Q: Should I insist on being in the exam room when my child visits a doctor? Recently, I took my 14-year-old daughter for a checkup and was told to wait outside. To be honest, I’m concerned about messages my daughter might receive that may run counter to my values.
Jim: We understand why you felt uncomfortable at being excluded from the room when such significant matters were being discussed. At the same time, members of our Physicians Resource Council report that teens often feel freer to talk about things they might never mention with Mom or Dad present. These aren’t necessarily troubling secrets or problems, but issues that, for one reason or another, teens don’t feel they can talk about with anyone else. In such cases, a good doctor has a tremendous opportunity to provide wise counsel and guidance during a confusing season in life.
That’s why we recommend seeking out a health care professional who shares your values — or who is at least willing to honor them. Talk to your daughter’s doctor and discuss your concerns candidly but respectfully, particularly with regard to sexuality.
Also, when it comes to such delicate procedures as a pelvic exam, some adolescents may want a parent present, while others prefer to be on their own. Discuss this possibility with your daughter in advance so that you can both consider her feelings on the matter.
Most importantly, continue investing time and energy into strengthening your relationship with your daughter. Doing so will make it more likely that she’ll look to you for guidance about important matters and life choices, now and in the future. If you haven’t already, take this opportunity to engage your daughter on the topic of sex and make sure she understands God’s design for human sexuality. Focus on the Family can provide you with resources to help you do so with confidence.
Q: Is it appropriate for wives to initiate sex and to take the lead on occasion when it comes to lovemaking? My husband and I enjoy a fulfilling and satisfying sex life, but that’s one thing I’ve wondered about. I guess I’ve always felt that should be the man’s place. There are times when I desire physical intimacy, but I have doubts about whether it’s right for me to get things started. Do you this this is OK?
Greg Smalley, Vice President, Family Ministries: I think I can safely answer for most husbands out there with an enthusiastic “Yes!” But personal interests aside, in a healthy marriage, both partners should have the liberty to be honest and authentic with each other. This includes the freedom to express feelings and desires, sexual and otherwise, in open, transparent and non-manipulative ways.
That being the case, you can rest assured it’s good, healthy, right, proper and appropriate for both marriage partners to take an active role in initiating sexual relations. This will vary according to circumstances and each spouse’s mood, feelings and desires. Here, if anywhere, a couple’s relationship should be characterized by the give-and-take of a dance. The most important thing is to maintain the kind of mutual affection and respect that enables you to be open and honest with each another.
Among other things, this means taking time to talk about sex outside the bedroom. Remember that in marital sex the two of you are co-creating something that is radically exclusive and uniquely your own. It’s a painting, a tapestry, a work of art that requires active input from both parties. It’s all about you and your spouse becoming who you want to be together. So be creative, set yourself free and use your imagination.
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.