The time has arrived when my 11 year old son is asking me hard questions. He will begin middle school next year and if memory serves me correctly, I knew it all by then. At least I thought I did. I am sure the kids on the playground have hashed this stuff all out, but last night he asked me what ejaculation meant. This leads me to believe that at his young friends have left some stuff out and he needs some good information. Does anyone have any recommendations for books that can aid in adolescent sex education? Looks like the Church would have a class on wednesday nights to cover this subject.
[quote=JackPaul]Does anyone have any recommendations for books that can aid in adolescent sex education?
I think one of the problems we can have is still thinking of it as “sex education”. When addressing these issues with my children (my oldest boy is 10 1/2 ), we talk about God’s plan for marriage and family.
I remember being handed a “sex education” book by my Mother with the comment “please ask me if you have any questions”. Well, there weren’t too many questions. Instead, this book indirectly led me straight out of the Church. Why, it told me masturbation was normal and natural. Heck, I didn’t even know what masturbation was at that point, but the book sure led me to figuring it out.
Next thing I knew, I believed if the Church was wrong on masturbation, it must be wrong on pre-marital sex, and then it was wrong on a bunch of things that were pleasurable. After quitting for years, I literally no longer believed that Jesus was Lord.
I am late for work so I have to be brief. Web search on Jason Evert. His book is probably available right here on Catholic Answers.
He and many others now strongly state that it is harmful to give explicit details on intercourse. All it does is feed the adolescent male’s imagination and become itself a “near occasion for sin”. There isn’t anyone who has gotten married and not been able to figure out how “it” is done. Instead focus on the Church’s teaching on chastity, marriage, family.
Another resource to learn from would be Christopher West. Also, read any online articles by Jason Evert or Christopher West. Besides teaching our children, they are good for us as well.
Whatever you do, read it first and make sure you aren’t leading them astray. Good luck.
I agree with Bob. My Parents gave me details with no moral education. Just the don’t do it until your married! Um, why? LOL!
My eldest is only 9, but he has several friends from broken families, and my brother divorced, so ever since then, we have discussed the importance of marriage and what the Church teaches. Our hope is that further sex discussions will just fall in line with what has already been introduced.
I’d suggest Ignatius Press, www.omsoul.com, Jason Evert’s books right here at Catholic Answers, and resources found in the family section of an orthodox Catholic bookstore. Sexuality should always be taught within the context of marriage, family, and a wholistic view of the person.
It’s normal for him to have questions. Also, since he’s going into public middle school check to see if his school has a ‘sex ed’ program and make sure he does NOT attend unless it is an abstinence only program. These programs tend to be Planned Parenthood style sex ed, which teaches kids that “anything goes” and it’s normal for them to be having sex-- just be “safe”.
This wasnt my post but thanks guys
I hadnt thought of teaching the morals rather than the how-to.
My son sometimes says he would like a brother or sister. As I am divorced, I tell him I cant have any more children unless I am married.
I suppose in a way I am teaching him my morals too.
I have heard some women say to their kids that they can have a brother or sister if he/she can find them a man or boyfriend.
Its true waht one of you said…once you are married its very easy to work out what goes where to make babies, and that is the thing we should emphasise to our children…sex is for reproducing.
You should read “Good News About Sex and Marriage” by Christopher West also. He extrapolates and explains the Churchs stance on nearly every question you could have about sex. Check out his website also.
I don’t know about your parish, but my parish (A Campus Newman Center) and other Newman Centers I know have Theology of the Body program once a week several times a quarter. I’d check with parishes near you and see if they have these Theology of the Body study sessions. Hope that helps.
I just joined the forums, but I hope you will rush to your nearest Catholic bookstore and buy Beyond the Birds and the Bees by Gregory Popcak. By eldest is 12, and I read this book a couplke of years ago. it should be issued at Baptism! It will give you so many ideas about discussing the beauty of a true Catholic understanding of sexuality. I gave to one of my girlfriends who has 2 sons and is divorced. Her husband masturbated all the time and she is worried about how to teach her boys correct sexual morality and including God, when their father is a complete non-believer, and selfish.
