In this episode, Dr. Gilbert discusses the importance of beginning conversations with our children earlier than we probably thing. He has observed that most parents arrive at these conversations too late, if they ever get to them at all. When these parents have “the talk”, they find that it has little impact on their child’s beliefs or behavior as their sexual ethic has already been solidified. You MUST be ahead of the curve if you want to be influential.
In their first five years, a child is investigating the world and absorbing everything around them. These years are a critical foundation for all that is to come. What happens, and what does not happen, in these years matters. Healthy touch matters. Vocabulary and ethic building occurs, even if very little language is yet present. During this stage of life, children are absorbing the “energy” of the home and environment.
Here are some pointers that will make this very doable — even fun.Remember, you are shaping a future dad or mom, husband or wife, lover, leader, and adult — even at age two!
Use every incident possible as a teaching moment.
Use correct vocabulary. When we use nicknames for body parts instead of using the appropriate term, we run the risk of creating shame around that part of the body. It is also beneficial to know the proper terminologyfor their body when they must speak to a doctor or if they are ever in a position to have to speak to someone about a traumatic event.
Be honest if you do not know the answer to their question, but then look it up and tell them what you found.
Challenge the stereotypes — have your son cook and clean and your daughter learn to turn off the electricity and replace a plug or light switch. Help your daughters gain skills and strength and help your sons grow in sensitivity and gentleness. Do not let them miss the opposite of each of these either. Help them see the need society has for men that are strong, yet gentle, and women that are tender with incredible strength.
Remember that our children’s preparation is on us as parents.We must remain vigilant on the front lines for our children’s sakes. We need to remain current in our knowledge of what is being portrayed in the media and advocated for in public policy so that we will be prepared to address issues our children will be facing.
The impact will be the greatest if you begin micro-conversationsin their first few years of life. This is setting the stage for what is normal. Will they still be awkward? Potentially, yes. Do they have to be? No. A lot of this will depend on our own comfort level, confidence, and conviction as we remind ourselves why we are having these hard conversations.It is because we want to be PROACTIVEin preparing them for what is to come.
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