Having “the chat” with your kids is undoubtedly on the ‘top 10 things no one prepares you for’ list. But, you gotta do what you gotta do. Sit down with your child, ease them in on what’s to follow and just have the chat, because no one else will.
Sex is a natural part of being human and it’s ideal for your kids to know about it from you first, so they have a healthy understanding of sex. They’re most probably going to pick up information from their friends and develop a wrong understanding of the whole thing. So, you NEED to be the one providing them with accurate information.
Is it overwhelming? Yes. But, it’s important because it goes a long way in affecting choices that your kids are going to make as men & women as they grow up.
The trick is to educate them in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Normalise open discussions about sex, puberty, good touch vs. bad touch at home so your kids don’t hesitate to ask you any questions that they may have.
It’s OKAY to talk about sex
It is recommended that children begin learning about their bodies at the age of four or five. Many parents may be surprised to learn that these discussions should begin when their children are young. However, the sooner you begin, the less difficult it will be. Children of this age have a healthy curiosity about how their bodies work, according to research. As a result, this could be the most natural time to start the conversation. Every family should have this discussion at home. Don't wait for your kids to pick it up at school or from their peers. Most kids have already heard a lot of misinformation in the playground by the time sexual education is covered in school. Take a deep breath and just have the talk. You’ve got this!
Q&As make for a great starting point
So, how do you bring up the topic? Taking advantage of "teachable moments" is one method. These are everyday occurrences that provide opportunities to start a conversation. For example, if your daughter notices a baby boy's diaper being changed, or if your son notices differences between his and his sister's bodies, you can begin to discuss body parts and how boys and girls differ. Also, make sure you use the appropriate names of body parts from the start, such as "penis" rather than a childish nickname. Make it a point to teach your kids which parts of their bodies are private. Explain to them that no one else should see or touch their private parts. Assure your child that he or she can tell you anything at any time, or designate a family member or friend to whom your child should report any incidents.
Bust myths or any misinformation
It is unfortunately common for children to receive incorrect information from their peers at school or on the playground. Let's say your child comes home and tells you some false information about where babies come from. Don't panic. First, find out where they got the information from and who else knows so you can notify other families if necessary. Second, inquire about their reactions to what they've heard. This gives them an opportunity to explain what they heard, and it allows you to start a new conversation and share the facts. If your child heard something that is true but contradicts your family's values, let him or her know that your family does not agree. This is an excellent opportunity to help your child learn about your family's values and morals.
Above all, it is important to teach your children a healthy respect for their bodies and lay the groundwork for future discussions.
Pro-tip: Don’t make it sound like a big deal, it’s a part & parcel of growing up.