Posts in Education
5 tips on talking to kids about appropriate touch and other sex related things.

Sexual abuse happens, it is a real thing. Abuse happens at school, on the bus, at church, at a friend’s house, even in our own homes. So lets talk real, no beating around the bush. Do we live in a spirit of fear? If you have the Lord Jesus in your heart, NO! Renounce that spirit of fear in the name of Jesus. But we will not live with our heads buried in the sand and our fingers in a our ears saying “la la la la, I can’t hear you!” (Anyone else ever done this?! I have!) Rather we become aware of the reality of this issue and then we equip our kids with knowledge and a plan.


5 Tips:

  1. Look for everyday teaching moments

  2. Read books

  3. Give them a plan

  4. Ask questions

  5. Don’t freak out

1. Look for everyday teaching moments.

Once when my son was about 3 years old, just fresh out of the potty training stage he came to me, delighted to tell me that he found a ball in his body while he was peeing. {this is the teachable moment} I remember being surprised but determined not to let this pass. So I took him to the bathroom and asked him to show me, sure enough he had found one of his testicles. So I told him what it was called and that God had created two of them in his body for a purpose, at 3 years old it was not necessary to get into their purpose, especially since he didn’t ask. It was enough for him to know that the “ball” he found was suppose to be there. I also went on to talk to him about not playing with the ball and that if he ever had a question about his body to talk to me about it. I told him that this part of his body is private, not dirty or bad, but special so we keep it covered. I also told him that since he only uncovers that part of his body in the bathroom, that the bathroom is the place to talk about that part of his body. Again not because it’s dirty but because it’s private, so we don’t talk about it to just anyone or any where. One challenge with telling young {talking} children about body parts is that in their innocence they have no filter, thus the reason we teach our little talkers to not talk about these body parts unless we are in the bathroom. Which reminds me of another very funny story. A different son, also fresh out of the potty training stage, having learned the name of his man parts, enjoyed saying the word. I quickly gave him the talk about not talking about private body parts unless we are in the bathroom. He promptly turned and went into the bathroom and at the top of his lungs very happily shouted “Penis” over and over again while he was peeing. Not sure if it was a mom fail or a success story, but either way he got the point, sort of! LOL

Finding everyday moments to talk to your kids about their sexuality creates a safe and well worn pathway between you and them on the topic of sex.
— Christi Stoner

2. Read books

I have made a conscious effort to find books to read to my kids about their sexuality and appropriate touch. I start reading these books to them before they can even talk in sentences. I want this to be their normal. That we talk about this stuff in safe ways. I want words like penis, vagina, breast, porn, appropriate touch, etc. to be part of their normal vocabulary just like arm, leg, fingers, etc. It is something that I have to make normal. It’s not natural for me to say the names of private body parts, I have to put on a straight face. But if I act like these parts are bad or dirty, what is that teaching my children? I make effort to speak these words as if it was “arm” or “leg” that I was saying. If they are not hearing it from us they will hear it from peers and you know the damage that learning this stuff from peers can cause, probably because, if you are like me, you learned about this stuff from your peers. Again, just because we talk about these words does not mean we fling them around carelessly. We believe that God created these body parts to be sacred not to be part of crude jokes. Reading about this stuff in books is a great way to expose kids to proper terms. Reading books helps educate our kids on what is normal and ok. If someone touches them and then tells them it’s okay and not to tell anyone, my kids know that it’s NOT ok. Why? Because we talk about it, we read books that show them a different story. Here are some of our favorites. First the Bible, it’s actually too graphic for my younger kids. But old testament is full of stories that are great teaching platforms, Rehab the prostitute, Samson and his poor choices of women, stories of rape and murder, King David and his lust and sin with Bathsheba…. these are all platforms that open up discussion. Ask your kids questions, their answers might surprise you. You also might find that they have the wrong answer and you get to be the one to educate them.

Some others that we own

The Story of Me” This is a great starter book. Talks all the proper body part names in a very appropriate way.

“ What makes a baby” is a favorite of mine because it talks about the egg and sperm without graphic drawings. Perfect for young viewers. It opens the door for really good conversations too.

