Talking to your kids about sex can be uncomfortable for not only your child, but YOU. Some parents are at a loss about where to start, how much to tell, or at what age to begin the conversation. This conversation doesn't have to happen in the matter of one hour, but rather in an ongoing dialogue, which can evolve with information and age over time.
Here are three things to consider to help get the conversation started:
Make a plan. When beginning to have conversations about sex it is important to share age appropriate information. Knowing too much, too soon could be harmful. However, not knowing enough can be just as damaging.Your family has to decided how much information is necessary at the particular stage your child is at. Make a plan on how you are going to give this information to your child. How much do you want them to know at their current age and as time goes on commit to having more detailed conversations. This will help to ensure the information comes from you FIRST. When there is a healthy on-going dialogue about sex they may feel more inclined to come to you with questions and/or concerns.
Ask Questions. If you aren't sure what to say, start with a question. “Tell me what you know about sex?” This open ended question allows your child to tell you what they know. This clears the air for them to talk and you to listen. By listening to what THEY know you will be able to gauge if you need to correct any information they received that is inaccurate. You can also decide if you need explain more details as their age allows.
Never too late. The earlier the better, but better late than never. Talking to your kids about sex has the best results when the conversations start early. However, it is better to discuss now than never have a conversation because you feel its too late. It is important to let your child know you can be trusted with sensitive information. It is also important to understand their view of sexuality should come from YOU and not from society and peers. There are very twisted views of sexuality. Society often weighs heavily on popular views of sex instead of medically accurate information. If you have an older teenage child whom you have not discussed sex with yet-- don't believe it is too late. This conversation needs to happen. Your child deserves to get the information from you.
A Positive Approach to Teen Health (P.A.T.H) is a 501(c)3 organization that reaches seven counties throughout Northwest Indiana. Since 1993, A Positive Approach to Teen Health has been working to empower teens to make healthy choices regarding drugs, sex, alcohol, and violence.