As a parent, you knew the time would come when you would have to talk to your child about serious issues, such as sex and drugs. Knowing how and when to talk to your child about important decisions that affect his life may create stress. These topics actually provide ongoing opportunities for discussion, rather than a single conversation. Talking to him about these important subjects allows you to share your values and show him that you care.
Start talking to your child about sex while he is little. Contrary to the old-fashioned discussions about the birds and the bees, conversations regarding sex don’t have to include intercourse and reproduction. At this early age, simply refer to body parts by name and answer any questions he may have about his own body or the physical differences between boys and girls. Listen closely to his question and adhere to the point. Simply answer his question and avoid going into expanded details that he may not be ready to hear. Starting early allows you to keep the doors open for future discussions. Check out some children’s library books that discuss basic sexuality and read them with your child. Discuss the information and the pictures as you read through the books.
Talk about the difference between love and sex as your child grows. The correct time for detailed discussions varies from child to child, depending on their rate of maturity. These topics include dating, relationship, masturbation, sexual development, respect and values. Continue answering questions as they arise, but give details appropriate to your child’s age. Some children don’t ask questions, meaning you will need to bring up the topic. Stay involved in your child’s life by spending time with him, alone or with his friends. Use everyday moments to discuss sex. Talk about the shows or commercials you see on television, lyrics you hear on the radio and photographs in magazines and newspapers.
Discuss the risks involved in taking drugs. School-age children glean information from their peers, other adults and television shows. Educate yourself on current drugs and trends. Obtain informational brochures from your doctor’s office, public health department or university extension office. Make sure your child knows how you feel about drugs and alcohol. Discuss the reasons people begin using drugs, such as peer pressure and stress release. Include information regarding the health risks and the dangers of addiction. Discuss positive methods for handling uncomfortable emotions and pressure from peers.
Share your values and your attitudes. This is something most children pick up as they grow. Your actions and your comments let your child know how you feel about many things. Examine yourself to make sure your own actions reflect the values you discuss with your children. Since many children learn by example, avoid sending confusing messages by making sure your actions match your words.
- mom and son image by Stanislav Komogorov from Fotolia.com