I said No! A kid to kid guide for keeping private parts private Is really great for giving kids a plan. The book was written by a mom and her son who had a friend attempted to molest him at a sleepover. This is real stuff moms, educate yourself and your babes.

“Do you have a secret? Lets talk about it” A book that explains the difference between good secrets and bad secrets. After reading a book like this you say, “so what about you? Do you have any secret you want to tell me about?” You ask it straight, you don’t hint. Kids need to hear you ask it straight. You might be surprised at the things your little people have been told to keep a secret. My one son told me a sexual joke that was told to him, and he was told to keep it a secret. I thanked him for telling me. It was an opportunity to talk about the importance of not repeating a joke like that and also about the value of human life. I’m so glad he told me. He was only 6 years old and he heard the joke at church. Don’t bury your heads mom. Ask questions. Your little people need you to be strong and safe for them.

“Good pictures, Bad pictures Jr” this book is an easy read that discusses pornography as well as giving your children a plan of what to do if they see porn. Great read.

3. Give them a plan

This is pretty straight forward. We start this at 2 yrs old. We tell our babes, “no one ever touches you where your diaper is except mommy and daddy.” This sets them up for knowing what is okay and not okay touch. As they get a old enough to verbalize their thoughts, we tell them “If anyone ever touches you in your private areas come and tell mommy and daddy right away, even if someone tells you not to.” Now here is the really important part, if your child does come to you, you believe them. You take steps to make them feel heard and safe, you DO NOT brush it off. You DO NOT say, “oh so and so is such a nice kid or uncle or aunt, they would never do that.” Wrong answer, NO, you trust your child. And you watch their back. You don’t always have to act on it, but you do become mindful of it. More then once our boys have come to us and told us so and so touched their bottom. We always believe them and thank them for telling us. Then we asses the situation. Sometimes the conclusion is that it was an accident due to playing. But there have been times that we have told our boys that it was not appropriate touch and then I will go and talk to the child or mom of the child to bring awareness to the situation. Sometimes it’s lack of education on the other child’s part but at the end of the day, keeping my child safe is the goal. I don’t want accidental touches to become an open door to something more damaging. And I don’t want my kids to think that it’s okay for them to touch other children’s private areas just because it happened to them. Believe it or not, these situations almost always happen at church when a large group of kids are playing unsupervised. It didn’t take long for me to lay down the law that my boys must play where I can see them at all times when there is a large group of kids. After parties or get togethers we make it a habit to debrief their time that was spent with friends while the adults talked. Often times its only good remarks of all the fun they have had. But it has happened once or twice that questionable behavior happened and it was good to talk to them about it and what should have happened etc. All this is giving our children a voice, a plan, a vision of what is normal and what is appropriate. If you never tell them how will they know?

4. Ask Questions

When I was working as a nurse, more then once I took calls from patients who were suicidal. The one thing I was taught to ask was “do you have a plan”. This might seem like it’s encouraging them, but asking the question right out actually brings some relief to the suicidal person, they are being heard and feel cared for and it opens the door for them to talk through why they are thinking suicide. {As a side note, if someone ever tells you that they do have a plan of action, call 911 or your local crisis center.}

The same goes with our kids and sexual abuse. I have already outright asked my kids if anyone has ever touched them in their private parts. I also have asked them outright if they know what porn is and if they have ever seen or willingly looked at porn. Every time I have had to fight against fear and push ahead and ask these questions. And I’m so glad I did because every time, they have all been really great conversations. I have always tried to ask these questions when everyone is at a good place mentally and emotionally, not in the moment of concern.

When one of my sons was younger I asked him if he knew what porn was. He laughed at me! He said, “mommy! YES.” I was shocked. After a moment of silence I asked him to tell me what it was. Again he laughed at me in disbelief as he said, “mommy?! Corn?! everyone knows what corn is.” This is one of those parenting moments that you say “thank you Jesus!” (Whew) We then were able to talk about porn and I discovered that I was indeed the first person to ever talk to him about it. Again, whew! Moms and dads, you WANT to be the first person to tell your kids about this stuff. My son was in second grade at the time and the conversation came up because I was recently exposed to another 2nd grader who was being shown porn by a peer. If that was happening to your child would they come and tell you about it?

