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Sex Education: Are We Overprotecting Our Kids?

we are that familia

~Welcome to another month of “We are that familia..” where we talk about all things “Family,” from parenting, recipes, crafts, inspirational (and not so inspirational) stories, and life as we know it. ~

 are we overprotecting our kids when it comes to sex education

It’s not every day you read these words:

“I know, I know. Porn is a guy’s problem.

Girls — especially good, teenage girls — don’t look at porn.

And the last place you would expect to see porn is in the home of…”

I was shocked to see such vulnerability and transparency as I continued reading her article.

Buy why? Anne Marie Miller, author and speaker, explains that she shared her story so others will know they’re not alone and to help them move from shame into hope.

Below, I will share excerpts from Anne Marie’s post, and I do hope if you are in the midst of this struggle you will find hope, or if you know someone who is, that you will pass it on.

Dear Parents,

“Please allow me a quick moment to introduce myself before we go much further. My name is Anne Marie Miller. I’m thirty-three years old. I’m newly married to a wonderful man named Tim…. For the purpose of this letter, you need to know I’m a recovering addict. Pornography was my drug of choice.”

“Because of the volatile combination of life circumstances: the drastic change of scenery when we moved, my dad’s depression, and a youth pastor who sexually abused me during my junior year of high school, I turned to the Internet for education. I didn’t know what certain words meant or if what the youth pastor was doing to me was good or bad and I was too afraid to ask. What started as an innocent pursuit of knowledge quickly escalated into a coping mechanism.”

“Over the last six years I’ve had the opportunity to share my story in a variety of venues: to thousands of college students, men, women and teens. This summer, I was invited to speak at several camps to both junior high and high school students and it’s without exaggeration when I tell you with each year I counsel students, the numbers and the stories shock me more and more.

There are more students compulsively looking at pornography at younger ages and with greater frequency than ever before.”

“While every story was unique in the details, in most situations, there were three common themes that kept surfacing.

  1. Google is the new Sex-Ed: Now, when a student hears a word or phrase they don’t understand, they don’t ask you what it means (because they fear getting in trouble). They don’t ask their friends (because they fear being ashamed for not knowing). They ask Google.Google won’t judge them for not knowing. Because of our short attention spans and desire for instant gratification, they don’t click the first link that shows up they go straight to Google Images. In almost all of the stories I heard, this is how someone was first exposed to pornography Google Image searching. The average age of first exposure in my experience was 9 years old.
  2. If Your Child was Ever Molested, You Likely Don’t Know: Another extremely common theme was children being inappropriately touched…
  3. Your Child is Not the Exception…

The focus of this article is on the conversation, not the action, though as parents, you need to be aware of the fact young children are experiencing these things. I feel the need to clarify none of these actions make someone a “bad” person. While this specific list does contain things many people with a Christian background consider to be sin, it is lack of communication that makes this dangerous at this age. If your child is uninformed or uneducated about things they need to know based on what is appropriate for their age and sexual development, regardless of your beliefs, it leads to shame and self-doubt.

Ask them what they know.

Ask them what they’ve done.

Ask them what’s been done to them.

Show grace and love. Stay far away from judgment and condemnation.”

One of the many roles I had as a counselor at a school was child safety educator, and I would have to agree with her three points. In a recent study done, “90 % of children ages 8 to 16 have viewed pornography online most while doing homework.” (Covenant Eyes) I share more startling stats here on kids exposure to pornography.

One common theme I hear over and over again is how our kids know more than parents think they do about sex. Let me share with you how this plays out (believe me, I’ve had countless kids in my office sharing this very thing): A student is trying to protect the naivety of their parents, so when their curiosity is sparked via an innocent encounter (or not so innocent), they don’t go to the parent because they don’t want to disappoint them with the reality that they already know about sex or want to know more. So their search for knowledge begins by not necessarily seeking inappropriate material. However, when you Google “Sex,” you’re going to get everything from facts to X-rated material.

So let’s not continue being naive or wanting to believe that our tween or teenager is the exception. Obviously, we need to take into account our child’s age and what we share, but don’t be afraid to have these discussions with your children. If you don’t educate them, someone else will.

These excerpts of Anne’s experience are shared with permission. You can get the full article here at her blog, Anne Marie Miller.

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