Mother of three and former journalist Christy says that although some conversations are tough to have with your children, it is usually these challenging dialogues that bring the greatest freedom and deepest connection in your relationship with your child.
Christy, who now works part time at the Rock Church in Umhlanga where her husband, Brad is a Pastor, launched the book earlier this year.
“Although there are some good books out there, I could never find one I absolutely loved and this frustrated me. When I mentioned this to a friend late last year she said, “well you are a writer – so write one!” Although the idea seemed overwhelming at the time, I figured I may as well try. Although I only started putting pen to paper in January this year, the book is an accumulation of what I have learnt over the past four years through hundreds of hours of research and conversations with professionals and parents.”
With her goal to equip parents with the right tools to make these conversations as natural as possible, Christy spent a lot of time reading and researching a wide range of studies, articles, books, podcasts and interviews, constantly updating her talks with new data and information around how best to engage our children around sexuality. The book is self-published because, Christy says, she wanted complete creative control and had very specific ideas of what she wanted to include and who she wanted to collaborate with.
“My book emphasises the beauty and gift of sex when expressed in the correct context. We need to talk about the wonder of conception and birth and every child needs to know that regardless of their birth story they were created with gifts and talents the world needs to be a better place and that their life has great purpose!”
Despite the seriousness of the book, it is bright and fun with lovely illustrations that offer a few giggles. Christy chose an off-beat quirky illustrator, Cristy Zinn from Looma Designs, to illustrate the book. “I wanted to write a book that any parent could read to their child, whether the child was born into a loving family, conceived through a teen pregnancy or abandoned at birth and adopted into a new family.”
Ideally between the ages of seven and nine is when Christy says parents should be having ‘the chat’ about sexual intercourse with their children, as they are mentally and emotionally mature enough to understand the concepts. She also encourages parents not to have one marathon conversation on the couch, but rather a slow release of age-appropriate information, starting from the age of two (when we tell them the names of their body parts, talk about privacy, inappropriate touching act) and build slowly from there.
Christy believes that giving a child age-appropriate information about sex does not rob them of their innocence. She says innocence is lost when children are exposed to sex is an ugly or degrading manner.
“Regardless of how prepared you are, having ‘the chat’ is always hard and, in my opinion, a book is the best way to do it. It helps you articulate the concepts in a natural way. And for parents who are afraid to talk to their children about sex, reading a book to them is much easier than initiating a conversation.”
The Chat is available directly from Christy’s website as well as at Nikki’s Gift Shop countrywide.
Details: www.thechat.co.za, @thechatdurban on Instagram and Facebook, [email protected]
Text: Monique De Villiers-Delport