As my daughter enters puberty it is my prayer that she wait until marriage to be sexually intimate. I know that is not everyone's philosophy, but it is our family's.
I plan on teaching my daughter the benefits of waiting until her wedding night to give away one of the most precious things she has. It's not going to be easy though. She's got the deck stacked against her with her Bipolar Disorder diagnosis and a whole host of other co-morbid disorders. Bipolar by itself is enough to say it will be nearly impossible to wait. One of the characteristics of Bipolar Disorder is hyper-sexuality. This is certainly something we've seen when Princess was unstable. This means that my daughter is more likely to become sexually promiscuous or worse be taken advantage of by someone who has a skewed sense of what love is.
I am very concerned that my child could possibly have a child on her own and not be ready to raise it. I've talked with our therapist about my fear that I'd have to raise my own grandchildren. I've seen firsthand grandparents who are raising their grandchildren while they are in their golden years. Some of whom are exhausted. Many of these grandchildren are Bipolar themselves as it is is a genetic disorder. This translates into grandparents having a second round dealing with all of the challenges that having a child with Bipolar disorder encompasses.
One thing that I'm hoping is helpful to her is knowing that I was able to wait for marriage. Instead of telling her not to be like me, I can encourage her to be like me.
Of course, if she did have a child out of wedlock my husband and I would help her raise it. We would not deny that child love.
So what I am to do to ensure that my daughter have the best possible chance of having the most amazing wedding night like I did? For one, I am praying for her and asking others in my prayer circles to do the same. I am also talking about it with her on kid friendly terms. My husband and I are trying to protect her heart and mind from images and stories in the media that teach the opposite of what we are trying to instill in her. I'm working especially hard to keep the lines of communication open. This seems to be a key component to this.
I feel like Princess is still so young to be talking about her sexuality, but there are a few things pointing in the direction that I need to get my A game on. She is very bright and curious. She recently asked me what the word rape meant. She also asked me what the movie "Fifty Shades of Gray" was about. These are words and phrases that she hears on TV commercials, on the radio or even on the schoolyard. I answered her in a way that I felt was best without revealing too much too soon.
I shared our family beliefs that when man and woman are married, they are allowed to touch each others privates. I explained that if someone were to touch her without her permission, that would be considered rape.
I do worry that a boy may say to her, "Well if you loved me..." I hope that she'll have the confidence to respond back with, "If you respect me, you won't pressure me." I also hope that she'll have the courage to get out of any relationship or situation that makes her feel uncomfortable.
Since my daughter has special needs, I have to take extra precautions with her by talking about scenarios and role playing her responses to them. This will need to be done many times over the course of her preteen and teenage years. I also bought her the American Girl book "The Care and Keeping of You 1: The Body Book For Younger Girls." We've read and discussed it together. When she's older, we'll read, "The Care and Keeping of You 2: The Body Book for Older Girls."
I'd like to be able to convey that sex is not dirty but rather a pleasurable experience worth waiting for.
I realize that even with all of these tools in place that my daughter could still lose her virginity before marriage or even end up unwed and pregnant, but I believe that having an action plan will lessen the chances of those things happening. The quote, "Failure to plan is planning to fail." has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin and Winston Churchill both of whom were very successful individuals. That seems like a good motto to have while discussing this intimate topic with my daughter.
One thing my husband and I want to make sure that we tell our daughter is that if she chooses not to wait, we will still love her. I'm working really hard to show my daughter that my love for her is not based on whether or not she does things that make me happy. I may not like all of her choices, that doesn't mean that I will love her any less.
My family and I covet your prayers as we enter this next season of parenting.
*** A book on this subject that I am currently reading is titled "Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality" by Jim Burns.