Remember a couple of weeks back when I wrote a post about an eleven year old who got pregnant by her 13 year old boyfriend? How does that even happen? I mean, I know how it happens, but HOW DID IT HAPPEN? Where were the parents? The girl said she didn’t even know she was old enough to get pregnant. When she said that, I was floored. I know when I was eleven I didn’t know anything about sex. But times, they change, and nowadays we need to be talking to kids about sex at a very young age.
I have found some great tips on how to make the uncomfortable topic (for many parents) of talking to kids about sex a bit easier.
5 Tips To Help You With Talking To Kids About Sex
- Start Young – Dr. G, author of Ask Dr. G, recommends that you start talking about your child’s body and privacy as soon as your toddler notices a difference between boy bodies and girl bodies. Make sure to use the body part’s real name; a vagina is a vagina and a penis is a penis. Also make sure to explain what areas of your child’s body are private (anything a bathing suit covers), and that nobody should touch them there without their permission.
- Keep Talking To Kids About Sex – Dr. G also stresses that this is not one conversation, rather several short conversations. Establish that you are there to listen and answer any questions as best you can. The older your child gets, the more information that you can provide. You can start by talking about how your child’s body works, how the opposite sex’s body works, and eventually how those bodies come together and reproduce. These conversations may be uncomfortable at first, but will get easier as both of you continue to have the conversations.
- Talk About Sex, But Details May Be Limited Based On Your Child’s Age – I found a great article on Parenting about how much information to give your child about sex based on age. Based on this information, between the ages of 6 or 7 you can give your child a basic description of sex: “You can say, “Nature [or God] created male and female bodies to fit together like puzzle pieces. When the penis and the vagina fit together, sperm, like tadpoles, swim through the penis and up to the egg.”
- What To Talk About – WebMD gives this information as a guide for what topics to discuss:
-Explanation of anatomy and reproduction in males and females
-Sexual intercourse and pregnancy
-Fertility and birth control
-Other forms of sexual behavior, including oral sex, masturbation (see Dr. G’s tips for talking about this topic), and petting
-Sexual orientation, including heterosexuality, homosexuality, and bisexuality
-The physical & emotional aspects of sex, including the differences between males/ females
-Self-image and peer pressure
-Sexually transmitted diseases
-Rape and date rape, including how being intoxicated (drunk or high), or accepting rides or going to private places with strangers or acquaintances puts a person at risk
- The Sex Ed Handbook – Let’s face it, these aren’t going to be easy conversations to have. But I want the kids to be able to come to me with any and all questions instead of getting bad information about sex from their friends. I plan to start talking to the kids while they are still very young, so it won’t be hard to do as they get older. I found an amazing how-to handbook written by Dr. Laura Berman called the Sex Ed Handbook. Go download it now, bookmark it, and refer to it as needed!
If you still have questions, head over to Ask Dr. G. If you haven’t checked out her site, you should. You can submit questions that she will answer for you. She’s also the one who gave us the excellent advice on how to stop yelling at your kids.
Have you started talking to kids about sex? What tips can you offer to other parents?