Talking to the kids about sex can be awkward. So, we asked the experts to give tips on how to talk to your kids about sex and puberty. Two years ago, when my friend was pregnant with her 2nd kid, her then 6-year-old son was so fascinated seeing her mother’s growing belly. How did the baby get inside your tummy? And how it is going to come out?” he curiously asked.
She had no clue what to and how to answer that question. Words like mother fairy were thrown around. However; the mother felt that when it comes to teaching her kid about sex, parents should be honest and open about it.
Why it is important to explain to them About Sex:
Talking to your child on sex doesn’t have to be embarrassing. In fact, have the conversation at an early stage and not when they are entering in their teens.
Since you know your child’s confusions and questions regarding sex hence, it makes sense that you make the environment comfortable for your child to discuss his/her queries.
It is important that your child hears the accurate information and parents are the right people to answer them honestly. Being approachable will help them feel comfortable about their queries regarding emotions, confusions, puberty etc.
Do not wait for your child to come to you and ask about sex. You don’t have to tell them all at once, the conversation can be basic but honest determining their age and stage.
Tips On How To Talk To Kids About Sex
Here’s what parents need to understand when it comes to having a conversation about sex with your child. Kids have various imaginations when it comes to sexuality. In order to address their sex queries, you need to stay positive and show love to your kids. Below are some ways to help you talk to your kids about sex.
1. Fill in gaps and debunk myths:
Romance, love, sex are sensitive words with varied meanings. Parents shouldn’t make assumptions about what their children already know when it comes to sex. Our society is still conservative and thinks that sex education for teenagers is not an important thing to discuss. Well, if you don’t educate your kids about sex, they are sure to live on various myths which are misleading. Furthermore; this might prove to be disturbing and have a negative impact when they are growing up.
2. Admit discomfort and stay calm:
For parents, speaking on safe sex education could be discomforting. You can start using a relaxing tone, “this is going to be an awkward thing to discuss, but we are going to talk because it is important”. It is important that you use a normalized tone while addressing sex-related questions. Process the information according to their age and make sure that you are in your best emotional state.
3. Talk about your family’s values:
Parents should teach your kid the importance of consent, honesty, and compassion and respect before you give them sex education. You can explain them with simple examples like, “you are standing too close to me, your hand is touching me”. It is important that your child understands the boundaries and limits and how no one is allowed to touch them without their consent.
4. Share personal stories with caution:
Before sharing your personal story or such information with your kids, parents need to think intensely about what they are sharing and why they are sharing. Your story should have a point in it, that you hope your child to learn.
Trying to steer your child’s behavior is not the motive here but the primary goal is to help your child think through the decisions they are going to make.
5. Address stereotypes and gender differences:
Typical myths and stereotype prevail in the society that eventually boys, when they hit puberty, have to experience the sex. Especially boys find it difficult to express their sexual concerns hence; it often develops insecurities which hinders their teen years. Parents need to make sure that boys understand that there’s nothing wrong in waiting until they are comfortable to experience sexual pleasures. Also, parents need to educate their kids about gender differences – as boys have different ways to react and so do the girls.
Both genders when they are hitting puberty are undergoing huge hormonal changes which include a shift in their emotions as well.
6. Use media and other sources to start a conversation:
Take support of different media sources to address these kinds of sensitive issues. Avoid making judgments, as your kids will be anticipating your reactions towards them in the same manner. We are living in an era of social media where there are multiple ways to make your child understand about sex. This will help you, provide insight into your child, also it will help you understand their thinking methodology.
7. Accept their way of interpreting things:
Parents should listen more than they talk. They should strive to make their kids independent enough to make their decisions in terms of sexual behaviors. Engage your child in a conversation about sexuality which doesn’t feel like lecturing about what they “should do” and “they shouldn’t” do.
8. Don’t wait for the teenagers to talk about sex:
You don’t have to wait till they are 16. Sex education for children can be started early with age-appropriate discussions. It is important that they know how their body is going to change when they are going to hit puberty, how will hormones change and they’ll witness the changes in their emotions as well. Majority of the families think that their kids will gain sex education from their peers. Well, the information they get access to is quite misleading and wrong.
9. Be clear about what you are talking and don’t shy away:
For parents to acknowledge the subject “Sex” and to talk about it can be daunting. When you are giving sex education to your kids, it is important to see that it doesn’t become overwhelming for them. Therefore; it is suggested that you start with the basics when they are young.
Also; make sure that what you are making them understand is well-interpreted. Do not shy away from talking on practicing safer sex, talking about taking precautionary measures such as condoms, birth control pills etc. When they know the information provided is from the right resource then there lesser chances of developing any misconceptions.
10. Consider the place and time of the conversation:
You can make this conversation relaxing while talking about sex with your child. However; make sure that the environment setup isn’t overdone.
Kids especially respond better when they are engaged in some kind of activities. You can broach the subjects when you are together doing dishes, cleaning their room, while playing etc.
11. Don’t overshare:
You don’t have to give a biology class kind of graphic presentation. Go with the rule of thumb – you don’t have to give reply more than what your kids are asking you. Respond with age-appropriate answers, for e.g. for a 6-7-year-old kid should be replied, “a baby grows in mommy’s tummy, which is a special place”. With the kind of questions, your child is asking you, you can use this as an opportunity of where he/she is getting the queries regarding sex.
12. Do explain their rights, responsibilities:
All the more reason to have a conversation with your child is making him/her understand about the consequence involved. It is not just about the intercourse, but you should make them aware of STD (Sexually transmitted diseases) and it’s potential risks.
It is important that your child understands that sex is not something objective but is an emotion, a special bond that two people create and enjoy. Sexual activity is a powerful behavior which has the ability to give and take life and can change people’s lives for good or bad and not a child’s play.
Want some expert tips from your very own parenting coach? Watch this video!