Although you may enjoy teaching your kids lessons about their environment and scholastic subjects, teaching them about sex can have you sweating bullets. As a parent, you can share your values and knowledge on this touchy subject, without causing them to freak out and run for cover. Like various other subjects, sex education begins at an early age and continues as they grow and mature. Encourage openness and trust by approaching this subject with confidence and understanding.
Discuss body parts early in your child’s life. Children enjoy naming body parts, such as noses, eyes, elbows and toes. Approach the topic of sexual organs with the same matter-of-fact tone. Answer any questions they ask in a manner they can understand. Inform your child what body parts you consider private, without scolding or shaming.
Encourage open discussions by listening to your child’s verbal and nonverbal requests for information. Regardless of the subject, stop what you are doing and focus your attention on your conversation. Don’t interrupt your child or jump to conclusions about where the conversation is going. Maintain comfortable eye contact, letting them know you are listening and interested in the conversation. Your positive response will help your child feel valued and encourage discussion of difficult subjects, including ones about sexuality and reproduction.
Look for opportunities to discuss sex. Rather than freaking your child out by sitting him down for a formal sex talk, comment on sexual situations as they occur. For instance, encourage your child to discuss his questions regarding how your neighbor’s dog had puppies, or talk about a female relative’s pregnancy and discuss the baby’s development and growth. Share your values about sex by discussing situations on television shows or the behavior of those around you.
Talk about how human bodies change as they mature. Let your child know what to expect as he grows. Let him know how his changing hormones will affect his body and his emotions. Let him know these changes are a normal part of human development, and everyone goes through this process. Ask nonjudgmental questions, allowing him to verbalize his curiosity and concerns. Provide factual answers to his questions, using brochures or educational materials that contain scientific diagrams or photographs to provide visual accuracy.