Can You Encourage A Healthy Attitude Towards Sex In Kids?
Having a good and healthy attitude towards sex can be difficult to promote in children, as often the topic is shrouded in embarrassment and anxiety. But you don’t need to worry – there are plenty of easy ways to broach the subject of sexuality for a really positive attitude. The best way to achieve this is to go little by little as they get older. And it can begin as young as two years old! By the age of two, you can teach your children the correct names for their body parts. By three and four, many children begin to exhibit an interest in sexuality such as touching their genitals, or playing ‘doctor’ with other children. They may even ask where babies come from – this interest in sex and sexuality is perfectly normal. By the age of eight, you can begin to prepare your children for the changes of puberty that lie ahead. This means explaining the basic facts of sex and reproduction, as well as what puberty entails. This may be a useful time to begin explaining the messages about sex that the media portrays, so that children understand these aren’t always an accurate portrayal of what sex is. By the late primary or early high school stage, preteens might need help in dealing with body image, sexual feelings and peer pressure. Finally, during their teens, your kids may need guidance with regards to relationships, communicating sexual limits, and protection from unsafe situations.
The most important aspect of encouraging a healthy attitude towards sex is sharing your family values with your children. While they’ll learn the facts of sex in biology classes and sex education at school, the values you want to pass on need to come from within the home. There are a range of issues within sex, from sexual orientations and family roles to body image and gender roles, and how you seek to share these values is entirely down to you. Ultimately, how you raise your children will determine much of how they view these issues themselves. The best way to do this is to use everyday tasks as a great way to start up the conversation you want to have. For example, as you’re giving your toddler a bath or changing a nappy, you could help them learn the names of their body parts. Or maybe, as you’re watching TV with your primary school child, and a couple on the show moves into the bedroom, you could talk about relationships and intimacy. If you’re driving home from school with your teenager and a sex-related topic arises on the radio, why not take that opportunity to discuss your values and feelings towards the subject and share those with your child.
It’s not always easy to discuss sex and sexuality with your children, but there is an easy process that makes the whole subject a little easier. Firstly, find out what your child already knows, such as asking where they think babies come from. Secondly, take that opportunity to correct any misinformation and offer up the true facts – for example, if your child thinks that babies grow in a woman’s stomach, you can advise that they actually grow in the uterus. Lastly, use the conversations you have with your children as a chance to convey your values. For example, explaining that getting pregnant is great when you’re ready to take care of a baby. Keep the conversations you have with your kids open and light-hearted – you want to create a relaxed environment so that your children feel comfortable discussing issues with you if they have worries and anxiety in the future.