When Kids Ask Hard Questions

Volume 2: More Faith-filled Responses for Tough Topics

I’m thrilled to have an essay in this important and helpful book. My essay “Kids are Ready: Intimacy and Bodies” addresses the importance of talking to kids early and often about our bodies and our desire for closeness with other people so that when kids begin puberty and have sexual feelings there is an established vocabulary and trust there to build on. I have worked with teenagers about sex, sexuality, gender, dating and intimacy for years, and now that I have little kids, I am practicing and exploring the age appropriate conversations around these topics with younger kids, too.

Below a brief description of the book, you’ll find the introduction to my essay. I go on to offer practical suggestions for how to talk to kids about bodies and intimacy while exploring why it is important to do so in faith settings.

From the creators of When Kids Ask Hard Questions comes MORE questions—and thank goodness, responses!—on today’s tough topics. In an increasingly complex world, children deserve thoughtful responses informed by our progressive faith values. In this second volume for parents, teachers, and faith leaders, respected experts, pastors, and parents address more than two dozen tough topics, offering theological perspectives and suggestions for comforting and spiritually guiding children.  

Topics include:

  • identity: race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender
  • immigration
  • school, education, school choice
  • disability, health topics, hospitalization
  • mental Illness and mental health: anxiety, depression
  • social change and social justice
  • environmental issues
  • war & injustice
  • sexual abuse

Kids are Ready:

Intimacy and Bodies

By Ellie Roscher

It is never too soon to start conversations with our kids that encourage wholeness and healthy relationships. It is possible and important to couch these conversations in terms of faith. Many parents and faith educators respond to these sentiments of mine with a tinge of anxiety and trepidation because their minds immediately go to sex, and sex can be intimidating to talk about. In worrying that our kids are not ready to talk about sex, however, we avoid foundational conversations with them around intimacy and bodies that build trust and a shared vocabulary. We wait too long, so when we later broach the topic of sex, it feels out of context and uncomfortable. When young people do start having sexual feelings, they aren’t sure who to go to or how to talk openly about the topic.

            Our adult silence creates space for confusion, shame, and misinformation to fester in kids. Thoughts like “I am not normal,” “My feelings are bad,” and “There is something wrong with me” lurk beneath the surface. Our willingness to talk about intimacy and bodies breaks the hold of secrecy and encourages our young people to grow in safe and healthy communities.

            Starting conversations with our kids about intimacy and bodies before they have sexual feelings helps us eliminate the misstep of narrowing our focus too much on sex, when all kids hear us say is what they shouldn’t be feeling, thinking or doing. Talking to our kids early and often about intimacy and bodies lets the topic breathe and exist without shame, confusion, and embarrassment, and live in a realm where we can claim and celebrate all the facets of ourselves, created in the divine image of God.