Tips on how to talk to your kids about sex

Tips on how to talk to your kids about sex

Sex is a topic that makes many parents run for cover, but explaining “the birds and the bees” is a conversation every parent needs to have with their kids.

Parents are the most critical people in a child’s life and affect their sexual development. The sex talk should be an ongoing dialogue throughout the child’s life, helping them make sense of their feelings.

Sex Talk Dos:
• Do stay relaxed
• Do express your feelings and hear your child’s feelings about your talk
• Do have child explain what he/she has learned/knows about sex
• Do empower child with accurate information
• Do listen
• Do explain sexual choices, feelings and actions
• Do provide loving, caring interactions (tickle, hug, kiss)
• Do support body exploration, especially during hygiene and toilet training
• Do monitor social exposure and models — from TV to personal contacts

Sex Talk Don’ts:
• Don’t be judgmental or criticize
• Don’t compare your child with others
• Don’t violate confidences unless adolescent at risk
• Don’t be evasive or avoid certain questions
• Don’t shame because of what child does or says sexually
• Don’t reference what child does sexually as “funny” or “bad”
• Don’t project adult behaviors onto infant

Ages 0-3:
• Kids at this age begin to explore their bodies physically. As a parent, you should call the body part what it is: “penis,” “vagina.” You do not want to use nicknames for private parts. You want to be clear as a parent, and use the proper anatomy names.
• Parents should not judge their children in a negative way because they are curious about their bodies. You do not want to make the child feel shameful.

Ages 4-5:
• Kids will start to ask questions about sex, and parents should tell their children that the mommy has a uterus and that is where a baby starts to grow.

Ages 6-8:
• Parents should talk about some of the realities of puberty and what body changes will occur in boys and girls.
• Basic sex education is occurring and parents should say that the penis enters the vagina.
• Do not avoid conversations that refer to sex.

Ages 9-11:
• Parents continue to talk to their kids about sex, and introduce the topic of sexual intercourse.
• Sexuality is a form of pleasure. They will begin to form romantic feelings, crushes, and as a parent, you do not want to dismiss them.
• You do not want to criticize your child or make them feel uncomfortable for having these feelings.

Ages 12-14:
• Children need to be clear about their body, and develop a healthy acceptance of it.
• Parents need to help them overcome the changes and fears with sex.