“Mom, Dad, What’s Sex?”
Have you had “the talk” with your children yet? If so, did they cringe and grimace and behave as though you were speaking alienese? That’s not uncommon. It can be difficult for children to discuss sex with their parents, especially when it more than likely grosses them out to even imagine their parents knowing about it! Still, it has to be done … unless you want other people discussing sexual concepts with them, and possibly passing on incorrect information?
- The best way to introduce the ‘birds and bees’ is to never make it a taboo topic in the house.
- Teach your children that there is a time and a place for that subject but that if ever they have a question, they can come to you and ask privately.
- Try not to discourage normal nudity. There is nothing shameful about the naked human body and by passing that sentiment on, you teach children that they should be amazed at and proud of what their bodies can do. Teaching them the correct names for their body parts is a great start and enables them to not feel shame or embarrassment.
- Gradually bring up subject matter as it becomes necessary. When your son or daughter asks a question about something they’ve seen on TV, at the zoo or even among family members, answer them in a thoughtful, informative way.
- Holding out for one big talk is going to make it more difficult for you, the parent as well as your child. Sex, sexual health, body image, nudity and so on are things that will arise during childhood, early adolescence and throughout the rest of your child’s life. Accept that you will need to make it an acceptable topic and handle things as they become relevant.
- Keep a couple of good, educational books on hand. Leave them within easy reach, as long as they are age appropriate. When you’re asked a question, you can discuss the answer and illustrate with the pictures in the book, or discuss then suggest taking a look at the book together or your child can read it alone.
- Above all, allow sex to be seen as a wonderful, positive part of human life. Never make it seem dirty, shameful or something to be hidden, other than in a normally discreet way, that is. Relate it to family life and happy relationships so that your children don’t see it purely as something that happens in R-rated movies.
An open communication policy from an early age is the best way to tackle informing your children about sex. Not only will your children feel comfortable to come to you instead of a stranger, a teacher or another child but you too will feel more at ease over time than if you had held out for the ‘big talk’.