Sunday, December 14, 2008

Talking Sex with Your Children

A GITK Family member asked me a question many people in my profession receive: "When should I talk with my children about sex?" I decided to blog my response since many parents deal with this dilemma.

"How and when you decide to talk with your children about sex" has always stumped parents. Talking about sex with your child will only be as comfortable as you make it. There is no such thing as "the talk." Discussing sexual behavior with your child should be a dialogue: as they mature, so should your conversation.

If your children are younger (toddlers 2-6 years), it's best to begin talking with them about their bodies: start with the proper names for private body parts, appropriate and inappropriate touching...

As they get older (school aged: 6-10) their level of exposure will increase so you must be ready and willing to discuss sexual matters with your child. Discussions at this age should include kissing, rubbing, and touching... If you notice sexual undertones while watching television or listening to music with your child, this may be the best time to continue your discussion at a more in depth level.

Tweens and Teens (ages 11 and older) are more independent than younger children and often enjoy texting, chat rooms and spending time on internet sites like Myspace. Having these liberties may further expose them to bigger sexual issues, like sexual predators.

Most parents would be surprised if they knew what their kids were exposed to on a daily basis. Kids in school, church groups, boy scouts, and other social settings talk about sex. (Even children who are home schooled will be exposed to sex in one way or another.) Sex may not be their only conversation but it will come up eventually.

Ignoring the subject will not make it go away. If you don't talk to your children about sex, someone else will and the information they receive may not always be correct.

If you need sources for more information, try your local bookstore. Bookstores and libraries have entire sections on sexuality that are geared towards helping parents talk with their children. Here are some of the resources I recommend to parents:

  1. "It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health" by Robie Harris
  2. "What's Going on Down There?: Answers to Questions Boys Find Hard to Ask" by Karen Gravelle
  3. "Period: A girls Guide" by JoAnn Loulan
  4. " A Girl's (Boy's) Guide to Becoming a Teen" by The American Medical Association
  5. "What's Happening to Me?: Boy's Edition by Alex Firth

These are just a few examples of available resources. Make time to talk with your children. Most importantly, don't be afraid to LISTEN TO YOUR CHILDREN. You may think you're teaching them something, but I always believe they have a few things to teach us as well.

For more suggestions, contact us at


Search This Blog