As parents, we all face the challenging task of explaining the facts of life to our children as they come of age. Sometimes, it seems as though they know more than we do!
It’s no different for the Duggar Family – in fact, it’s practically an ongoing process, since their 19 children are all growing up fast. Six of them are in their teens, three are getting close, and even their toddlers won’t be little forever. In her latest blog for TLC, mom Michelle takes us through the way she and Jim-Bob introduce their children to the realities of puberty.
Michelle handles The Talk with her daughters. “[I'll] make it a special time out with mom — we may go for lunch at their favorite place — and I’ll explain to the girls about this new season of life and how exciting this is, because they’re entering womanhood,” she says. Their day out ends with a trip to the store for an introductory look at feminine products and a little coming-of-age gift of perfume and lotion. Dad Jim-Bob talks to the boys about the changes going on in their bodies.
But the other point of their parental heart-to-hearts is to let the blossoming Duggars know what’s expected of them when it comes to interacting with the opposite sex.
Michelle tells her daughters that “you want to guard your heart to make sure that you are keeping your affections where they need to be and not giving away parts of your heart by emotionally getting attached to individuals, because your future spouse will be the one who you want to give all of those things to.”Jim-Bob talks to the boys about treating women with respect, which means not flirting with girls in any way. “Don’t show wrong, inappropriate actions to others who may not be your future spouse.” And both parents encourage their children to come talk to them about any “temptations or struggles” they may be feeling. The teen girls have been known to ask Michelle to pray for them before they go out into a situation where they’ll be among boys.
The Duggars are committed to the idea that God helps men and women choose soulmates for life, and that all physical and emotional affection should be saved for the person one marries. Instead of letting their children date, they participate in group activities with other families who share their particular faith and views. Once the child finds a future spouse, the parents take them through a lengthy supervised “courtship” process. Even then, hand-holding is as far as the couple is allowed to go until the rings are on.
I think we can all agree on the open-communication policy and the puberty talk. Even the little gift for the girls is a cute idea. And there’s no chance a Duggar teen will ever be starring in Teen Mom 4. But how healthy is it for these children to have their lives controlled so closely that they can’t even be left alone with a peer?
What’s your take?
[Photo: via TLC]
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