Parenting Advice: Talking To Kids About Sex

‘Mommy, where do babies come from?’ Are you anticipating this question or have you already heard it and panicked, not knowing how to respond? Maybe you remember your own parents telling you about the ‘birds and the bees’; we all know how uncomfortable parents come up with symbolic stories or half-truths when confronted with the baby question.

Some of these stories are more accurate, such as telling your child that daddy gives mommy a seed that then grows in her belly. Some just confuse kids, like saying that your child was born from a spore in the backyard. The latter talks can lead to confusion that lasts for years. You don’t want your kids thinking they have some special brotherhood connection with the ferns out back.

Today’s kids require a different kind of sex education. Don’t leave sex education up to rumors in the playground—take matters into your own hands. It’s time for a crash course in talking to your kids about where babies come from.

Starting Early
Begin talking to your child about sex early on. Many experts suggest the age of eight. It’s important to remember that the information you give your child should be age appropriate. If you start talking to your child at an early age, keep it simple so that they can understand. Maybe it’s sufficient to say that daddy’s seed (sperm) meets mommy’s seed (egg) in her belly and that it gets there through daddy’s penis.

Take Initiative
Don’t wait until your child comes to ask you about sex. Find an appropriate moment, such as at the pet store when looking at the new puppies. Looking at the puppies can lead you to ask if your child wants to know how those puppies were created and then talking to your child about sex.

It’s also very important to anticipate your child’s next stage of development. Are they preteens or ready to hit puberty? Kids can be very afraid of these new developmental stages, so anticipate their concerns and speak to them. Informing your child is the best way to help calm their worries and make their transition smooth and happy.

Talk About the Emotional Aspect
Once your child is a bit older, say 11, they know more about the biological aspects of sex. But have you explained that sexual intercourse is an act of love and trust between two consenting adults? It’s important to include the very important emotional aspect of sex as it will enter their forming perception of sexuality. Learning that emotions are involved in sexuality will protect them from thinking that sex is something performed with just anyone. It will prepare them to make the right decisions when their time comes.

Discuss Your Own Values
Sex education talks are an excellent opportunity to discuss your values with your child. While your child has grown up probably sharing these values, they also spend much of their time in school and with friends who may affect their value system. Communicate what you believe in, but remember to give your child all the information. Abstinence is a wonderful value to share with your children, but remember that they need to know all their options. Also teach your child about teen pregnancy and birth control; this knowledge will help them make the right decisions. Remember, knowledge is a weapon that helps individuals survive.

Lastly, remember to take a few deep breaths before talking to your kids. Your child will pick up on your emotions. If you’re nervous, your child will believe that sex is a matter to be ashamed of. Be frank and open. It’s normal to sometimes feel jittery, but if you’re having a hard time talking to your children about sex, then re-evaluate your own feelings and attitudes towards sexuality.