This is a very controversial topic that many parents are afraid to open up about, but talking about these things are VERY important for your kids and your family. I wanted to share my family’s experiences on how we navigated this tough talk to help give you guidance on how to handle it with your kids. Now, us parents went through all of this TOTALLY different than most kids today, but it’s our job to take what we learned and make it better for our kids. I want to tell you some important things to remember about having the sex talk with your kids and go over the when, how, and why. One of the hardest things to overcome with learning is having to unlearn something you previously learned that might be wrong. Parents should be the FIRST place where kids hear about sex so that they don’t learn about things that aren’t true or make it an uncomfortable topic.
1. Don’t Use Slang
There are a number of reasons why you should stop using any nicknames or terms you’ve used in the past when you give your kids the sex-talk. Firstly, sex is an adult topic, so you shouldn’t be treating it like it’s something it’s not. You want your children to understand how serious it is and that it comes with serious consequences, which you can’t do if you’re referring to things as cutesy nicknames from their childhood. You should be using the biological terms ONLY at this point. Not only does this help shape their perception of sex as something natural and not something to be afraid of, but it is also to be prepared for the worst. God forbid if something terrible happens, any kind of assault or anything like that, your kids need to be able to communicate clearly whatever happened in a legal setting.
2. You Never Know What They Hear at School
Kids are being exposed to sex much younger than in years before. Especially in school, this topic is bound to make its way to your kids’ ears. You want to prepare them for that conversation BEFORE they hear about it at school so that they don’t develop some warped idea of what sex is and what it means. I remember when my father had the talk with me; I was 13 and I remember it being very uncomfortable and very vague. I didn’t feel comfortable enough to ask questions, so the gaps in my knowledge about sex were filled by some of the incorrect things I learned outside of my home. You don’t want that with your kids. You want to make this a conversational topic that they feel comfortable enough to talk about with you so they can come to you with questions and so they don’t learn about it the wrong way.
We talked to our 11-year-old daughter about sex, periods, and everything else when she was about 9 or 10. We curated this conversation in a way that it became an ongoing conversation, one that she feels comfortable to continue by coming to us when she gets questions about things she hears outside of our home. Not long ago, she heard a slang term at school and was curious what it meant, as most kids would be. We were able to explain it to her without it being an uncomfortable topic so that she isn’t asking others for advice because we would rather she hear these things from US than from school or TV.
4. How Did We Do It?
We stumbled across these amazing books that helped walk us through this talk together, as parents and as a family. The Story of Me and Before I Was Born really helped us navigate this conversation with our kids. You don’t want to go into this conversation being uncomfortable because that will teach your kids that sex is an uncomfortable topic, which doesn’t prepare them for being successful adults.
Using these books, we’ve already had this conversation with our 8-year-old son. When we talked about everything, I would ask him, “do you understand? What do you think, could you explain it to me?” to make sure he understands and that he feels comfortable enough to talk about it. Later he came to talk to me and my wife and was able to explain it to her just like a normal conversation because we made it conversational.
We didn’t them to feel awkward about it and wanted them to learn about sex as something beautiful that is traditionally shared between a married man and woman. We also talked about how sex sometimes happens outside of marriage, too, so that they weren’t confused when they inevitably learned about it.
You’re probably wondering what the relationship and conversation between a father and daughter about sex should look like. I’ll be honest, my wife mostly handles this with our daughter, but that doesn’t mean she and I can’t have that conversation. She should feel comfortable enough to ask me questions too, not just her mom, but that the depth of these conversations may be different than the ones she has with her mom.
One of the most important things to take away from all of this is making the sex talk conversational and not a one-way, boring lecture. You want them to come to you with anything they may not understand or anything they hear at school or anywhere outside of the home. You want to be the first ones to bring this to your kids so you can tell them what they need to know how they need it. Remember, one of the hardest things when it comes to learning is having to unlearn things you were taught in the past, so if you can prevent your kids from learning about sex the wrong way, both your life and theirs will be much easier in the long run.
Do you still have questions about having “the talk” with YOUR children? I would love to answer any questions you may have and offer as much advice as I can.
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