5. Don’t freak out

So you’ve read the books, you’ve asked the questions, you’ve taught them the terms and looked for teachable moments…what happens when they come and tell you that something HAS happened? This is the hard part, don’t freak out! Sometimes I struggle to keep a cool head when it comes to appropriate touch. Due to my story, I can get really upset. But if our kids are telling us then it opens the door for us to step in and offer hope and healing. We might need to do research or change some things, but if we keep talking to them and keep the door open, they will be ok in the end. But if I freak out will my kid want to come tell me again? No. Especially if my child is the one in the wrong. I want them to know there is forgiveness and there is hope and that I am their advocate.

6. Educate yourself and know your story.

So I said five but here is a bonus one for you. Educate yourself. Expose yourself to teachings about how to talk to kids about healthy sexuality and healthy touch. Examine your own life and your story. Are you at a healthy spot when you think about YOUR sexuality? A question to ask is “what was it like being a girl (or boy) in your family growing up? And “was it a good thing?” You can not lead a child to a place of healing that you have never been. Anyone who knows me may already know that I was molested as a child. My view of sexuality was really confused and unhealthy for most of my childhood and teen years. (Read more about that here) By God’s grace he brought healing in my adult years through good people, and counseling, and good books. And in the midst of it all I learned to know God at deep levels and that ultimately brought my healing and validation. But my story impacts the way I raise my children. And because of my story I know that I am extra alert, I realize now that sometimes I just need to breath and step away because the situation isn’t as bad as all my internal alarms are making it seem. (This is when it’s so helpful to have a spouse on board who can tell you when you are overreacting). But I want to give my kids the tools that I didn’t have. My story also teaches me that there is always hope. I will mess up. I will miss opportunities. I will not respond the right way. I will hurt my children. But if I can keep pointing them to Jesus Christ, HE, and He alone will make all things new in their lives. That is my ultimate hope.

Healing our sexuality

Some of you might already know that I have a history of being sexually abused as a child. I have shared my story more then once, so this is not news for those of you who know me personally. This shaped so much of my childhood and teen years in a negative way. But by God’s grace, He brought healing. Where there was death, he turned it into life. If you have been sexually abused I hope you are able to surround yourself with people who love God and want to see you heal. Healing only can come by the power of Jesus Christ. He used people, godly counselors, and books to facilitate my healing. And then, years later as I continued in the road of healing, in his love for me, he brought pain into my life. Sorrow was the catalyst that really threw me into his arms and I had to choose to either trust him more deeply or hate him. By God’s grace I chose to trust and in that trusting came even more life, despite what previously had felt like sorrow and death. God is crazy my friends! I don’t know how he does it. But he loves so big and wide that he allows even pain to become an avenue of his love for us. I am forever indebted to him for loving me.

So a quick post for you, full of links to good books worth reading! If you are struggling with shame from your past, or if you (or a daughter) is dealing with sexual sin, here are some books that I have read and are worth mentioning. Not only is it important for our own personal growth to deal with the stuff in our past (this doesn’t mean we sit around and blame other people for all our problems but we do acknowledge that things happened that should not have happened), we also need to deal with our past so that we are more equipped to help our children. If I am confused and insecure in my sexuality, how can I have open conversations with my children about their questions concerning their sexuality? I still don’t have all the answers but I am able to point them to the One who does because I know first hand how loving and gracious He is to those who seek Him.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. - Jeremiah 29:13


More then just photos.

Hiring a professional newborn or family photographer is expensive. There are multiple reasons why, but today I just want to touch on one aspect of what you are investing your money in. When you think about hiring Christi Stoner Photography, you are investing in more then just your photos, You are investing in an EXPERIENCE. Clients receive a beautiful client guide which walks you through the photo session from what to wear, what to expect, product prices, etc. Clients also are sent a questionnaire so that I can hear from YOU and that helps me to give you a session of your dreams. We also will do a pre-session phone call, it’s so good to connect this way so that I can answer any last minute questions. At the session, I come with a plan (when children are involved we play games and we move thru it fast) and I am experienced in working with people, this helps to make sessions fun and relaxed. Ultimately, you are investing in a memory! I am delighted to be the one to capture it for you.

