I don't think that is right. How could a child be old enough to understand and discuss sexual morality, but not old enough to discuss the theology behind it? You are misunderstanding me, and I'm sorry I was not more clear. Would you agree that waiting until a child is a teenager to communicate values and morals about anything, including sexual morality, lying, cheating, stealing, being mean or unkind, is too late?
When children are young, you communicate values and morals, of necessity since their understanding and vocabulary is limited. "Darling, no, it's wrong/bad to take Sissy's doll away from her." When the child is a bit older, you can expand it to "How would you feel if she took your truck?" When the child is older, you can employ more detailed and philosophical reasons why one should not appropriate someone else's belongings.
The point is, that you wouldn't wait to communicated your values and morality and beliefs until they were able to have an adult philosophical discussion about them.
But Katherine, none of that would be affected by the parents' different faiths if both were Christian, would it?
I would have thought that, when a child is young, you talk about love, and the love of families, and almost certainly your children will go through a stage of 'playing mummy and daddy'. Now, surely, you don't interrupt that with an incomprehensible lecture on pre-marital sex? In the same way, a child who's old enough to be talked to a little about sex, is surely too old to be fobbed off with black-and-white statements, and will want and need discussion.
But if premarital sex is against your personal, religious and moral beliefs, then you would presumably incorporate "Mommy and Daddy loved each other and wanted to have a family and so they got married."
That is pretty much what all married couples say to their children, isn't it? If you've already decided to marry and have children, why would you say something different?
If you refuse to discuss the fact that some people believe teenage sex is absolutely fine, you can be sure your child will have that discussion with someone else, who's perhaps a lot less concerned for his or her welfare.
You have just proved my point. What if the person who believes that it is wrong, for all sorts of reasons, including religious, is one spouse and the person who believes that it's absolutely fine is the other.
What message are you giving your child? "Do what you want - no matter how young you are and how destructive it will be?"
I really don't think I have proved your point! You can't wrap a child in cotton wool, and you can't deny that some people in the world believe and do things that others consider very wrong. You teach your child what you believe to be right, and at the same time you teach them to make judgments for themselves. Part of that must be about acknowledging that people have different beliefs.
I don't understand how you read what I wrote, and came to the conclusion that the message I would give was, 'do what you want'. It's not. But it is naive to assume that, if you tell a child 'This is Right, do only this', that child will never listen to other people saying, 'No, your parents are wrong, do it anyway'. It's much better to teach the child that some people hold different views from others, and that they don't have to take *anyone's* view at face value.
I think this is really important with things concerning sex. I know a girl who met her 'boyfriend' at 15 (he was 22), and started a physical relationship with him. She is still, several years on, a very damaged person. Like most of us, she'd been told by her parents that some people were not nice and she should be wary of strangers, and she'd been brought up to believe sex was for marriage. This guy simply had to come along and tell her that he cared about her and loved her, and that actually, sex with him would be just fine.
I would much rather that I or my husband were able to tell our children that some people will tell that that sex before marriage is good, rather than have them hear it from some persuasive and unpleasant person, who preys on young people who've been brought up naive.