Tips On How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex! / by Dr. Natalia P Zhikhareva

Parents dread talking to kids about sexuality.  It is uncomfortable, awkward, and sometimes feels intrusive!  Most adults find it difficult to discuss sexuality with their own partners – and least of all their children.

Consider this – if you won’t talk to your kids about sexuality – the media will do the talking for you.  Yes!  Our highly sexualized society is bombarded with messages about sex.  And as we all know – these messages are extreme exaggerations of reality!

Kids are exposed to sexual language, images, and behaviors before they are developmentally prepared to handle them.  How old should a child be before you start talking bout sex?  Younger than you think! 

WHAT KIDS CAN UNDERSTAND, AGE BY AGE!

  • Ages 2 to 3: The right words for private parts, such as “penis” and “vagina.”  At this stage kids can learn basic words for their body parts.
  • Ages 3 to 4: Where baby comes from – but – they wont understand all the details of reproduction.
  • Ages 4 to 5: How baby is born.  Kids are capable of having a basic understanding.
  • Ages 5 to 6: A general ideas of how babies are made.
  • Ages 6 to 7: A basic understanding of intercourse.
  • Ages 8 to 9: That sex is important – which your child has probably picked up from the media and peers.  A child this age can handle a basic explanation on just any topic.
  • Ages 9 to 11: Which changes happen during puberty.
  • Age 12: By now, kids are formulating their own values.  Checking in with them about their own understanding is important. 

As you can see, it’s best to start talking with children about sexuality early.  But it’s never too late!  Here are a few of the many tips to think about.

NOBODY KNOWS YOUR KIDS BETTER THAN YOU!

You as a parent, you can decide when it is appropriate to talk to your kids.  How much to disclose.  And how often to have the conversation.  Yes, it is suggested to start early – however – if you feel that your child is not emotionally ready, don't!  Deciding when to talk to your children is highly discretionary and varies from parent to parent.

GET THE BALL ROLLING!

It may be uncomfortable at first, but it gets easier with time and practice.  Remember, kids don't always hear you!  They may not always believe you!  They often don’t remember!  But they are often listening when they are pretending not to be.  Getting the conversation going sends kids messages that you are open to talk.

DON'T BABY TALK!

Be real!  Use simple language.  Respect their intelligence and curiosity.  Dispel myth and rumors – provide accurate information. 

AVOID “DON’TS!”

The point of talking about sexuality with a child is to educate.  Unless your goal is to abstain – well – then you shouldn’t be even reading this post!  Talking about sexuality is equivalent to providing guidance toward a right decision-making.  Don’t have sex, don’t get pregnant, and don't get a disease – only leads to a view of a sex as a ‘don't’.  Too many ‘don’ts’ closes the door of communication.  So please – don’t!

LISTEN!

Above all – remember – to listen!  Clear out that wax in your ears that prevents your listening and listen more than you talk! 

Sources

Talking to Kids About Sex.  Parenting.  http://www.parenting.com/article/talking-to-kids-about-sex-21335549

Talking to Kids About Sex And Sexuality.  Planned Parenthood.  http://www.plannedparenthood.org/parents/talking-to-kids-about-sex-and-sexuality

Dare to bare!   Share your own experience as a parent or your memories of how your parents talked to you!