Sexuality is part of everyone’s life, regardless of age. As children grow and develop, they are likely to start being curious about sex and seek information on the topic, especially with their parents. This is natural, but are you prepared to answer these questions? For some mothers this will be an easy task, for others, starting to talk about it will be complicated. But don’t worry, today I brought you some tips on how to talk about sex with your children. I’m sure they will help you.
In today’s text we will cover the following topics:
- Where to start
- Start from small
- How to talk about sex with children?
- Do with description
- Some advice on how to talk about sex with your kids
- What to address in each age group
- Peer pressure and sexual violence
- Safe sex
- Shame? Why?
- Talk to other parents
- Tips to remember
Where to start?
Moments to educate your child can appear at any time: while they go shopping, movies and even the park. Propitious situations can arise every day about talking about sex with children. For example, at bath time, you can talk about body parts and how that part should be private. A pregnancy or family birth is a good time to explain how a baby is conceived and how it is born.
Look for opportunities in your life every day to address the issue or provide useful information. Pop culture provides many of these opportunities. If you are both watching a television program that mentions a myth about sex, correct it so that your child understands.
Start from small
How to talk about sex with children? Start talking about sexuality with your child from an early age! This way, he will get used to sharing information with you and expressing his opinions. It will be easier for you to keep talking as it grows. If you have never tried to talk to your child about the topic, remember that it is never too late to start talking about sex.
How to talk about sex with children?
Speech is not necessary. First, investigate what your child already knows. Let him guide the conversation and ask the questions. It is possible that some children will not ask for information if they realize that you are uncomfortable with the topic. Others may do the opposite and ask embarrassing questions, just to embarrass. The key is to talk openly with them and let them know that they can ask uncomfortable questions.
Also keep in mind that it can scare your child if you try to speak in one conversation everything you want him to learn. Instead, you should provide this information gradually, and develop a relationship based on trust and open communication.
Do with description
Talking about sex with children requires skill. Don’t force your child to talk about sex when he doesn’t want to, much less in front of other people. Look for the times when you are alone to talk about the topic and see if he is willing to talk to you.
Some advice on how to talk about sex with your kids
When children start asking uncomfortable questions, the following advice can help:
- Don’t laugh, even though the question is funny. If you laugh, he may feel embarrassed and close himself off. Try not to look ashamed or take a very serious stance on the topic.
- Be brief. Respond with sensitive words and according to age. Your four-year-old son doesn’t need to know the details about intercourse.
- Use the proper name of each body part.
- See if he was satisfied with the answer or if he wants to know more.
- Notice the child’s responses and reactions.
- Get ready to repeat things.
What to address in each age group
18 months to 3 years old
Children in this age group are beginning to learn about their own bodies and it is important to teach the right name for each part. Inventing a name for the vagina or penis, for example, can give the impression that the proper name is wrong. In addition, it is the ideal age to teach your children that some parts are private (which must be covered with panties or swim trunks). You can also teach that each person has their own body, of different sizes and shapes.
4 to 5 years old
At this age, they begin to show an interest in basic sexuality, both their own and that of the opposite sex. It is also possible for them to touch their private parts and show interest in other children’s genitals. This is normal. However, it is important for children to learn what is right and what is wrong; and you must limit this exploration. Here are some things you can teach your children:
- Having an interest in the genitals is healthy and natural.
- Being naked and playing sex games in public is not correct.
- No one else, not even close friends and relatives, can touch your child’s “private parts”. The exception is doctors and nurses during physical examinations with parental permission, and parents themselves when they try to find the cause of pain in the genital area.
5 to 7 years old
Children in this age group want to know more about interpersonal relationships and may be interested in what happens between adults sexually. Their questions become more complex as they try to understand the connection between sexuality and a baby’s pregnancy. They can reach their own conclusions about the functioning of the body or the origin of babies. They can also turn to friends to find answers.
When it comes to thinking about how to talk about sex, it is important to help children understand sexuality in a healthy way. Lessons and values they learn at this age will stay with them as adults and will be the basis for meaningful relationships when they get older.
8 to 9 years old
Children in this age group probably already have a sense of what is right and wrong. They are able to understand that sex is something that happens between two people who love each other. They can show an interest in how Mom and Dad fell in love. As questions about romance, love and marriage arise, they may also be curious about homosexual relationships. Use these occasions to discuss family ideas about homosexuality.
