof, how you treat people based on whether they are male or female, how you treat your body and the comments you make about it, and how you show intimacy (or not) through touch such as hugs, kisses, and play with your children.

Each of these lessons also reflects your faith beliefs. Our values are shown by how we treat others and ourselves. Do you express gratitude for the gift of your body? Do you honor others' physical and emotional boundaries? In other words, how we love others and our children teaches them about sexuality and faith without a word being said.

As the first and most important sexuality educator in your child's life, you can talk about the values behind your behaviors and why they are meaningful to you. The examples of behaviors above are left only to the interpretive eyes and ears of our children if adults do not stop and take a moment to reflect on them together. Without stopping to reflect, kids may not always get the most important message or the right one from their observations. Children need and want to hear from their parents.  This book is about taking the next step. As a parent, or one who cares for and guides children in their faith, you can use this book as a map to which you can return throughout your child's life from birth to young adulthood. It has two key sections along with "question boxes" throughout.