Anyway, this book covers all ages of your child’s development and understanding, starting at birth.
We started a couple of years ago pointing out that you can’t know about a person just from looking at him. This is because DD was starting to notive that boys are cute:p .
This is so hard to deal with in today’s society.
Can’t remember who said it, but I love this quote regarding sex ed: “Kids don’t need information, they need formation.” Most of our sex ed is really all about seeing mom and dad interacting with eachother. I think kids need to see their dad and mom hug once in a while. They need to see dad come home from work and give his first attention to their mom, not to their latest craft project. I think seeing us serve eachother and sacrifice for eachother is much more important than an anatomy lesson . It sounds a bit weird but they are getting a lot of that information from experiences and books on nature etc, not to mention having siblings of the opposite sex (ie "where sister’s penis?? ). I think that is about all they need to know right now, and I am astounded how much some other kids know from movies etc.
FYI, our oldest is 9 years old and we have 5 kids. Someday, I expect we will give them the formal anatomy lesson too, but right now, they simply need to know what marriage and family is really all about.
PS. Sometimes they will initiate questions. Some we will answer, some we simply say “I will tell you someday, but not for a few years”.
Popcak’s book is excellent.
I’ve had the discussion with my (then) 12 year-old daughter. She’s very spiritual, so the discussion was easy. The talk centered around God’s plan for us and how Satan can twist, warp and destroy that plan. I explained that our sexuality is one of the most beautiful gifts that God has given to us, and it is meant to be shared only within the sacred blessing of a sacramental marriage. Of course, this also involved a lengthy explanation of the differecne between love and lust, between what one believes (in the heat of the moment) one may want and what God has intended for us.
I also made it clear that losing one’s innocence is a finite, final act, and once gone that innocence is irretrievable, just as Adam and Eve lost their innocence with a single act. I stayed away from the “saving herself for her husband” routine as I believe that trivializes the gift God has given us.
I only wish that someone had sat down with me and explained this when I was 12. :banghead: I could have saved myself a lot of heartache and a lot of baggage.
I would rather be the one telling my child about sex than have her pick up misconceptions from other kids. I started talking to her when she was 6 years old (to lay the groundwork), then more at about 8 (more technical information about female puberty), and again at 10 (to review and discuss boys’ development, very generally). I believe that a little info at a time is easier for you and your child. I also emphasized that parents should talk about this with their own children and sex is not something that kids should be educating each other about (because kids get it wrong and because it is each parent’s responsibility).
I basically got my sex education from school with my Catholic parents providing Catholic pamphlets which basically said “DON"T…” When I was in college (a liberal, eastern Ivy league college), I was stunned by how my women friends were not only ignorant but wrong about sex. Many adult women that I know believe their parents did an inadequate job of sex ed and I didn’t want my daughter to feel that way.
I tried to anticipate my daughter’s need for information so that she would have enough facts and would be less vulnerable to the misinformation spread by kids. My intention was to make it clear that she could approach me with questions. As it turns out, she really doesn’t ask questions and always seems to be less than thrilled to talk about it. I bought several technical books, went over them with her, left them where she could look at them when she wanted, and encouraged her to do so, but she never has (to my knowledge). I think she is appreciated and was pleased by my pro-active approach, especially this year when she got sex ed in her co-ed health class. Plus I am very outspoken about my moral views on everything (!) and discuss with her adultery, abortion, teen sex, and similar.
When I was looking for books, I did not find much in the way of Catholic books. The following are books that I have on my shelf, listed in the order that I like them.
“Growing and Changing, A Handbook for Preteens” by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman, MD–straight discussion on puberty; chapters on “How Boys Grow and Change”, “How Girls Grow and Change”, “How to talk to your parents”; nothing controversial, just straight information for pre-teens.
“Sex and the New You” by Rich Bimler–the “learning about sex series for the Christian family”; this is for the 11 - 14 year old, others in series for different age levels); a Lutheran publication, frequent Biblical references.
