The Missing Question Continued by Maureen Eich VanWalleghan

Last I wrote here, it was the end of the school. Now it is the beginning of the school, my favorite time of the year. I took the summer off to move and regroup on many fronts and now I am back with an odd sense of déjà vu with Josh Duggar in the headlines again. Are we trapped in Matrix?

My post from June asked the question “who was molesting Josh Duggar?” Now we can see the outcome of a damaged sexuality in the context of a fundamental Christian community continuing to play itself out. At the time of my previous post there was so much more I wanted to analyze about this issue because this story has a direct link to childrearing and to being a later mom. So should I thank Josh Duggar? Probably not…it is so awful to watch a life imploding before our very eyes.

In my last post on this topic I shared some statistics about child sexual abuse. Interesting to consider that this issue has now caused of not one, but two hit reality TV shows—Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and 19 Kids and Counting—to be pulled from TLC’s line up. I think that fact may be making my case about the incredible prevalence of child sexual abuse in our society.

So all of this leads to a much bigger question that I am considering as a parent. What does healthy sexual development look like for children (birth through college) and how does a parent foster and contribute to that healthy state? As a later mother I want to assume that later-life-mothers have had more time to ponder many of their own personal issues, hopefully including their own sexuality and any damage they may have sustained during their life. This could be just wishful thinking, but I will say that for myself I have done a great deal of work to resolved my personal issues in the area of sexual abuse.

Disclosure moment: what I want to say next may make readers uncomfortable and could push up against religious beliefs, but I invite you to hang in with me not because I have answers, but precisely because I don’t. I am on a quest to have the cycle of sexual abuse end with my generation. I believe that sexual abuse much like alcoholism is passed down generation to generation. For myself, I have a huge road block trying to stop this sh!*& from moving toward my daughter…

The truth is human beings are sexual creatures. Whether one has a paradigm that can hold this fact doesn’t matter. From moments when a child (son or daughter) may touch themselves in bed or in the bath, to questions about the mechanics of intercourse to possible experimentation in the teen years, a child’s sexuality is developing whether a parent chooses to acknowledge that or not. The discussion about sexuality in the teen years seems late and if one considers the drug debate and the public service announcements that propose that discussions about drug use happen in the elementary-age-school years to discourage experimentation in the teen years, one could make this case with regard sex.

But, what I want make clear in this post is: I am not promoting a particular view as much as asking reading parents to get conscious about sexuality and its healthy development, which is different than thinking about when might be the acceptable time for young adults to have intercourse or engage in sex acts. Also I am not interested in outcomes in our binary society about homosexuality or heterosexuality or even issues surrounding gender norms.

Instead let’s get conscious about all the rules society has evolved to manage sexuality—whether in religious terms or scientific research. If this is a topic that you, reader, have considered I invite you to post in the comments section any books, articles or websites you have utilized to help you navigate the path of developing a healthy sexuality in your child or children. I hope to continue discussing this issue in future posts.

Maybe Josh Duggar really can spark a conversation about how to raise a healthy child in every facet of their being.


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