Chastity Formation: Foundational Parental Information
"Parents are the primary educators of their children,
particularly in matters related to sexuality.
This right is given to them by God."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2221)
The following quotations are excerpts taken from the Vatican Document, “The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality: Guidelines for Education Within the Family”:
"Parents are called to give their children “a clear and delicate” sex education, one that is “truly and fully personal” (John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio no. 37).
"Sex education, which is a basic right and duty of parents, must always be carried out under their attentive guidance, whether at home or in education center, chosen and controlled by them” (ibid).
"Education for chastity is absolutely essential, for it is a virtue that develops a person's authentic maturity and make him or her capable of respecting and fostering the ‘nuptial meaning' of the body. Indeed, Christian parents, discerning the signs of God's call, will devote special attention and care to education in virginity or celibacy as the supreme form of that self-giving that constitutes the very meaning of sexuality” (ibid).
Principles Regarding Information about Sexuality
1. Each child is a unique and unrepeatable person and must receive individualized formation.
2. The moral dimension must always be a part of their explanations. Parents should stress that Christians are called to live the gift of sexuality according to the plan of God who is LOVE. They must insist on the positive value of chastity and its capacity to generate true love for other persons.
3. Formation in chastity and timely information regarding sexuality must be provided in the broadest context of education for love.
- Discipline of the senses and the mind
- Watchfulness and prudence in avoiding occasions of sin
- Observance of modesty, moderation in recreation
- Wholesome pursuits, assiduous prayer and frequent reception of the
- Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist
- Teach children how to evaluate their environments
- Accustom them to detachment in using the mass media
- Present positive models and suitable ways of using their vital energy
- The meaning of true friendships
4. Parents should provide this information with great delicacy, but clearly and at the appropriate time. (personal and psychological development, culture, daily experiences) Giving too many details is counterproductive, but delaying the first information too long is imprudent, because every human person has natural curiosity.
5. Sons vs. daughters: parents – follow the gradual physiological development of daughters and help them joyfully accept the development of their femininity in a bodily, psychological and spiritual sense…boys need to understand their stages of development before they get this information from their companions, positively and with reserve, in the framework of marriage, family and fatherhood.
6. Help your children through puberty (vulnerable emotions) to resist negative outside influences that may lead them to have little regard for Christian formation in love and chastity–
- consumer pressures
- relations with opposite sex
- speech and conduct
- the value of Christian modesty
- moderate dress
- the necessary autonomy characteristic of a man or woman with a mature personality.