Does Your Child Know This Simple Truth?
When it comes to talking to your child about sex, sometimes just starting the conversation can be the hardest part (you can find tips to start the conversation here). We sometimes give the message that sex is shameful, embarrassing or “bad.” Make sure your child understands that sex can be wonderful, amazing, fun and an opportunity to bond between two loving partners. Communicate this simple truth: sex is good and pornography is bad.
- Start the conversation but let your child direct it. When your child is very young, you’ll have information you’ll want to give him and as he gets older you might have a message you want to get across, but remember to do more listening than talking. When you’ve got something you want to say it’s easy to get caught up in lecture mode. Try to avoid this by approaching the subject more like a discussion as your child gets older. If your child isn’t forthcoming with comments, ask your child what his friends say about sex, ask about what sports she might like to play when she gets older, talk about what sports are available to boys and girls; anything to get your kid talking!
- Don’t freak out. Ask some questions of your own. If your child asks a question out of the blue, ask her why she is asking. Context can mean a lot. When my daughter was learning to read and I was filling out a form at a doctor’s office she asked, “What’s “sex” Mommy?” I nearly had a heart attack until I realized all she wanted to know was what the word on the paper meant. I explained that it was asking if I was a boy or girl. Whew!
- Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Don’t feel like one talk gone awry is going to lead to a life of promiscuity or sexual deviance. You love your child. You are one of the biggest influences in his life. Use your influence for good and use it often!
- Don’t show judgment. It may be hard but at a certain age your child will be looking for reasons not to trust you and talk with you. If she mentions that one of her friends is having sex, sneaking around or something else you don’t approve of, don’t rush to judgment or ban your child from hanging out with that friend. That’s a quick way to lose your child’s trust. Instead, teach your child to be a good friend and a good example. Ask your child what she thinks her friend should do. Offer sound advice. If your child feels like she can trust you with her friend’s problems, she’ll be more likely to come to you with her own.
Try to relax and let the conversation flow naturally. By talking to your child about sex and sexual intimacy throughout his or her life, you are empowering your child with important knowledge and preparing him or her for future successful relationships. In the meantime, he or she will be more likely to have a strong sense of self-worth and feelings of healthy sexuality.
See our book 30 Days of Sex Talks for ages 3-7, 8-11 and 12+ to find lessons and activities to empower your child with knowledge of sexual intimacy!