“The Talk” is one of the most important things that you will do as a parent, but it’s one of the things that parents dread the most. Your child deserves to have accurate information about sex and relationships. If the info doesn’t come from you, he’ll get it from someone else–someone whose values may not be the same as yours. Though you may be nervous or embarrassed about talking with your child about sex, WebMD reports that children who are able to talk with their parents about sex are more likely to wait longer to have intercourse.
Start talking about sex early, and use age-appropriate terminology when you do. For example, a very young child may only need to know that a “seed grows in a mommy’s tummy,” but older children will want to know more details.
Use books as a guide. Books written for the purpose of talking to kids about sex include basic pictures of how things happen, including diagrams of the reproductive systems. They can act as a way to initiate the conversation if the right time hasn’t presented itself.
Encourage questions. Your children are likely to have questions about sex. Answer them honestly.
Place sex in the context of loving relationships. As adults, we know that not all sex happens inside relationships, but the sex that is most fulfilling usually does. Expand your discussion of sex to include dating, being in a relationship and caring about the other person. If you follow a religion that discourages or forbids premarital sex, include that in the discussion.
Discuss the darker sides of sex. Include a discussion about rape, unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and how to prevent them.
Talk about images in the media and news that deal with sex. Situations in movies and the news can give you opportunities to talk about the topic. For example, if you see a movie that includes a scene where a young girl is pressured to have sex, you can discuss what your teen might have done in the situation–such as, how your daughter would have said no or what your son could have done if a girl said no.
- You cannot shield your child from sex forever. Proper knowledge will help keep her safe.