“Where did I come from? The facts of life without any nonsense and with illustrations” by Peter Mayle (of “A Year in Provence” fame)–cartoon drawings; you are either going to like this or hate it; a little too cute and hip for me.
“How to Talk to your Child about Sex” by Linda and Richard Eyre–for parents; the Fundamentalist Christian authors told each of their 9 children everything when the child is 8 years old!
“The Big Talk, Talking to your Child about sex and dating” by Laurie Langford–another parenting book to help you.
When it came time to talk to our two oldest boys about this a few years ago, there were a paucity of Catholic books on this subject for pre-teens. We ended up going to a non-Catholic Christian bookstore where there was more selection. We were able to find satisfactory materials to base our conversations with them, but we had to be highly selective. If you have no other choices locally and decide to to use this approach, there are a few caveats:
Make sure you know yourself what the Church teaches in this area so you can recognize material that either confirms or denies what we as Catholics believe. Previous posters have given some good references.
Always present the material in the context of God’s plan for marriage. If you have not been taking to them regularly about spiritual matters to this point, start now.
Make sure the material is not too explicit (yes, you can find that at Christian bookstores too) and is age appropriate. If you feel uncomfortable presenting something to your children, you probably shouldn’t.
For most non-Catholic Christians, artificial birth control is a perfectly good option. Don’t use materials that have this view–even if you explain to them it is against Church teaching, it’s not a good idea to have it around the house.
Not exactly light reading for the teen/pre-teen set, but here is a great Vatican document for parents on the true meaning of human sexuality:
I would recommend Dr. Coleen, from catholic answers the dr. is in, sex respect book and get the parent guide too. You can get to her website from CA external links. The books were approved for use in schools, and are an abstenace based program with morals. Wonderful material.
I found a great book a couple of years ago that covers discussing sexuality, as God intended it, for all ages of children. It’s called “Beyond the Birds and the Bees” by Gregory Popcak. I highly recommend it. God be with you!
Thanks for all the great response to this thread. I have found “Sex and the New You” at our local Catholic Bookstore and I will order “Beyond the Birds and the Bees” next time I get on Amazon. my son read and we talked about the “Sex and the New You” book. He was a liittle embarrased, and admitted that most of the stuff he had already learned on the playground, but there was a lot of new stuff. He also got a little more details than he expected. Most of our conversation was about Gods plan for us, the miracle of life and how we need to honor and respect those two things. At least he wont be the kid in middle school who is giggeling about the things he doesn’t understand.Thanks again for all the great suggestions.
I have a daughter with Down syndrome (23 years old), who was recently put in a Health class in which sex ed is taught, through her vocational school.
I am all for the health class but not for the sex ed portion. They teach and show photos of male genitalia, safe sex (contraception), and that masturbation is a safe option instead of sex.
I have opted in for the health part of the class, and made a clear “opt out” of the sex ed portion.
I’m really put off by this teacher, she is pressuring me that my daughter needs to learn all portions of this class due to it being a “safety issue” in her life as a special ed student.
I wrote to this teacher that “We teach and talk about God’s plan for marriage and the family, with a non negotiable view on abstinence before marriage. And I don’t think it is a safety issue by not teaching my daughter what the school wants her to learn about sex.”
I’m actually offended by what this teacher said, and by another statement she made.
I have been trying to research “Catholic” books on this topic, so I can continue to teach my daughter. I can clearly see that there needs to be some new books written on this topic from a Catholic prospective. Slim pickings out there!
I’m thankful I found what I did through this post, and am going to purchase some of the books mentioned. With Gods help, I can teach my daughter appropriately.
Maybe I can get someone from the Church school to teach on this subject as an evening class. My big problem is adapting the curriculum to my daughters comprehension level. Because of her having Downs, she is very impressionable and innocent. I don’t want to break that innocence either.
Even though this thread was from many years ago, I found it very helpful.
Thanks, Have a blessed day!
As a young adult, it’s important for your daughter to have access to legit information.