I've been reading a book over the past few months by Jonathan McKee, titled More Than Just The Talk. It's a book about talking to your kids about Sex. The book has been challenging, encouraging, and even discouraging at times. McKee doesn't pull any punches in his book. But, that's the point. The author wants parents to step out of their comfort zone and talk to their kids about what many consider hard topics, uncomfortable topics.
McKee begins his book giving us an answer to the question of "Why do we need to talk to our kids about sex?" The answer is pretty much because if we don't, they'll figure out the answers on their own and likely come up with a lot of wrong answers. I agree with him. One of the most powerful stories I've heard over the years about sex and kids is when a friend of mine shared with me about her experience teaching her fourth graders sex ed. She found the clause in the district curriculum that allowed her to teach about abstinence. After the talk, two kids came up to her and told her that two kids in one of the fifth grade classes had had sex. Another girl came up to her and told her that she wished her 12 year old cousin had heard the talk because she was pregnant. The stories McKee says are like these... and more. He shared in the book about Game of Thrones, which I've heard of, but have never watched. I had no idea how sexual the content of the show was. But, recently, I was watching a show on netflix, Melissa and Joey, which airs on ABC Family. The show has two high schoolers and their guardians. Pretty much every joke is about sex or how girls or guys look. The difference between the two shows is that Game of Thrones is very visually explicit and what it isn't explicit about, it implies.
McKee has given talks all over the US to parents and teens and he's heard more stories and heard more parents mention the stuff on TV than I've been aware of. What I realized in reading his stories is that we need to talk to our kids. It may make us uncomfortable, but they need to know that they can ask questions of us when they have them. And that is McKee's point.
After the introduction, McKee goes on to talk and give reasons why kids should wait--reasons you can use in your talks. Then, he addresses many questions kids have, masturbation, and pornography. After the introduction, it felt like the focus of his book was on masturbation and pornography. You can tell these subjects are heavy on his heart. I didn't always agree with some of his answers to the questions, but it's a starting point. With any book I read, I find I don't usually agree 100%. The book will make you feel pretty dire about what our kids are being barraged by every day.
So, what do we do? Can we hope that our kids will be in the small percentage that don't end up struggling with these things? Maybe, but either way, our responsibility as parents is prepare them for life--and that includes talking to them about topics that may be uncomfortable. We want to raise our children to love the Lord and understand what it means to glorify Him in our lives. Part of that is teaching them how to guard their hearts and minds from temptation and turn away from it.
While this book has some great information in it, I didn't really think it is a book that will prepare you to talk with your kids. What this book is great for is motivating you to get out of your comfort zone and talk with your kids--because it's really important! It will shock you with the stories and alarm you with fear, frankly. That can be good and bad. Never forget that God is in control. We can lift our children up in prayer and love them well. God doesn't want us to live in fear. We can talk with them and help them learn how to understand the world they live in. We can let them know that they can always talk with us about anything...
Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review from Bethany House Publishing.