Keep Talking

The goal is on on-going conversation. Starting early and often.  Ultimately, you want your kids to look at you as a trusted, safe source of information so they come to you for more conversations down the road.

After teaching them “the drill”, here are some age-appropriate talking points during your on-going conversations with your children, compiled by the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia:

Newborn to Five Years Old

  • Tell your children they are a child of God and are valuable in His sight and yours.
  • Create family traditions and rituals.
  • Remember you are your child’s protector. Be a witness to love and build trust in the home.
  • Teach the privacy and sacredness of the body.

Grades 1-3

  • Continue to remind your children they are a child of God and have great dignity.
  • Teach appropriate boundaries for touching and the expression of emotion.
  • Give permission for your child to say “no.”
  • Begin to educate your children in the virtues.
  • Teach your children that they are called to be a gift. Put in language they can understand.
  • Use stories to teach your children about sacrifice and giving of themselves. Often, stories of a hero in movies or books are good for initiating this conversation.
  • Pray with your children.
  • Establish accountability filters on all your devices that connect to the Internet.

Grades 4-6

  • Help your children to internalize that every person is a child of God, worthy of being treated with kindness and respect for his/her dignity.
  • Remind children they are smart and you trust them to make good choices.
  • Be aware of your children’s friends.
  • Guard against sexual exposure – a child’s innocence must always be protected.
  • Encourage our children’s sense of dignity.
  • Be the first to initiate conversations with your child about sexuality. Establish yourself as a place your child should turn to find out the truth about sex and sexuality.

Middle School

  • Explain that God calls us to love one another and the opposite of love is to use someone for our own wants. To use another person is always wrong.
  • Praise your children for the good they do.
  • Teach children to set goals for themselves and help them understand how to achieve their goals and what can keep them from reaching those goals.
  • Listen to your children – they need to know you care and value them.
  • Periodically, and without warning, parents should look through their child’s mobile devices for questionable content, text messages or apps.
  • When processing sexualized content (whether in pornography or advertising), discuss who is behind the message, who is it geared towards, what effect they are trying to garner, and what values it supports.
  • Guide appropriate dress and self-respect.

High school

  • Know God’s plan for the gift of human sexuality in marriage and teach it to your children.
  • Know and explain the difference between love and infatuation.
  • Teach your children that the definition of love is to will the good of the other and unpack that meaning with them.
  • Help set healthy sexual boundaries by:
    • Establishing guidelines for dating.
    • Reminding them that pornography is a counterfeit of love.
    • Teaching them that sexual violence is always wrong and they should never be forced or coerced into anything sexual.