Talking to your children about sex is a parental responsibility that calls for proper timing and good judgment. Regardless of whether your parents had “the talk” with you, your children will ask questions and you need to be prepared to answer them, according to”JSOnline,” the online edition of the “Journal Sentinel” newspaper in Milwaukee, Wisc. While it is important to answer your child’s questions honestly, and with age appropriateness, it can feel like walking through a mine field. Understanding how to talk with your children about sex can help make the situation more comfortable for everyone involved.
Answer each question honestly, but with age appropriate concepts. According to the Mayo Clinic, questions about periods can be answered by saying it means that a girl’s body is mature enough to get pregnant. If your child is school-aged or older and asks how people have sex, the Mayo Clinic recommends stating that, in sex, a man puts his penis into the woman’s vagina. If the child is younger than school age, a simple, “a man gets very close to the woman” should suffice.
Ask your child about what he already knows. According to the Mayo Clinic, children are often given misinformation by their friends and their own imagination. Asking what the child knows will help you clear up any inaccurate knowledge and opens the door to communication about sexual relationships.
Use proper terms for anatomical parts on both girls’ and boys’ bodies. Using nicknames or showing distaste for the correct names of body parts, may send your child the message that body parts should not be discussed. This may cause him to go to friends and ask the rest of his questions, instead of coming to one of his parents or other trusted adult.
Explain that puberty and subsequent body development occurs at different rates for each person. Barring pre-diagnosed medical issues that prevent puberty, assure your child that she will at some point, develop breasts, have periods and grow pubic hair. Explain to your son that his erections are normal, and that he will develop a deeper voice and pubic hair. An explanation of your own development milestones may help reduce her fears that she won’t develop properly.
It is also important that you convey to your children that masturbation is a normal but private activity.
Emphasize to your child that sexual development and activities have consequences, including sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. In addition, include a discussion about the emotional consequences of a physical relationship and the importance of waiting until they are mature enough to deal with that aspect before having sex.
- As your children enter the teen years include discussions about condoms and birth control. You want to give them the information before they become sexually active.
- boy behind parents image by Pavel Losevsky from Fotolia.com