The big talk that many parents dread is about the birds and the bees. The uncomfortable nature of the sex talk makes it painful for both parties. Unfortunately, this discomfort often results in the talk never happening. Instead, teens will learn about sex from their friends, television shows and other unreliable sources.
To ensure that your teen gets the best information in a message you can control, you need to suck it up and have the talk. Here are some tips for the sex talk and any other important “talk” that teens and parents should have, i.e. drugs, drinking, etc.
- Start young. I’m not talking infant age, but any important talks won’t be that effective, say, right before their wedding night or 10 minutes before a party. There is not a single age that is perfect for all children; you should evaluate what your child can handle, but some people recommend around 8 years old. But starting young will not make it seem as gross or embarrassing, but it will open the discussion. If you wait until your teen is older, the talk will be “gross” and embarrassing, and it probably won’t get you far. Starting the talks young does not mean that you have to lay everything out on the table immediately. With the sex talk, start with the basic anatomy. As your child becomes a teen, you can add in lessons about avoiding teen pregnancy, STDs and contraceptives. Such talk would be inappropriate for a young child.
- Make the talk an ongoing discussion. This goes hand in hand with starting important talks young. It will create a dialogue between you and your child, which will make them feel more comfortable about coming to you with questions.
- Use the correct anatomical terms. If you act weird about the talk, so will your child/teen. Speak in frank, anatomical terms to avoid making it giggly and to make it a serious discussion.
- Let them ask questions. Children and teens are curious. If you want to lecture and avoid discussion, know that your kid will go to the internet or friends to answer any questions. Both of those sources can be highly unreliable, so allow your child or teen to ask you any questions. This open dialogue between the your child and you will continue into their teens. They will feel comfortable coming to you with any questions later in life.
Even when you talk to your kids about sex, drugs and other important issues, you know that as a parent you will not be their only source of information. However, it becomes important for you to be the first and most reliable source of information. By talking with your children as they become teens, you will be able to instill your values about the subject instead of letting your kids become entirely influenced by the values of the world. And if you are sick of what schools and the government want to teach your kids about these important subjects, you have no choice but to take it upon yourself.