Most of us learned about the “birds and bees” through pop culture, all thanks to George Michael and Madonna. In this technologically advanced internet age, everything is readily available (and sometimes in the most horrifying way). So, the internet is probably the LAST place you’d want your kid to learn about sex, right? To make the sex talk easy for your kids, here are five tips from us about how you can talk to them about it.
1. Use scientific language
Pediatricians and parenting experts advise that you should teach your kids to call their body parts by their actual names (no more cute “pee-pee” and ”fanny”). This tactic sets a clear, active, straightforward, body-positive tone. After all, it’s all natural, and there’s nothing to be ashamed of, shy, or awkward about. They’re just body parts.
2. Wait until they are old enough – but not too old
Wait till the age of six or seven when they can grasp a broad understanding of intercourse. If asked about it, you don’t need to get too graphic about it. (For instance, you can explain how mommy’s and daddy’s body parts fit like a puzzle.)
Remember, this is your chance to represent sex as an interaction between two people who love each other. If you squeamishly avoid the topic until they’re eight or nine, chances are they’d already have learned about it from the internet and their friends. And we’re pretty sure that other kids of that age aren’t the best source of information.
3. Let them guide the conversation
Letting your children ask you questions makes them feel comfortable around you, and it makes them realize that they can come to you with any problem. If they have sex-related doubts, say, “That’s a great question.” It’ll reinforce their confidence, but it also buys you time to think about a good answer.
According to the experts at Planned Parenthood, you should lob the ball back into their court by asking, “Can you tell me what you know about that?” You can proceed to fill in the gaps in their knowledge without making it too awkward.
4. Have the talk early and often
Just talking about sex once (while mortified) and then running to the hills won’t teach your kids about avoiding STDs, unwanted pregnancy, and sexual assault. Consistency and repetition are also essential to parenting. Being open with your children and listening to them without judging them will boost their confidence to come to you if they have any problem. For children between the ages of 12-14, parents are the primary influence about sexual decision-making.
5. Don’t forget the feelings
With everything that we see on the television, kids might get the impression that sex has nothing to do with feelings (for example, “first base,” “second base,” etc.) Hence, it is your responsibility to empower them to take ownership of their bodies and their sexuality, not to disassociate from or devalue them.