Sex Talk with Kids
If your parents didn’t talk to you about sex when you were a kid, we surely were in the same boat. My parents, like any conservative parents, never gave me a hint about something called sex. It isn’t easy for all the parents to talk about everything with their children openly. While some parents successfully create a level of friendship with their kids, others find it difficult to communicate simple things to their kids.
With more exposure to media and information comes the responsibility of sharing the correct information with children and that too at the right time. Parents should talk to their kids about sex before they learn about it from their friends.
No matter how intimidating it may sound but it is the responsibility of the parents to have a sex talk with their children sooner than later.
20 Things that Every Parent should tell their Child about Sex
Whether you are an experienced parent, a new parent or waiting to become one, the most difficult thing you are going to face with your children is “sex talk”. It may not sound as terrifying for some parents while for others having a sex talk with kids can be a nightmare. There could be several reasons behind the inability to have a conversation about sex with children including cultural and religious constraints, emotional distance from children or a bitter past experience. Whether you think it is important or not or your kids are ready for it or not, there is nothing better than sex information coming from parents. Many experts believe that parents should start talking about sex with their children before their kids have even started talking. The sex talk with children should begin with the identification of body parts and it should be as easy to talk about sex organs as you talk about hands and feet.
It is important to have an age-appropriate sex talk with a child that is neither embarrassing nor offensive. Both parents and children should be comfortable while talking about sex. It is better to incorporate sex into daily conversations and add more information as your child grows.
When we talk about the things that need to be communicated to children about sex, these 20 things top the list in terms of importance and relevance that I would surely tell my child.
1. Tell your child proper names of genitals
It is a good idea to tell your children the actual words used for genitals. Telling nicknames may result in misunderstandings and miscommunications in case of injuries or health-related issues. The best time to talk about it is bath time. There is no shame in saying “penis” or “vagina” and your child should feel confident saying the words not embarrassed.
2. Tell them it is OK to explore their body
Touching private parts is considered shameful in many societies. If you want to teach your child about sex at a tender age you should tell them that it is perfectly fine if they want to touch their private body parts but they should be doing it in privacy.
3. Tell them about consent
I would tell my kids that there are certain boundaries and limitations when it comes to touching private body parts. If touching is coming from someone else, it needs to be consented. Children need to learn the meanings of consent and it can be taught through touch-based games. The difference between safe and unsafe touch needs to be taught during earlier years. They should be able to tell about inappropriate touch to be safe.
4. Tell them when it is OK to be naked
Children can be very inquisitive especially about things they don’t know. You need to teach them when and in front of whom it is ok to be naked. They should know that touching other people’s genitals is not ok as these are special parts and no one (except for health care professionals or people tagged safe by the parents) should be allowed to touch these special body parts.
5. Tell them how the babies are made
Gone are the days when mothers told their children that babies were brought by storks in baskets. With more exposure, children can get wrong information and there is nothing you would be able to do about it. There are several books available to teach the concept in a very light and easy way. Again, the information shared should be age-appropriate but if my child can comprehend and needs more information, I would be more than happy to share more.
6. Tell them that gender isn’t binary
With more and more people identifying themselves falling under various sexual orientation categories, it is better to teach children at a younger age that gender isn’t just a two-way thing.
7. Tell them about pornography
While many parents will not think it would be appropriate to talk about pornography with children, I think instead of them surprisingly stumbling upon a porn website on their tab or pc it would be better if information comes from me. We are living in a digital era and there is a fair chance for your child to accidentally open a porn website. Telling them about the concept beforehand would be better than a surprise encounter. I will try and make them understand that it is an adult thing and will be ok to go through such stuff once you grow up.
8. Tell them about masturbation
It is another age-appropriate concept and should be introduced only when you think that your child has started exploring his/her body. Tell them that it is normal only if you are maintaining proper hygiene.
9. Tell them about sexual abuse
Children are very fragile and vulnerable. Many children get sexually abused and keep the facts to themselves as they don’t find it easy to talk about the traumatic experience they had. Giving children ample age-appropriate information can help them protect themselves from predators.
10. Tell them about puberty and its accompaniments
Children go through various bodily changes once they hit puberty. As parents, we must tell them about how bodies develop when they grow. The changes are not only physical but also psychological because of the fluctuation in hormones. You can talk to them in person or give them a book to help understand more about puberty and its technical aspects.
11. Tell them about sexism or sexualization
There are several stereotypes attached to gender roles. Men should be doing heavy works; women should be having long hair, blue for boys and pink for girls etc. The era we are living in has developed far beyond sexism. Now anyone can be anything without feeling ashamed or embarrassed.
12. Tell them that growing up is normal
Many children are terrorized by bodily changes while growing up. They may or may not talk about it to anyone but being parents it is our responsibility to make them understand that these changes are normal and will help them shape into great human beings.
13. Tell them about safe sex and sexual choices
Sex-related information that your share with your children should be age-appropriate. Giving advanced information may benefit a few kids but it might be irrelevant for many. Once your child has hit puberty, now is the time to tell them about safe sex as there are risks involved. Telling them about various kinds of birth control methods might prove beneficial for them.
14. Tell them about internet safety
Since the internet was not a big thing during our childhood; we as parents need to communicate to our kids how to stay safe while using the internet. They should understand that sharing nude photographs over the internet is not only illegal it can have dangerous consequences.
15. Tell them about consent in sexual relationships
It is easier to talk about sex with teens if you have been talking about it since their childhood. The thing I didn’t learn from my parents was the importance of consent in a sexual relationship. They should understand that it’s love if the sex is consented; it is pressure and dating violence otherwise.
16. Tell them about sexually transmitted diseases
A major part of physical wellbeing is sexual health. Many conservative parents won’t talk about sexual wellbeing with their kids. It is very important to tell your children about the consequences of unsafe sex and how to maintain their sexual health.
17. Tell them that sex talk does not allow them to have sex
If talked openly, some children might consider that it is indirect permission for them to have sex. Tell them that “sex talk” is only for educating them and it is surely not a permission letter but they can always come and talk when the need arises.
18. Tell them that sex information they have can be misleading
Children share a lot of information with each other. This information can be true but it can also be false and misleading. As parents, we need to tell our children that they should always come to parents with any information they receive from their friends and get it cross-checked from parents.
19. Tell them about sexual harassment
Many kids when they grow up cannot distinguish between what is right and what is wrong when it comes to sex. They should be told that respect is the basis of any relationship including the sexual relationship.
20. Tell them to pass on this information to their children
We all need to break the stereotypes. There is nothing wrong with talking about sex with children and the sooner we start talking about it the better. If our parents didn’t tell us about tidbits doesn’t mean we also should not tell it to our kids. Let’s educate them to educate their kids about sex.
Is it really important to have a sex talk with kids?
The answer to this question is YES. It isn’t the Stone Age; it’s the digital era. The information is passed on more quickly than the jungle fire. Better equip your kids with correct information about sex than folklores they hear from their friends.
I was a naïve child and didn’t know much about sex until I landed in the play area. With trials and errors, I learned most of the things about sex. Modern parents are a lot different from parents from thirty years ago; they are friendlier and communicative. I as a parent would definitely be different from my parents. I will make sure to tell my children all the birds and bees stuff about sex that I couldn’t learn as a kid.