Children are curious and ask A LOT of questions. Often where there is a child asking a question, there is a parent nearby who is patiently answering these questions. That is until they ask about … (cue horror movie music here) … S-E-X!
While we may want to respond to our children’s questions like this scene from the Hollywood movie “Knocked Up”…
… but why throw away such a great teachable moment?
I find that most parents want to talk to their children about healthy sexuality, but just don’t know how or where to start. I get it – this is a very personal subject. Your first few discussions will probably be a little uncomfortable, especially if you grew up in a household where nobody talked about this stuff. It’s alright to feel like this, but it is so important to get past your discomfort and start talking.
Children need to know the facts. They have questions, and if they aren’t getting the information from their parents, then I bet it is coming from other sources like their friends or the media. The problem with this is that they can get false information or confusing messages. Don’t believe me? Here is an anonymous question from a grade 7 student:
Values and Beliefs are a huge part of our sexuality. Have you ever considered what values and beliefs are important in your family? (Check out this sexuality interview as a guide to help you.) Do we want our children to adopt values that reflect what is important to our family or do we want them adopt values that reflect those of Lady Gaga or Brittany Spears? Parents are the best people to be teaching children about sexuality. They can put their own spin on the topic that teaches their children about what their own values and beliefs are.
Talk early and often: This normalizes the subject and makes conversations much easier. The bottom line is that children need to receive the message that there is nothing shameful about our bodies. Whether they have a question or something happened that made them feel uncomfortable, children need to know that sexuality is a topic they can discuss with their parents. No matter the age of your child (or teen) it is never too late to start talking.
Still feel like there is no way that you can ever tell your child where babies really come from? Consider some of these questions:
Suddenly the baby question doesn’t feel so overwhelming anymore!
Erika Norris, RN is a public health nurse with the Elementary School Years Team and tweets for Halton Parents every Tuesday afternoon. Erika enjoys laughing at a good joke, yoga and experimenting in the kitchen.
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For more tips and hints about talking to your childrean about healthy sexuality, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly: