Our first Tip is to Prep!
Are you ready to have THE Talk? Many times parents are wondering if their child is ready to learn about sex and growing up, but often times the real question is Are YOU Ready? Have you taken the time to think about what your beliefs and values are and which you’d like to leave behind and which you’d like to instill in your child. A great place to start is to inventory where you learned about sex. What values did your parents instill in you? What beliefs and values do you have about sexuality?
How about your partner? It’s equally important to have important conversations with your co-parent about this topic. Get on the same page and discuss tactics and timing of your talks. You both need to talk to them as well. Don’t leave this up to one parent to do. Kids need both of your perspectives. If you are a single parent or separated from your child’s parent it may be difficult to get on the same page. You could start with letting him or her know that you are ready to broach this conversation with your child and what you plan to do or say.
You should also do a bit of research to prepare. Buy a book or browse the internet for tips on what kids need to know at different ages and resources to share with your child. Check out our website at www.thetalkinstitute.comfor wonderful book and website suggestions to get you started. Remember, It is important to not just teach your child the facts about sex, but to take the time to share your family values. This is why knowing what you believe is so important. Kids deserve the real deal and parents YOU are the best educators. You’ve got this and we are here to help along the way!
Be sure to keep watching or listening on for the second tip to talking to your kids about sex. See you soon...
Tip 2 - Debunk Your Fears
Parenting can be challenging. When you love something or in this case someone, it is easy to get into our heads and fear the worst. Take a moment to write down what you fear the most about having this talk. What may be stopping you or what is making you hesitate. Some common fears I have heard from the thousands of parents I have talked to are: Is my child too young to learn about this? Will talking about sex make my child curious or want to go out and try it? Is it okay to share my own experiences even if they are ones I’d rather my child didn’t have? What if I don’t know the answer to a question? I could go on and on....
Lets begin with these though. When is the best time to talk to kids about sex and growing up. The answer. Throughout their entire lives. The Talk really should be many talks. The more often, the better as this will show your kids that the topic is not taboo and they can ask questions at any time.
Will Talking about sex make your child more curious and want to try it? N-O...NO! In countries where the teen pregnancy rates are lowest, open, honest, and frequent conversations occur with this topic. Normalizing body changes, sexual urges, and encouraging questions are all a part of what makes these countries successful. Sex is seen as a normal human function, kinda like eating. Conversations focus mostly on how to navigate relationships and have healthy ones. I met a Dutch man when I was studying in Europe who told me this wonderful story to help me understand. He said “in my country talking about sex is like this. Imagine you live in a huge beautiful house and you tell your children you may go in any room you want in this house, any time you want. Nothing is off limits. In America, you tell your children you can go into any room you want but don’t you dare go into this room. This one is bad, off limits, and not for little kids. Stay out of this room! What do you think a kid wants to do as soon as they are home alone? You betcha...go and see what is in the room they aren’t allowed into. What I learned from his story was this, take the curiosity out of sex and young people won’t feel the need to go and experience it so soon.
Also I feel sharing your own experiences is important. This helps you bond with your child and they see you as not just their parent but someone who has also had experiences that they will have. It’s also important to share mistakes you have made along the way. Kids need to know that people make mistakes (even mom and dad) and by knowing that you give them space to make their own as well. This makes them more open to learning from your mistakes, others, and their own.
Lastly, what if you don’t know the answer to a question they have? SO... that’s totally okay. You can say to your child, “Wow that’s a great question! I don’t know the answer to that. Let me do some research and find out and I’ll get back to you.” Or you can even do some research together. You are perfectly imperfect and you are leaving room for your child to be as well. What a gift! Be sure to watch or listen on for tip #3.
Tip 3 - Get Started Already
Remember you don’t have to share everything from A-Z all at once, nor should you. It is easiest to begin with something that is relevant to your child’s life right now. I like to call these teachable moments. Use a TV show, movie, or the news to help. Ask an open-ended question (you know one they can’t say just yes or no to) to start the conversation. Like, what did you think about that super bowl commercial? You could also buy your child a book you read together or set-up a “date night” with him or her and tell them you’d like to chat about something that has been on your mind. The car is a great place to have these talks or while playing a board game or puzzle.
If you are enrolled in a Talk program simply tell your child that you signed them up for a course that talks about what they need to know about growing up. That both you and their friends will be there and its going to be fun, and make this topic less awkward for both of you.
Remember, the key is to get started having these conversations because not having them is saying a whole lot more. I Hope these quick tips helped a bit and be sure to subscribe to our channel to get even more tips on raising sexually healthy kids.
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