Awkward or Not, Talk to Your Child!

50 shades of grey

The book Fifty Shades of Grey associates love and romance with sadomasochism and humiliation.  Planned Parenthood references the book when telling 15-year-old girls that dominance, role-playing, and inflicting pain by way of sadomasochism is “okay” as long as it’s “consensual.”

On Valentine’s Day, Universal Studios will release Fifty Shades of Grey in theaters across the country.

Parents, no matter how awkward it might be, you must talk to your children about intimacy—what it is, and what it is not.   To help you stop procrastinating, Miriam Grossman, M.D., offers wise counsel based on her unique position as a child and adolescent psychiatrist.

Some of you may know Dr. Grossman as the author of You’re Teaching My Child What? and Unprotected.  I have great respect for Grossman who uses science to refute politically-correct feminism and other such folly.  Last year, I helped the pregnancy center in my hometown sponsor Grossman on the campuses of two state universities and our local community college.   Her message opened the eyes of smart kids who succeed academically, yet are ill-equipped to resist a highly sexualized culture.  But, Grossman did more.  She appealed to the responsible, loving parents of teens who have avoided honest discussions with sons and daughters about what sexual intimacy is—and what it isn’t.

This Valentine’s Day, Hollywood will entice your daughter to join with her peers in viewing Fifty Shades of Grey on the big screen.   Grossman writes,

With Universal Picture’s mega million dollar publicity campaign, and a soundtrack by Beyonce, your child is about to be bombarded with a dangerous message about romance.  Fifty Shades of Grey teaches your daughter that pain and humiliation are erotic, and your son that girls want a guy who controls, intimidates, and threatens.  In short, the film portrays emotional and physical abuse as sexually arousing to both parties.  You know these are foul lies, but your kids may not be sure.  If the world was a better place, they would never hear such awful things.  But this is the world we live in.”

Parents, don’t be intimidated!  Turn the darkness of Fifty Shades of Grey to your advantage!  Connect with your child in a life-influencing way.  Use the billboards, previews, and sound clips as opportunities to talk to your child about manipulation, right vs. wrong, healthy vs. unhealthy.  Grossman says that all the hype about this movie can be a “springboard for discussion about disturbed relationships—how to recognize and avoid them.”

Grossman will be providing a series of blogs on her website during the next few weeks.  She will explain the dangers this film poses to your sons and daughters, but also provide tips on how to speak with them.  Grossman plans to write a letter to your child which you, the parent, can use as you think appropriate.  For now, Grossman offers two suggestions that can help moms, dads, and grandparents get the discussion started.  I’ve added suggestions #3 and 4:

  1. Gain some credibility with your child by learning about the film’s plot and main characters—Christian and Anastasia.  You can read a synopsis on Wikipedia or, if you want more, there is more detail at the Book Spoiler (be warned: there is obscene language).
  2. Identify some opportunities for private and uninterrupted time with your child.  This may be in the car or while working together in the kitchen or garage.  If you don’t think it’s going to happen, consider a bribe: There’s something really important I want to talk about.  If you turn your phone off for fifteen minutes while we chat, I’ll give you five bucks.  (Grossman finds nothing wrong with this kind of “bribe.”)
  3. Pray.  If talking about the intimacies of sex has always been awkward for you as a parent, pray for wisdom from the Creator of your child.  Pray for help in contrasting God’s design for sex in marriage with the world’s idea of sex at any time, with anyone, and in any way.
  4. Order Grossman’s book, You’re Teaching My Child What? and, while you’re at it, consider ordering mine, The Failure of Sex Education in the Church: Mistaken Identity, Compromised Purity (Amazon) or visit Our Identity Matters.

Some may defend Fifty Shades of Grey.  I join with Grossman to defend children against it.

 

 

 

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