Parent 1: So have you talked to Jamie about the sex?
Parent 2: Girl, of course not! I do not want her to get any ideas and plus she’s only twelve!
Parent 1: Well, I have been talking to Kennedy about sex. I started after she came home from school telling me what she saw on some of her classmates’ phones!
This conversation is a perfect example of when most parents decide they are going to address the topic of SEX with their children. What age is an appropriate age to begin discussing SEX? Why bring it up if they are not asking about it? Talking to him or her about SEX is the same as giving him or her permission to engage in SEX…right?
NO!!!! You do not have to wait until they bring up sex to discuss it.
NO!!!! You talking about sex is not the same as giving your child permission to engage or is there really an appropriate or inappropriate age to begin discussing the topic.
Here’s a few suggestions that I typically give to clients and friends to incorporate sex in conversations with children.
1.) Talk about sex as early as possible. It’s never to early to educate your child about sex. Something as simple as teaching your one year old the correct name for his or her genitals is a great way to begin the conversation.
2.) Discussing boundaries is also another way to introduce sex to your child. “Good Touch/Bad Touch” is how most parents begin to discuss boundaries with their children. I encourage my parents to take this conversation a little further by including appropriate and inappropriate gestures. For me personally, I do not force my daughter to hug and kiss adults unless she feels comfortable doing so. This might be considered rude to some, but as a parent I did not want her to think that it is appropriate and/or mandatory that she hug and kiss EVERY adult…even relatives. As she grew older, we began to have more in depth discussions about reasons when those gestures can be inappropriate and what other gestures can also be inappropriate such as sitting on an adults lap. Those are just two of the gestures that we discussed.
3.) Puberty is another time that you can talk about sex with your child as it is a natural occurrence and it occurs at different ages for each individual child. Educating your child on all of the other changes that his or her body is about to undergo is essential as well as the connection that sex has with those changes. This is also a good time to bring in books as well as other educational materials so that he or she is not only hearing what you are telling them, but able to conceptualize it as well.
These are just three different ways to incorporate SEX into conversations with your child/children. I can not wait to hear how you guys talk to your child/children about SEX.
P.S. I’ve included a link to some educational materials that can be used at your discretion when talking to your child/children about SEX.