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PARENTING

Seven Tips for Teaching Your Kids About Intimacy

New Life Ministries

CBN.com How effectively are you, as parents, modeling intimacy for your children? Do they see you talking in caring and loving ways to each other, or do they see you avoiding issues and being distant? Do you model unhealthy behaviors, even addictions, that teach them about avoiding or medicating their feelings?

If you are to be successful at teaching your kids to value healthy intimacy in relationships including the relationship with their future spouses, then you'll need to do your best to model it for them, first with your spouse and then with your kids.

Here is a checklist of ways to demonstrate intimacy as you interact:

1. Talk with your kids, not at them. Be a good listener. (This rule applies to interactions with your spouse as well!)

2. Don't demand that your kids answer your questions. Give them the freedom to talk when they feel safe to do so.

3. Admit to your kids when you have been wrong. Don't be afraid that they will use this admission against you later. Don't model blaming behavior in front of them. Accept responsibility. Model how to make changes and/or restitution for mistakes you have made. Children will respect a person who knows how to admit failure and is willing to make changes. They don't need perfect parents.

4. Talk with your kids about your feelings. Describe to them times when you have been angry, lonely, frightened or sad. Don't expect them to "fix" your feelings. It is even appropriate to shed tears in front of children as long as they don't feel the responsibility to solve your problems.

5. Allow your children to be angry with you. Teach them how to do this in acceptable ways that are not damaging to you or others. Model healthy expressions of anger in ways that are neither physically violent nor emotionally dramatic.

6. When your children are sad, lonely, or frightened, don't try to talk them out of it or solve their problems for them. Listen, listen, listen!

7. Demonstrate problem-solving skills to your kids. Help them define the true nature of problems. Show them alternative solutions and teach them a process for reaching a decision. Allow them to fail at their decisions as long as that failure won't bring permanent consequences.

As you teach your children to be honest by modeling with your spouse and with them how to risk sharing their feelings with others, they will learn about the kind of emotional intimacy that is crucial to healthy adult sexuality.


Excerpted from the book Talking to Your Kids about Sex by Mark Laaser, Ph.D. Used by permission of New Life Ministries. Help is available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can contact us at 1-800-NEW-LIFE. or visit our Web site at www.newlife.com.

 

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