Sex: How Do You Broach The Subject With Your Kids?
Talking to your kids about sex can be difficult and embarrassing for many parents. However, it is an important issue and something that every child needs to know about when they reach a certain age. These are some useful conversation starters to help you ease into the conversation without any worries or embarrassment for either one of you, so your kids stay well informed throughout puberty and beyond.
1 – Answer your child’s questions honestly
You may be surprised the first time your kids ask you about sex and sexuality, but instead of asking them about their reason for questioning, respond by saying ‘I’m glad you asked me about that’. By rewarding them for asking questions, they’ll feel more comfortable in asking again if they have any other questions in the future and it will strengthen the bond between you both.
2 – Introduce the topic yourself
You don’t have to wait for your kids to bring up the topic of sex – you can start the conversation yourself. Many parents put off talking to children about sex, assuming that the child will ask when there is something they want to know. But some children feel embarrassed or reluctant to talk about sex with adults, so they may not want to ask questions even when there is something they want to know. You wouldn’t wait for your child to bring up questions about other topics, such as personal safety or religion, so why sex? It’s a parents responsibility to discuss sex with their children, and its an important issue. You don’t need to cover all ground in one go, but bringing it up in little sections can make it more manageable and will keep your child informed.
3 – Be honest at all times
You won’t always have an answer to the questions your children face you with, but you don’t need to lie to them. If you don’t know, say so and explain that you’ll find out and get back to them with an answer. If you think you’ve misinformed your child, don’t hesitate to tell them and say that you’ve had a better answer now that you’ve had time to think about it.
4 – Discuss your feelings
There’s no doubt you will feel awkward discussing sex with your children, but it’s ok to explain to your kids why you feel uncomfortable. It’s a good idea to do this as it helps to explain to your child that it isn’t their questions making you uncomfortable necessarily, but that your parents didn’t discuss it with you so you feel ill-equipped, for example.
5 – Make sure they talk to both men and women
Many parents focus on informing their daughters about menstruation and puberty, but assume that their sons will pick it up as they go along. This isn’t always the case, and it’s important that both genders receive sex education from their parents. In many households, it’s also the job of the mum to talk about sex, but both parents should be involved. Children should hear the viewpoint of both men and women, as it teaches children that men and women can talk about sex together, which is an important communicative skill in adulthood. If your child is raised in a gay or lesbian household, it’s a good idea to ask for help from close relatives or friends of the opposite gender, so that your kids get the benefit of both viewpoints when they’re learning about this topic.