I wrote the following post a couple of years ago in a series entitled “Having the Tough Talks.” At that time, I had not yet begun the sex conversation with my own son. We have recently crossed that bridge, so I thought it appropriate to re-post this one with some updates. See my updated comments and a big list of resources after the italicized re-post:
Hoping you can somehow forever avoid talking to your kids about sex? You aren’t alone. But you also need to face your fears, say a prayer, dig deep, and dive in with your kids. You may want to start with this post about having the Tough Talks with kids.
As promised in my Parenting 101 interview, below is a big list of varioius resources to parents to help you in talking with your kids about sex as you lead them toward healthy sexuality and making wise choices for themselves. I would encourage you to take some time browsing through these various resources, and see what is most helpful for you and your family. First, here are a couple of simple tips to keep in mind:
Having the Tough Talks: SEX
Q. Why is it so important for parents to talk to our kids about sex? Can’t kids figure it out on their own?
A. As long as you don’t mind your kids learning about sex via porn, other kids who think they are experts, experimentation, or entertainment choices that offer no moral guidance, then you really don’t need to concern your self with having this Tough Talk. Sure, they can figure it out on their own. Let me know how that works out for them!
Q. What can parents do about their fears or awkwardness regarding having this Tough Talk?
A. Before you let your fears and awkwardness stop you from talking with your kids about sex, consider how much trouble they can find sexually if you don’t talk with them. Maybe your fear for what your kids could experience without your guidance will help motivate you to plunge in and get the talk going. Also, don’t expect that you have to talk it all out in one big conversation. Start with some basic information and guidelines before moving into all the nitty-gritty details. And be sure to offer basic moral guidelines throughout the process. You will offer the best guidance for your kids with the least stress for both of you if you will work toward making sexuality a part of an ongoing conversation between you where questions and comments can be offered without shame or reactivity.
UPDATES FROM THE “VETERAN” SEX EDUCATOR:
- Having the initial conversation/explanation with your child doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Prepare, pray, keep calm, and stay at a level of information your child can handle.
- As I mentioned in the previous post, DO NOT try to approach this as the one big, perfect talk that covers all things sexual. Don’t even try to have The Talk. You are having the first in an ongoing series of conversations that may well span for ten years or more. Set the tone that you are available and comfortable to talk with your child (then teen) about anything related to sexuality anytime, and that you are committed to being his/her best source of information.
- I chose to have the first talk with my son about sex as he is beginning the fourth grade at 9 1/2 years old. Ideally, I would prefer to wait a couple more years to really dive into this subject with him. However, in today’s world of media bombardment, if I don’t begin this process early, I will be late to the party, so to speak. Others will have gotten to him first, more than likely with inaccurate information, questionable morality, and less than savory delivery. Parents, whether you like it or not now, you DO want to be first in line to open the door of sexuality with your kids. You want to be the one to set the tone and be sure they start on the right path with the right guidance in this often treacherous domain.
- I am not sitting back waiting for him to make the next conversational move, now that I have had the initial explanatory talk with my son. I am finding small opportunities to make calm, relevant comments about sexuality here and there. I don’t want to overdo this and embarrass or frustrate him. I do want to make it clear that this is a perfectly normal topic that is significant in the daily fabric of life, and that I am perfectly comfortable to discuss it with him without it turning into some awkward situation for either one of us.
If you have any questions or comments about this issue (or any other, for that matter), please feel free to share them with me by either commenting on this post or sending me an email via the on-screen boxes in the right column. Blessings to you and your household!