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Book Review: Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality by Jim Burns

Say your kid walks in from school one day and the conversation goes something like this:

  • James: “Hey mommy I got to ask you something?”
  • Mom: “Ok James. What’s on your mind?”
  • James: “What does the word ‘sex’ mean?”
  • Mom: “Oh dear…”

I bet many of you parents have had that same conversation in your house or something similar. Depending on your story the word “sex” can either be a word that has negative or positive connotations to it. I am not sure how you guys had “the talk” growing up but my tutelage on sex usually came in “locker-room” conversations and not from my parents. Unfortunately, our children are more likely to hear sex from media or other sources and by the time talk about it they may know more than we do.

Jim Burns, President of HomeWord and Executive Director of the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University, is the author of this wonderful book called Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality. I purchased this book probably five years ago and on a whim decided I should read it and took it off my shelf. I should have read it years ago.

The book is a practical approach at how to come alongside of your children to teach, coach and train them in ways to think healthy when it comes to sex. By “healthy” he means approaching the subject with a God-centric mentality. He spends the greater part of a chapter coming up with a theology on sex. The good part is that God loves sex and we should to but within the confines of its ordained place: marriage. Dr. Burns tackles the tough issues and does not shy away from handling these conversations but does so with grace.

For me as a dad, the best section he discusses is the chapter on creating a plan and a purpose for discussing age-appropriate developmental issues. There is no such thing as “the talk” and Dr. Burns is quick to note that it is a bunch of talks handling a bunch of issues over time.

I recommend this book as a primer for parents to initiate these conversations with their children. Many of them, I think, are like me where you are just wondering: “Where in the world do I start?” Start with this book. I am serious. It is that important. I also think this is a must read for youth and children’s ministry staff which should serve as an introduction for all sex discussions within the youth group.[1]

Quotes…

  • Sex is better when couples have a spiritual connection, and sex is not better if you live together before marriage. (p. 16)
  • Another troubling aspect of the crisis is that sex fools kids into “instant intimacy.” When young people become physically intimate with each other and then break up, it leaves scars…The more I saw a negative change in the emotional health of students who had just broken up, the more I heard they had been sexually involved. (p. 23)
  • No matter how hard you try, you will not be able to keep your kids in a bubble long enough to not be influenced or impacted by the culture’s view on sex. (p. 33)
  • SEX IS ENJOYABLE. ([Emphasis mine 😉 p. 36)
  • Modesty is actually more than wearing non-revealing clothes. Modesty applies to the way we act, dress and live. (p. 54)
  • The most effective way to teach healthy sexuality is to take advantage of spontaneous teachable moments whenever possible instead of more formal talks. (p. 72)
  • Frankly, you aren’t running a popularity contest as a parent. You are, in fact, in the protection business. (p. 86)
  • Oral sex is sex…Our sexuality is based on so much more than just intercourse, and this needs to be communicated to kids. (p. 91)
  • I have several friends who are women. I love them and respect them, but I also know that in order to keep the relationship healthy, I need to set good boundaries. (p. 126)

 

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[1] Especially helpful was Chapter 6 that deals with sex abuse issues. Ministry folks recognizing the signs and signals of sex abuse could be the difference in a young person’s life.