Just how do we talk to kids about sex? The topic of sex is one that most parents struggle to talk to their kids about. We discuss several pointers that might be effective in helping us talk to our kids about sex.
The topic of sex is one that most parents struggle to talk to their kids about. As parents, we can all see the day coming — when we would need to initiate the talk with our kids — but we often don’t know how to talk to kids about sex.
There is no bubble big enough to protect our children from the world’s many obsessions.
Sexual messages are constantly shoved in their faces through music, movies, commercials and social media. Our children will learn about sex, and too many of them are learning about it from anyone but their own parents.
If we do not provide the necessary guidance and framework for healthy sexuality, our children will form their own conclusions with information received from elsewhere; these sources, however, may not have their best interests at heart.
The truth is, parents are the best people to talk to their children about sex. Let’s not underestimate the amount of influence we have in their lives.
Here are several pointers that might be effective in helping us talk to our kids about sex.
1. Create meaningful connections
Connecting with our children doesn’t just mean spending time together but intentionally listening to what they have to say and making it a point to understand what is going on in their minds. Building a healthy bond is often the cornerstone of generating open, healthy conversations with them. This opens the door to future conversations about sex, healthy boundaries and values the family holds regarding sex.
2. Start small
From the time our children are babies, we should use the proper terms to identify body parts, especially genitalia. This will pave the way for us to teach them about caring for their bodies and the importance of guarding their private areas, as well as appropriate and inappropriate touch.
Starting small will help us gradually work our way to talking about the bigger, more sensitive aspects of sex.
3. Look out for teaching opportunities
Finding conversation starters isn’t difficult in this day and age. Natural teaching opportunities can easily be picked up from a suggestive TV commercial, a provocative advertisement, or questionable song lyrics.
Practise discernment and wisdom when exposing our children to age-appropriate content and always try to provide relevant, age-appropriate answers. The level of detail that they need at the age of six, for example, is very different from that at the age of 12.
4. Create a communication-safe haven
Keeping the communication lines open between us and our children gives them the chance to ask more questions, no matter how silly or awkward those questions may be.
Conversations with our children about sex should be just that — conversations! Talking about sex should not be regarded as a big, one-off talk to get over and done with. Instead, let’s create a safe space for them to ask honest questions and have open discussions as they grow.
A safe space means not frowning upon them when they ask direct or surprising questions, nor having a “my way or the highway” kind of attitude. We will be way more effective if we refrain from jumping to conclusions and try to understand their concerns, before sharing our opinions on the matter.
5. Show affection
Openly showing affection to our spouse in the form of kissing, hugging, hand-holding and offering words of tenderness plays an important role in raising secure and emotionally-healthy children. By modelling the standards of a positive marriage relationship, we are shaping our children’s worldview of relationships and marriage.
When children understand that the true nature of sex is deeply relational and emotional, they can begin to formulate a healthy outlook on sex. This, in turn, gives them a strong foundation from which to build deeply meaningful relationships in the future.
Written by Sue-Ann Lee.
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