Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality #75.
The majority of parents today don’t know how to approach the subject of sexual intercourse with their children. Much of the anxiety comes from the fact that they were never taught what the Church actually teaches about sexual love. Instead of getting a full understanding of God’s plan for love and life, today’s parents were taught the names of body parts and some physiological information about how the body parts function. Rarely, were parents given information about how God intended new life to come into being.
There is another reason why parents today shy away from discussions about sexual activity. Most parents never talked with their own parents about sexual intercourse which means they have no idea what to do or how to begin. Instead of learning about the most intimate details of human love within the home, most parents learned about sexual activity in a health class with all of their classmates. Because this setting was not conducive to respectful learning, most parents remember very little about what was actually taught.
The final reason why discussions about sexual activity are so difficult is the reality that many parents committed sexual sins in their own life. They think that it is hypocritical to expect a higher standard of their children. Guilt and embarrassment about what they did as young adults make them wonder if they have any right to guide their children to what God intends.
While these are legitimate concerns that need to be addressed, they are NOT legitimate reasons to avoid conversations about sexual activity with one’s children. Parents must challenge themselves to move beyond emotions and face the reality that it is in their children’s best interests to provide the first explanation of the intimate details of sexual love.
Young people deserve to learn God’s plan for sexuality and how it is to be properly expressed in their life. Parents who desire the best for their children will follow the guidelines set by the Catholic Church regarding the right approach and the right time to teach the truth about physical sexual expression. The Church requests that all information about sexual activity be shared positively and prudently within the context of married love. It asks parents to consider the maturity of the child and tailor all instruction accordingly. Finally, the Church directs parents to actively witness to the power of chastity.
What is interesting is that secular research agrees with what the Catholic Church requests. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recommends that parents be the first to talk with their children about sexual love. They encourage parents to share what their religion teaches about sexual activity because it leaves a lasting impression on a youth. Finally, HHS asks parents to provide their children with more than just “the facts” about the sexual act. They strongly recommend that parents provide their expectations and values as they discuss the details of sexuality.
Both secular research and Church teaching agree that parents are the chosen ones to first share the truth about love and life. This reality cannot be stressed enough. The world today is filled with people who are ready to lie about sex and what it really means. Children should be confident that they can get the truth from their parents. Let’s take a closer look at how parents can prepare themselves for this obligation.
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