I just updated my prices so check out my “investment” page here or sign up for client guide to get all the details.

I can't help myself, I do it for the moms!

2019 was going to be my big year of change! It is, just not in the ways I expected. I rebranded and decided to pursue senior photography as well as newborn. I thought reaching out into the world of seniors would really help boost my business and expand my niche.

And then I had a one on one coaching session with my business coach, Rhonda, from Inspire Business Community. One question she asked was, why do I love offering photography to people. Imagine my surprise when I found myself instantly coming to life as I explained to her how passionate I am about moms having photos where they are interacting and laughing with their babes. I love offering lifestyle photos of moms and their kids looking at each other and enjoying one another. Those are the photos that I love to have in my home. I told her too often at the end of the day we moms struggle with mom guilt, its a blessing to have photos of you laughing and loving on your kids in those moments. You remember that you DO have good times with your kids. (I do believe the guilt needs to be explored. Is there something that needs to change? Or is it the enemy trying to bring defeat. That’s a blog for a different day.)

I went on to tell her that I value the experience just at much as the photo quality. I want my moms to remember that it was fun and not stressful. I want to offer a type of photo session that leaves parents with good memories. When the toddler starts crying, we take a break. We move on to pictures that don’t involve the toddler. And then a little later we try again. We don’t force the experience, we flow with it.

When I stopped talking I suddenly realized that my passion behind my photography business is for the moms. I hadn’t realized it until that moment. It really surprised me. So I have been rolling this discovering around in my mind for the last 2 months. And I’ve decided that it’s got to be the moms that I do this for. That is my passion! I still will offer senior photography because really, I love any photography that involves people. But I’m also realizing that I am changing course, and that’s okay. I plan to move forward with this new found realization and focus on babies and family photography here in Lancaster and Hershey, Pa. So if you just had a baby or have a young family, I would love to meet you!


The Re-branding Revealed!

It’s here! The new name, new logo, new website, and new client guide… the rebranding is complete and I’m so excited about it.

So why a rebranding? My original name “Sparrow’s Flight Photography” has a lot of heart and meaning to it. But at the end of the day, it was confusing. When clients book with me, I become a real person to you. You know me by name and I learn to know you by name as well. It’s so much easier to remember the name of my business if it has my name in the title of it.

Also as a small business owner based here in Lancaster county, I know that you have lots and lots of options to do your portraits or family or baby sessions. So what makes me different then the rest? Well, the biggest thing is simply, ME. I am part of my brand and my personality (just like all the other photographers) is part of my brand. Each photographer has something different to offer because we, as people, are all unique in the way we process life and relate to others. That is another reason for the name change. Because when you book your session with Christi Stoner Photography, Christi Stoner is who shows up! I’m the one who has reviewed your questionnaire, I’m the one who writes the emails, I’m the one who talked to you on the phone, I’m the one who desires to deliver a session you love by making you and your babes feel comfortable. I hope you love meeting me because I sure do love meeting you!

So in honor of the rebranding, it calls for a celebration! the first 5 clients to contact me and book their 2019 session will get a waiver on the $125 creative fee! You can book for your senior session for this summer or your baby session next month, it’s up to you! Contact me with any questions.

To learn more about my cost and what to expect, sign up {below} for my newsletter and you will get instant access to the updated client guide digital magazine. {I’m sorry seniors I’m still working on getting the update senior guide completed, but it’s coming!!!} Also when you sign up for my mailing list, I won’t send junk mail. Basically I will email out anytime I’m doing mini sessions or running specials. People on the mailing list always get first dibs at mini sessions, etc.

2019 Has me excited to meet more new babies as well as expanding my senior portraits experience. I look forward to hearing from you soon!