Imagine you’re in the middle of doing something very important and out of nowhere your 7 year old asks, “Mum, what is sex”? What would your reaction or response be?
I came across this hilarious and instructive video on YouTube – Enjoy!
Many parents dread having “the talk”. Talking to our children about sex can be uncomfortable and embarrassing for both parties and even where parents summon up the courage to, they are totally clueless as to what to say. In an age that is very sexually permissive and prevalent – billboards, TV, fashion, Internet, our children aren’t walking around with their eyes or ears closed- they know a lot more than we think they know. By talking to them and answering their questions about sex and sexual related issues, they are less likely to believe rumors or information they get from friends or the Internet.
We should position ourselves as the “go to” person for our children when they have questions. So regardless of how profusely we may be sweating, let’s brace ourselves up to discuss this very important topic with our children whenever, wherever and as many times as is necessary. Here are a few tips to help.
- Start Early – Some experts recommend that we start having sex related talk with our children from about age 2 – 3 by using the right words for private body parts. For a guide to age appropriate talks on sex click here.
- Don’t avoid answering questions – children ask questions when they’re ready to know the answers. If you’re uncomfortable answering the question or you try to put them off until you think they’re ready, they may not only go elsewhere for the information, but they’re also unlikely to come to you with their questions next time.
- Don’t be a drama queen or king – You stumble on a text or mail between your child and another child that has sexual undertones, rather than getting melodramatic, calm down so that you can get enough information about how much your child knows and how best to guide them.
- Communicate your values – Consistently instill the right values in your children. Communicate the values you hold on to and explain why those values are important. Generally, Right Values = Right Choices.
- Seize “talking” moments – Rather than make the situation more awkward by giving one big and uncomfortable talk about sex when your child reaches adolescence, seize several “talking” moments as is age-appropriate from everyday life encounters. For example you could ask your teen what he / she thinks about celebrities and their “baby mamas”. Or you see a pregnant woman and your 6 year old wants to know what the woman ate that made her belly so big. These are good conversation starters. We should watch out for such opportunities at various stages of our child’s life as is appropriate.
- Be Honest – As ridiculous as it sounds, when we were growing up, we were told that if you talked to someone of the opposite sex you’d get pregnant! Some parents believe that talking about sex will lead to teens having sex. Research however shows that teens that have talked with their parents about sex are more likely to defer having sex. Also be prepared for some pointed questions your older children may ask such as “Mum, were you a virgin when you got married”? As embarrassing as it may be for you, please be truthful and use that as an opportunity to let them know why you wouldn’t advice them to be sexually active before marriage.
- Depending on the age of the child, talk about – reproductive organs; puberty and anticipated changes; masturbation; intercourse; birth control; STD’s; how far should to go when dating; how to show affection without having sex; how drugs, alcohol and the company you keep can influence your disposition to sex.
I personally advocate for abstinence from pre marital sex mainly because of my religious beliefs and because I don’t believe that young people are ready for the emotional baggage and complexities that come with being sexually active. I would be ecstatic if all youths abstain from sex until after marriage but the reality is that we can only guide and pray for them. So what should a parent do when he/ she suspects that their child is sexually active?
a) Bury their head in the sand and pretend it’s not happening; b) Have a heart to heart with the child and advice on ways to avoid complicating the situation with unplanned pregnancies and STD’s? c) Report to your religious leader and take the child for special prayers?
What do you think? Please share your views, comments, tips and most importantly let’s start talking.
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