10 Ways to Talk to Your Children about Sex
The American Association of University Women Foundation found that the number one concern of girls ages eleven through seventeen was how to say “no” to sex in an emotionally-charged relationship. Have you ever had that conversation with your daughter? Or son? If not, there is no time like the present.
Here are 10 ways to talk to your children about sex:
1. Fight the fear
It’s safe to say this is not something a parent will relish talking about with their children. We all prefer to think of them as the innocent, sweet babes they once were. The mere thought of sex and your child in the same conversation strikes fear in the parental heart. Fight that fear! As scary as the topic might be, it is more frightening to think of the possible consequences of not having this discussion. This is one of those step-up-to-the-plate types of moments. Batter up.
2. Get a clue
Sex itself does not change. Nothing new has been invented. However, the language of sex is always evolving. Every generation has their own buzz words and phrases. It would benefit you greatly by making yourself familiar with these terms. Use the Internet as the great research tool it truly is. The more you understand what your child is exposed to, the better you will be able to explain the meaning.
3. Avoid negativity
This is a difficult subject for you and your child. It is natural to come across as putting sex in a negative light. That would not be healthy for the development of your child. Emphasize the importance of when, why and with whom sex should occur. Make sure to explain that in its proper setting, sex is a wonderful and beautiful expression of love. A blessed gift.
4. Don’t patronize
In almost all cases, your child already knows most of what you are going to be talking about. This is the information age and sex is surrounding us. Your kids talk about it with their friends already and at much earlier ages than you care to acknowledge. Talking down to your children will only make them roll their eyes and tune you out. Your job here is to give the right information on sex. Give them credit for having a working knowledge before you start.
5. Get off the pedestal
As with many issues in parenting, what you did as a child is sometimes exactly what you do not want your child to do. Everyone has done things that they regret later in life. Your child does not need to know the intimate details of what you consider mistakes. But it is important not give yourself “angel status” either. You have to be realistic with this topic. Your child is going to kiss somebody. As they age, they are going to attempt more. Your job is to run damage control. Using your past, and its consequences in some cases, is helpful in doing just that. It also builds a bond of understanding.
6. Importance of faith
Most religions encourage sexual purity before marriage. If you are a family of faith, your child will have the benefit of this on their side. There is a growing movement in this country of “abstinence” among teens who practice religion. However, you can be secular in your beliefs and still teach your child to hold themselves to a higher standard. That cause is universal. This does not mean all teens of faith will not have sex before marriage, but it does cut down on the likelihood when taught properly. Talk to your children and make sure they are aware of what your faith teaches on the subject.
7. The emotional toll
If your child is in the public school system, they will have been taught the “birds and the bees” by the time you have this conversation. Make sure you cover that ground nonetheless just to be sure. What they will have not learned in school however, is the emotions involved in sexual behavior. When asked in a poll, one woman responded “I wish someone would have explained to me the emotional impact of these things. At 13, 14, 15, you just have no idea!” Talk to your kids about the consequences and feelings that occur after sex.
8. The risks
It is of vital importance that you explain to your children the risks involved in having sex. STD’s are rampant in society and more dangerous than ever. Abortions are more and more frequent every year. Unwanted births occur every minute. Your child must know the possible ramifications of reckless behavior. Paint the unpleasant scenarios that can become reality for them by taking certain paths.
Peer pressure plays a large part in the sexual development of your child. Sadly, some things are just out of your hands. Give your child the support and foundation they require. Make sure your children view themselves as valuable. Give them the strength to stand up for what they believe. In a book on this subject, a 17-year-old girl stood up in front of her peers and declared that she was a virgin. When the laughs hurled her way, she replied “I can be like you in seconds, but none of you can be like me ever again.” That is courage.
10. Constant communication
It should not be that you have one talk about sex and never mention it again. As stated before, sex is all around us everywhere we turn. Use that to your advantage. It doesn’t always have to be heavy conversation. Humor is a great teacher and puts everyone at ease. When the 16-year-old on Nick Teen is pregnant, quip to your daughter, “Aren’t you glad you’re not that girl?” It works.