If you believe that masturbation is a sin, let me warn you off. Don’t read any further. This post is aimed at assistanting parents in the Mormon church who believe it’s a natural and normal part of growing up.
Personally, I have changed my mindset regarding this practice. It’s not a sin. You can find my reasoning HERE. Since I wrote the article, I have spoken with many members who share my point of view. This includes former bishops, former stake presidents, former stake presidency and bishopric counselors. And….a current bishopric member.
In order to avoid saying ‘masturbation’ at every stop, I’ll take the pressure off by alternating with ‘bippity-bop.’
How to Talk to Your Kids
Sounds pretty uncomfortable, right? I’m not an expert. I have no experience. That opportunity was missed during my child rearing adventures. My wife says that she now regrets never having discussed it with our 6 daughters.
Absent any personal experience to share, I simply googled: “How to talk to your children about bippity-bop.” Nothing relevant came up. Then I substituted ‘masturbation’ for ‘bippity.’ Boy, did that ever do the trick. Up popped many great resources for talking about the bop.
My two favorite:
First: How to Talk to Kids About Masturbation by Betsy Brown Braun. Click HERE.
In her video, Betsy provides a simple & straightforward method for a short discussion with children. Her approach takes the edge off of a possibly awkward conversation. My wife really liked this one.
Second: Tips for Talking with Kids About Masturbation by Melanie Davis. Click HERE.
Melanie takes the essay approach. A short one. But, packed with lots of good information. Combined with Betsy’s video, both of them would have given me the tools and the confidence to discuss bippity-bop with my kids.
Why Talk to Your Kids?
If you don’t, it’s highly likely that a bishop, bishopric counselor, youth leader, or friend will teach your kids that masturbation is a big fat sin. Take control. They are your children. Don’t let them be scarred by unnecessary guilt and shame being heaped on the during their precious teen-age years.
Listen to this story. Don’t let it be the story of the adult future of your child. This is a man in his late 30’s.
Here is one of my biggest problems with the church and why I don’t want my kids in it: guilt and shame.
My childhood should have been great. On paper, things went well. But I absolutely abhorred my childhood. Why? Because I was a boy who masturbated. And I was committing a sin second only to murder! I hated myself and I lived in fear and guilt and self loathing. I despised me and it tainted my entire adolescence. And I am going to do everything in my power to make sure that none of my children EVER feel the burden of that unnecessary guilt.
For Good Measure
Yesterday, I had the following conversation with a bishopric counselor…not in my ward.
SAM: Have your kids been asked about masturbation in the bishop’s interviews?
SAM: How do you know?
COUNSELOR: Soon after the new bishopric was called, with me as a counselor, the bishop announced that he was going to have special meeting with the young men. It was to be about masturbation. I told him that was not an appropriate topic for my 13 year old son. He said it was. I told him that it had never been discussed with me in my youth and that it was not in the handbook. The bishop insisted. I told him my son would NOT be coming to the meeting. The bishop said that my boy wouldn’t be able to go to the temple if he masturbated. I told him that I masturbate, have a temple recommend and am your counselor. He said that he wasn’t going to take my recommend away for masturbation. But…the youth couldn’t go to the temple if they engaged in it. I said that wasn’t right, my son wasn’t coming to the meeting and that I didn’t want this practice brought up in youth interviews. My son didn’t go to the meeting. He hasn’t been asked about masturbation in subsequent interviews. And…he has been given temple recommends for every youth temple trip. He’s 16 now.