A Better Way to Teach Kids about Sex

by Jason S. Carroll, Chelom Leavitt, Dean M. Busby, Laura M. Padilla-Walker

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For generations, parents and leaders have had the best of intentions when teaching children and youth about sexuality and the law of chastity. Despite meaning well, many parents have lacked the essential tools and knowledge needed to arm their children to navigate their own sexuality and prepare for a marriage that includes a healthy and joyous view of sexual wholeness.

The fact is, the chewing gum, crushed flower, and unwrapped cupcake analogies are harmful. They instill fear over the dangers of immorality but do not teach the beauty and blessings of following the Lord's law of chastity. Fortunately, there is a healthy way to talk to our children about this important topic.

This guide for parents is a scientifically informed LDS perspective on how to talk with children in an open and faith-based way to help them build a foundation of communication and trust, understand the physical body, and gain a healthy approach to sexual wholeness.

  • Learn the spiritual, physical, and emotional dimensions of sexual wholeness to gain a well-rounded understanding of the role of sexuality in God's plan for His children.
  • Find expert advice that's in harmony with gospel insights for specific sexual issues such as pornography, self-touching and masturbations, same-sex attraction, and dating.
  • Gain confidence in discussing sensitive topics with your children through counsel tailored for parents of children of all ages—it's never too early or too late to start!

Product Details

Size5.5 x 8.5
PublishedDeseret Book 2018

About the Authors

Jason S. Carroll

Jason S. Carroll, Ph.D., is a professor of marriage and family studies in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. He received his PhD in family social science from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Carroll is an internationally-recognized researcher and educator in the areas of marriage fragmentation, sexual intimacy, and marriage readiness.

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Chelom Leavitt

Chelom Leavitt, J.D., M.S., is a mom, wife, lawyer, and academic. Dr. Leavitt's academic research focuses on practical information that helps couples improve their sexual functioning and relationships through mindfulness. She received a PhD in human development and family studies from Penn State.

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Dean M. Busby

Dean M. Busby, Ph.D., is director of the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Recently he has been teaching the healthy sexuality in marriage course at BYU. His research has garnered university and national awards and been funded by federal and state grants and has been presented to scholarly and lay audiences around the world. He and his wife Colleen have been married over 30 years and are the parents of three sons.

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Laura M. Padilla-Walker

Laura M. Padilla-Walker is the Associate Director of the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. She received her PhD in developmental psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her research focuses on how parents and other socialization agents (e.g., media) help to foster positive development during adolescence and young adulthood.

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Average rating:

(based upon 9 reviews)

A much needed addition to your parenting toolbox
By , Submitted on 2018-09-03

This book is so important In today’s world. It is so very important to have sexually healthy children and to tech them in a way that does not scare them. I love this book and have given it to all of my children who have children. It is a must read for all parents and grandparents. I cannot express how important and helpful that this book is. My only regret is not having this wonderful resource when I was raising my children.

An amazing clear way to teach children and teens about sex
By , Submitted on 2018-08-31

I read this book mainly to see how better to teach my teens about sex and found a new world to teach not just my teens but my younger kids. I love the gospel centered positive approach vs the traditional fear tactics. This gave me a clear way to explain the beautiful divine nature of sex and the why's to what the gospel asks us to do. It's chapters on masturbation, pornography and same gender attraction were what I was looking for to help create a conversation with my kids that will hopefully develop into an honest open communication. The suggestions in this book are clear, easy and are making my relationship with my kids more open. Highly recommend it.

Get it, you won’t regret it!
By , Submitted on 2018-08-26

I would definitely recommend you read this book. It’s not just for parents of teens either. Parents with children of any age, teachers, and married couples would benefit from this book. I received the digital copy, but I also bought a hard copy of this book, because it’s such a great resource to have of hand and my spouse can read through it too.

Get it, you won’t regret it!
By , Submitted on 2018-08-24

I really wish this book was around when I was a teenager. I remember a few lessons I was taught, growing up, by teachers who used the analogies they listed in this book and others that aren’t. I never realized how much I was actually affected by those analogies and how they all too often only teach half the truth. My favorite part in the book is where they say (this isn’t quoted exactly) “what is the best analogies/lessons to use to teach about chastity/sex” and the answer is to not use analogies and just talk about it. You’ll definitely need to read the book because they talk about how every child/teen is different so every child/teen will need to be taught at different time in their lives. And this book isn’t just for parents. It’s a good book to refer to as a youth leader (when giving the Chastity lesson) or even as an adult for you and your spouse!

