10 Top Tips: Talking About Healthy Sex & Sexuality To Kids
1.Remember it’s mostly not about ‘sex’. You are actually teaching your child about Human Sexuality.
When we hear the word sex, most people think of ‘The Act” of heterosexual penis/vagina intercourse. In reality this is such a small component of Human Sexuality yet it is often the biggest barrier that prevents the conversations ever getting started!!!
Think more broadly - your positive conversations need to be about: Sexual Health, Body Safety, Naming Body Parts, Healthy & Respectful Relationships, Consent, Personal Hygiene, Reproduction Of The Human Species, Values, Society Expectations & Norms, Sexual Identity, Sexual Expression, Sexual Orientation, Sexual Diversity, Media & Technology, Communication, Self Esteem, Body Image & Most Importantly - Pleasure... just to name a few!
2.Be brave and just start - It’s never to late (or too early) to start.
Generally you won't give a child too much information, they will tune out if they are not ready.
Use teachable moments (they are everywhere) to get started or buy a book as a ‘prop’. Remember this is not just one ‘Big Talk’ it is many conversations and most of them are not even about ‘Sex’.
3.Strip back your own personal layers in your mind, of past sexual journey, experiences and thoughts. Especially if they give you a negative attitude towards sex and sexuality.
Every adult mind has layer upon layer of their own sexual story/journey - strip these back (excuse the pun!) they are not relevant or useful to the simple questions your children are asking or information that you need to give them. The benefits for your child far outweigh your discomfort!
4.Be an ask-able parent by being sex positive. Having a positive and open attitude toward human sexuality rather than being focused on fear and danger is essential.
Always approach sex discussions with a positive attitude/outlook. If you are having difficult embracing this positivity, I recommend you do some research/reading/homework/soul searching for yourself first.
5.Sexual Health Safety and Wellbeing is one of your key responsibilities as a parent.
Just as important as teaching and preparing for other health and safety aspects of life such as water safety, healthy eating, road safety.
6.Keep it simple but accurate
Use proper names for body parts, tell the truth. Yes it is possible your child might repeat it at school, but at least it will be accurate rather than schoolyard version of sexuality. You can prevent this by explaining to them that it is not their ‘job’ to teach other children - it is the adults job. Script for answering Children's sexuality questions
7.Use the teachable moments that are all around you all of the time.
The pregnant woman crossing the road, “Oh that reminds me I haven't talked to you about how babies are made? What do you know about that?” Or turn on commercial radio and use song lyrics as a topic of conversations about respectful relationships. When sexualised advertising is on TV call it out for what it is, create a sense of questioning about the messages children are being exposed to everyday.
8.Talk in the car or doing dishes
Less embarrassing for you both as you are facing away from each other. Also, in the car, they are a ‘captive’ audience! i.e. locked in :)
9.Buy yourself some time and valuable insight by asking them what they already know.
“That is a great question - I am glad you asked me that, how did you hear about it?” or “Thanks for asking me that question tell me what do you already know about it?”
10.Prepare yourself: Buy books, practice and do some research.
Most parents have never had adequate sexuality education themselves. Do some reading about discussing sexuality with children, find some language ideas and conversation starters, read up on what is appropriate for your children’s age. Knowing what to say can be hard, but remember you don't have to be perfect, saying something is better than nothing!
Want to be your child's main source of sex & sexuality information & education?
- Know exactly what to say and at what age...
- Access script ideas for the tricky questions they might ask you...
- Reduce your fear, uncertainty about approaching sex and sexuality with kids...
- Have access to live conversations with Vanessa...