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Unconditional love can open doors to communication
This week’s episode of “Confessions” spoke about a young lady who became a sex addict simply because she was inappropriately introduced to a sex act and at a very young age.
By seven she was masturbating without even being aware of what she was doing. This started because her play dates with a trusted friend of the same age and the same sex included what she thought were tickles. Chances are, the other little girl was also none the wiser. Very innocently these two girls learnt what an orgasm felt like and just like candy they wanted more.
If I say this is very common most parents will do what they do best. They will climb into their wonderful chamber of denial.
Guess what, just like the young lady that confessed on television this Sunday, I too can relate to her story. I sat in the interview feeling relieved, because I thought I was the only little girl that ever had a masturbation problem.
And guess what...this column would be the first time my parents or any of my relatives will hear of it.
I was an A student in primary school. I showed no interest in boys. I passed for my first choice. I was the captain of my hockey and football team. I trained at national level. I stood at assembly frequently to be recognised for my achievements. I was the perfect little daughter. Except I was addicted to orgasms and all the issues that came with it.
So how do we bring up stuff like this with our kids? Unfortunately my column does not allow for enough time to properly go into detail, but the first step is to bravely climb out of the denial chamber. After removing yourself from denial-ville please do not enter home of judgment. Standing on your holy box may be even worse than living quietly in denial.
Have you ever bad talked the neighbour’s child? Guess what, your child may be doing the very same act and because she is witnessing your judgment towards the neighbour she dare not open up to you.
“If dat was my child I woulda”
“I so glad das not my chile nah”
“I doh know what I woulda do if dat was my chile”
How many of us are guilty of saying these things?
Or do we observe the shortcomings of others with compassion and empathy? If our children view us as compassionate they will be far more likely to be open. If they view us as imperfect beings striving daily to be better, then they will be more likely to open up rather than if they saw us as picture perfect people who are easily disappointed by lesser mortals who can’t seem to get their act together.
Starting the sexual conversation
Speaking of disappointment. Sometimes our past is so horrible that we go overboard trying to protect our children and in the end that is the very reason they go astray without us realising. They are so afraid to disappoint us that they would rather just hide their imperfections.
If Jess became pregnant at 16 I will love her still. I will still be proud of her and I will still show her off to the world. I will be hurt for sure, but God loves me in spite of all my shortcomings and we are called to love unconditionally, just as He loves.
Are our children assured of that unconditional love? A child that knows they will be loved regardless will be more likely to share their shortcomings and if they share them, logic says we are then in a better position to help them heal and grow.
On my YouTube channel I have a playlist called “Keeping their bodies safe.” This is designed to help you start the sexual conversation with your toddler so that games that innocently may lead to that oh so wonderful tingling feeling will be avoided. The series will help equip them to determine on their own which games are inappropriate and therefore avoid them, without you actually having a conversation about masturbation and orgasms at such a young age.
I will attempt to write these tips over the next few weeks for those whose only access to my advice is this column. Not sure how effective it will be in writing, so I unfortunately can make no promises. As you know, I always leave room for the Holy Spirit to guide my hands, hence the reason my reluctance to make you a firm promise.
Until next week, may you be filled with peace and joy and may grace carry you even further along your parenting adventure.
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