(I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I’m not sure if I’m suppose to say that, but everyone has been, so I’m just following the crowd 😁)

Emphasis on Sexual Wholeness, Not Just Abstinence
By , Submitted on 2018-08-21

The content in this book makes it so much less stressful to approach your children about healthy sexuality. I think there's a Latter-Day Saint misconception that abstinence is the only thing we should teach our children. However, once they're married, they have no clue what they're doing! This book's object is to "help them build a foundation of communication and trust, understand the physical body, and gain a healthy approach to sexual wholeness." It addresses abstinence, obviously. However, it goes so much farther than that. It's a resource I'll use over and over again with my children! (And in my own marriage, quite frankly!)

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

A Focus on Sexual Wholeness
By , Submitted on 2018-08-21

This book shares an approach to teaching children about healthy sexuality in a way that promotes growth and discourages fear and guilt. The authors present the idea of sexual wholeness as the development of physical, emotional and spiritual dimensions of our sexual nature. They encourage communication with children about their bodies, puberty, and sexuality with awe and celebration. Each chapter ends with questions to extend thinking on the chapter's subject matter and a "Putting It into Practice" section that gives the reader practical tips and ideas to promote communication about sexuality with children. It contains information that will help parents with children from early childhood through young adulthood. The authors address challenging topics on sexuality in a natural and approachable way to empower parents and children. I will be returning to this book frequently as a tool to guide me in opening communication on this important topic with my family.

Start the conversation about sexual health now!
By , Submitted on 2018-08-17

"A Better Way to Teach Kids About Sex" by Laura M. Padilla-Walker, Dean M. Busby, Chelom E. Leavitt, and Jason S. Carroll is exactly what we need to help dispel what we’ve been taught and not taught about sexual health. No more “Don’t touch that, it’s gross.” “Save yourself for your wedding night.” “Having periods are the pits but get over it.” “Don’t look and you won’t have bad thoughts.” Yes, sexual health can be a tough topic, BUT if we want our kids and grandkids to survive in this "over the top" appearance matters, it's all about "sex" world we NEED to have these conversations! We need to start now and help them see what amazing, beautiful bodies they have and help them to learn for themselves why protecting and honoring their bodies is so important. Let's start the conversation with our loved ones, so when the world tells them "Why wait?" "Everyone's doing it!" "You are fat!" "You need to change your nose, hips, breasts, etc." "Do what makes you feel good." They will have the knowledge and the power to make their own choices! And not only make their own choices, but not fall victim to the more subtle voices that lurk in dark places, on the internet, at school, and just about everywhere else. Empower yourself and your family!

A very good resource
By , Submitted on 2018-08-17

As a mother to three children, I am always glad to have additional resources for teaching my children most effectively. I love how the objective that the authors of this book are writing to achieve is for the arising generations to have a well-rounded, healthy, positive attitude towards the sacred blessing of physical (and emotional and spiritual) intimacy in marriage. I really loved and appreciated how the authors worked with examples, end-of-chapter highlights (for easy reminders), questions to ponder, and ideas on how to put all the concepts into practice in my own family.

There are ideas on how to be an effective teacher to children from toddler (infants, even) to adult children (even if they're already married and out of the house.) I love that it's never too early AND never too late to be an effective teacher, helping our children to have a healthy, gospel-based attitude towards sex and sexual attraction.

There are even sections about how to discuss same-sex attraction, pornography, dating, and when your child is engaged or newly-married. I really appreciated that they covered topics that can challenging to talk about ... and they did so with information that is taken from the scriptures and modern revelation.

I was blessed with a mother who made sure that I could come to her with any questions about sex and physical development. I have worked to be that kind of parent for my children. Even so, this book was a very helpful read. I look forward to being able to incorporate this resource into my parenting. When my children have their own children, I could buy them their own copy of this book for their families. (and I probably will!)

I was very thrilled to receive an ebook to review for free. in exchange for an honest review. Truly, I will probably also buy a copy of the physical book to use with my children.

Too good to miss!
By , Submitted on 2018-08-11

“When sex is compared to one person eating something such as food or candy, it implies that true sexual fulfillment comes from receiving, not from giving. ” — A Better Way to Teach Kids about Sex. I appreciate so many things about this book! I am from an era in which my parents preferred not to say anything about sexual intimacy; however, when my mom was confronted with my questions, she implied that sex is a necessary evil to be endured for the greater good. Who wants that kind of marriage?! With the sort of background I (and likely others) have had with teaching about families, procreation, and happiness in marriage, it isn't surprising that many youths seek out inappropriate explanations from worldly sources. The authors of A Better Way to Teach Kids about Sex deserve a huge hug and pat on the back.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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