This article was published on October 23rd, 2018
Any parent will tell you the joys of raising children, but there are certainly some instances that parents absolutely dread: when your child is injured, their first date, taking the driver’s test, going off for the first time on their own, going off to college, and definitely having to tell your kids about the birds and the bees. Teaching your children about sex is necessary, and it needs to be done so that your kids know what to expect when having intimate relations with someone. But don’t stress: there are some key ways to help any parent get through this often embarrassing but essential part of raising children. Here are 7 tips on talking to your kids about sex.
- Choose the right occasion to have the birds and bees talk. By the time your kid is 8-10 years old, they will already have heard about sex from their classmates but without the gory details. The younger you tell your kids about love making, the better, so they can be the ones with all the accurate information. Just make sure they are old enough to handle it.
- Start slow but be as direct and simple as possible. The point of talking to your kids about sex is to prepare them through education about what to expect and the proper conduct between two consenting adults. Don’t use goofy nicknames for body parts and do be as definitive as possible.
- Make sure they understand that sex is a two-way street that needs to be something that both parties fully want and consent to. Especially considering the political climate surrounding the #Metoo movement, there is no better time than the present to explain to your children that sex has to be warranted and wanted by all adult parties involved. It is illegal to have sex with minors and it is illegal to force any sexual activity onto an unwilling party and your kids need to completely understand this.
- Explain the repercussions in regard to having sex. With sexual contact, there is a chance of sexual diseases spreading. Your kids need to know that sex can lead to unwanted pregnancy and disease, if not careful. It can also lead to unwanted hanging on and potentially undesired relationships.
- Kids need to be taught safety. Abstinence is great and all, but it is so unrealistic to expect that your kids will refrain from sex. Some teenagers are near the height of their sexual primes and their hormones are racing while they are discovering the changes in their bodies. Teach your kids about the use of condoms, and if you’re smart, give your kids condoms while you are talking to them about them. When the time goes, tell your child you are open to them getting on birth control or PrEP to further avoid the unwanted risks of sexual byproducts. Once kids do become sexually active, they need to be taught that extra screening from their doctors is necessary to stay healthy and avoid STIs.
- Communication is key. Make sure your child feels comfortable enough in the sexual discussion to come to you with questions and concerns in the future. Teaching them that communication is key with you and with their sexual partners is setting your children on the right path for sexual exploration. No question from a young mind dealing with sex is a bad question and their curiosity should be encouraged.
- Don’t be afraid to make a mistake, have more than one sex conversation, or realize that your kids may know more than you think they do. In the digital age kids are going to see adult material at nearly every turn. It’s ok to just try your best and get through as much information as you can to your child without totally having the most successful sex talk.
It may be embarrassing and daunting, but your kids will remember forever that you at least made the effort to try to explain sex to them with the desire to keep them safe and as prepared as possible. Kids are going to make mistakes just like adults, but as long as you’re there for them in the first place, it can make all the difference in the world to your child.