Parent, Teacher, Author
Picture this scene: I’m driving in my minivan with a 2-year-old, 6-year-old, and 8-year-old after picking the two oldest up from school. We’re on our way to pottery lessons for my oldest and just chatting about our day. Then my 8-year-old says, “At lunch today a girl in my class told me that girls have three holes on their bottoms instead of two and that men put their penis in one of the holes and it makes the girl have a baby. She said it’s scary and hurts and the girl doesn’t want to do it.” Um, great….not exactly how I had planned to introduce the concept of sex to my kids. But these things happen; your child and mine will hear things about sexuality from their peers and the media. It’s important that parents start thinking about how to address issues of sexuality early on so that you can provide your child with the best information possible.
The key thing to remember about talking about sex is that you want to allow the conversation to flow naturally. When I ask my college students what they would tell parents about talking with children about sex, they always say that in their own experience, it’s more comfortable when parents talk about sex in small, natural increments rather than having one big “talk.” In fact, many of the college students said that when their parents took the “sex talk” approach, they felt awkward. They wished that their parents had taken more opportunities to address issues as they arose rather than having a formal talk.
So how do you do this in practice?
These are just a few ideas to keep in mind as you think about talking with your kids about sex. The main point, really, is to see sexuality as a normal, natural part of life and development. Your child is a little person with an emerging sense of sexuality. Don’t be afraid of that, instead, approach those feelings and thoughts just like you do with anything else that they’re learning. When you think of it that way, it helps you take advantage of natural opportunities for conversation and sharing of information with your child.