10 to 12 years
At this stage it is important to explain the changes that they, pre-adolescents, will undergo with puberty and to teach how they can feel comfortable with their own bodies. You must explain that people have sex for pleasure and not just for reproduction, that masturbation is very common and normal, but in private. When it comes to talking about sex, we must explain what sexually transmitted diseases are and the practice of safe sex (use of condoms).
At this age you can already talk about rape and abusive relationships. Pre-teens should know the reproductive cycle, how a pregnancy produces and develops, contraception (including emergency contraception).
In adolescence, the object of desire becomes focused on the other’s body. At this stage, your child will be aware of his sexual identity and will start looking for ways to satisfy his needs. It is normal for children to disengage from their parents to seek new references. You must have an open dialogue, but without being invasive in the sense of guiding. Do not suffocate it, as it needs space, but also do not over-spoil it. It is necessary to know how to measure to reach a balance.
In this phase, they must know and understand the relationships between people of the same sex and must know that sexual identity is composed of sexual orientation, gender identity and biological sex. Explain that they must take responsibility for their decisions and that they need to balance independence with responsibility.
It is also ideal to explain about the complication of an early pregnancy, inappropriate or unwanted sexual experiences and use of contraceptives.
Peer pressure and sexual violence
Unfortunately, sexual harassment is becoming increasingly common in schools. Teach your children to identify peer pressure and how they can say no in an uncomfortable situation. Show your child that physical contact or sex without consent is always inappropriate and that, above all, there should be respect for other people.
Highlight the importance of safe sex. Tell your child that safety is your primary concern. Explain that sexually transmitted diseases can be contracted very easily, unless sexual partners take appropriate precautions. Talk about using contraceptives and how to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
Sex is natural. There is no reason to feel ashamed to talk about it or to reject any signs of openness. Believe me, it will not help if our children consider that sex is a taboo subject in the family. You can hide the truth, but that won’t stop them from having sex sooner, for example. Not talking about a certain thing only generates more curiosity.
It is best to talk openly to remove all urban legends that circulate on the Internet or on the network of friends. It is also the best way to prevent unwanted pregnancies and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases in the future.
You need to talk about sex
How we treat the issue is how our children will treat it in the future. If they see that we are ashamed to talk about it, it is likely that afterwards they will be ashamed to ask or will find that sex is embarrassing. If you don’t have an answer to a question, don’t be embarrassed. You can say that they will find out together and can see a book or search the Internet, for example.
Talking about sex doesn’t get your child to have it earlier, or anything like that, that’s a myth. Talking about the topic will also not leave your child any earlier. In fact, with information, he is more likely to postpone sex until he feels more secure. Talking about sex and sexuality will give you the opportunity to share your values and beliefs with your children.
Perhaps the subject or the questions may cause discomfort and shame at first, but your children need to know that at any time they can turn to a reliable and honest source to answer the questions: you.
Talk to other parents
Remember that you are not the only mother who is thinking about how to talk about sex with your children. Ask other parents how they are dealing with the topic. They can give useful advice or ideas. Talking to other parents is also a good way to discover the messages that other children are receiving about sex and relationships.
Tips to remember
- Education is based on a balanced development between the body and the mind. So, you have to feed the children physically and intellectually. Talking about sex is included in this education.
- Parents must educate in an integral sense, in all aspects. Better not to delegate parts of education to grandparents, school or friends. If you do, you may experience unpleasant surprises.
- Children are not traumatized by sex if we talk about it naturally.
- Showing sex as dirty and sinful generates trauma and rebellion.
- It is necessary to know how to define limits so that children do not have sex without being prepared. If you teach values and a healthy and realistic sex education from childhood, there is no need to impose anything.
- Talking about a problem earlier avoids greater harm. If we wait, the result will be worse.
- Children grow up safely if there is good communication from childhood. It will be your guide to face life and prevent risks in sexual relations.
- Proximity to children is essential and so are limits. At crucial moments, your children will remember their parents’ words and wisdom.
- You don’t have to scare them about sexuality, but they should know that there are risks. To know is to prevent.
- If there are problems, we have to be there to help. Making them feel guilty will only bring more pain to the situation.
In a dialogue, both parties must participate. It is not convenient for you to give a lecture to your children, let alone frighten them with severe punishment if they have intercourse ahead of time. It will only break trust. You can speak frankly and invite them to do the same for you. To do this, you must be prepared to listen to what your children are going to say and, above all, respect their opinions. That way, you will be opening a channel of communication and they will always turn to you when they need advice or face a complicated situation. This will make the relationship between mother and child even stronger.