Sex, Children and Purity

I’ve posted a couple of times before about children growing up too fast and the oversexualisation of young children. I still get regular search engine hits on my blog from people looking for answers about how to deal with sensitive subjects with their children.

How old should my kids be before I talk to them about sex? What should I tell them? Are my children being influenced by what they see on television or the internet? How can I help my children to stay pure? These are some of the questions with which many parents struggle.

Our kids are having their sexuality awakened a long time before they’re mature enough to make responsible decisions regarding their bodies. Can’t we just let kids be kids?

I was amused a couple of years back when we were having a family picnic in a park to see a group of very young girls, perhaps around the age of 11 or 12, who were all dressed in skimpy skirts and tiny tops playing on the playground equipment. They had bought the lie that they had to look ’sexy’ but deep inside what they really wanted to do was play like the children that they were.

Padded bras and lacy underwear sets are just a couple of the items that are being sold and aggresively marketed to girls aged from 7 to 12 in our shopping centres. Sex is being used to sell pretty much everything and it seems that it doesn’t matter who a product is being marketed to, sex sells.

“If the message is that you should be sexy and grown up, instead of being a kid – then kids aren’t practicing and learning how to be whole human beings that will actually make them into great adults. They are instead only imitating adult behaviour, without understanding it – and that’s very dangerous for their development”. – Amanda Gordon. President, Australian Psychology Society.

“I tell parents, ‘don’t buy sexy clothes for your children’. There’s nothing smart about having a 4 yr old in a little bra. It’s time for adults to take a stand, for parents to take a stand and say ‘this is what we want for our children’ – instead of children saying ‘this is what I want for me”. – Amanda Gordon. President, Australian Psychology Society.

“There is a concern that we are sending very conflicting messages to people. On the one hand, we’re telling people that children need to be protected – that paedophilia is regarded as one of the most heinous crimes – on the other hand we allow advertisers and marketers to present images and saturate our media with images that might be sexually arousing to some paedophiles in the community.” – Dr Louise Newman. Director, Institute of Psychiatry.

“Childhood is shrinking. We are exposing children to adult concepts that they can’t manage, that are developmentally inappropriate, and I think we are going to pay the cost for this in a range of emotional and psychological costs down the track.” – Dr Joe Tucci. Australian Childhood Foundation.

“Sex is being used to grab the attention of not just adults but kids as well. If the multibillion dollar ‘tween’ market is any indication, it’s a sales pitch that’s working”. – Dr Karen Brooks. Senior Lecturer Communication & Cultural Studies, University of Sunshine Coast.

“It is folly for us to pretend that the trend towards sexualisation of childrens fashion and advertising is harmless. It is part of a cynical but savage fight for our spending dollar, and the earlier children are pressed into thinking sexually, the earlier they will act sexually”. –
Rob Robertson. Ministerial co-ordinator, Australia. Setting Captives Free.

In this sex saturated society, avoiding the topic with our children simply hands the responsibility to someone else. Our kids will hear about sex one way or another so we need to decide if we want our children to hear about our values or the values of Holywood and the marketers.

If you’re struggling with what to say and do in this regard, you may be interested in a couple of new websites.

Purity Paradigm is a website dedicated to a Christian understanding of purity. This is not just a ‘say no’ kind of website. It’s a site that comes from a real understanding of the issues. It’s written by Heather McEwan and it comes from life experience and a true desire to understand how to help young people make choices that won’t come back and bite them in later life. I wrote an endorsement for Heather after having her as a guest on my morning radio programme some time ago.

Heather McEwan is so obviously passionate about ‘doing family well’ especially in matters of purity. That passion is displayed not only in the way that she presents her material but in the material itself.

Heather speaks from experience backed up by exhaustive research. When Heather talks about a subject you can guarantee that she has consulted a number of sources to ensure she is presenting the very best.

Heather’s heart is burdened by her desire to see young people growing into mature adults, free from the emotional hurts and scars that can come from wrong decisions.

She is also passionate about seeing people of all ages find healing and release from past decisions, allowing them to move confidently into the future God has planned for them.

If you want to keep up with some of the other things that occupy Heather’s heart and mind, check out her new blog Mama Frazzle.

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About the author

Rodney Olsen

Rodney is a husband, father, cyclist, blogger and podcaster from Perth Western Australia.

He previously worked in radio for about 25 years but these days he spends his time at Compassion Australia, working towards releasing children from poverty in Jesus' name.

The views he expresses here are his own.

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  • Rodney, this topic is so close to my heart for many reasons. Thanks for writing about it. We need to keep talking about this and hopefully stop the “trend” of our children becoming sexualized at an early age. Nothing good comes from it, only heartache, pain and more problems with society.

  • Quote- “It is folly for us to pretend that the trend towards sexualisation of childrens fashion and advertising is harmless.”

    So very true! Don’t even get me started on things like Bratz dolls…

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