It’s a dreaded point in any parent’s life: The point where kids need to have the sex talk. Our instinct is to clam up and to shield them from any and all information pertaining to such “adult” things, but the fact of the matter that we come to grips with is that if you don’t tell them, somebody else will, or they’ll figure it out on their own out of sheer curiosity. It’s completely natural for children to begin to wonder about these things, so what are some great tips for how we can confidently and effectively have “the talk”?
Being caught off guard is a terrible way to start “the talk.” Preparation is key to a confident and healthy dialogue – where you already know what to say and what not to say. For that reason, don’t ever address serious questions that may lead to other questions without game planning first. If your child catches you off guard with a question from out in left field, answer vaguely, but say that you’d love to talk in more detail about it at a later date. Do your due diligence to sit down with your spouse, and talk it out. How should you answer the question? How much information do you want to divulge? Talk about it in private and then proactively approach your child when you and your spouse are ready.
Don’t Sugar Coat It… Be Direct
“The talk” will come at different times for all kids. Some will need to have it earlier on in life, and some won’t really need it until later. Regardless, keep in mind that the information you share should be age appropriate and reflect the maturity levels of any questions that they may be asking. Regardless, the time for using “playful” names for body parts is not during the talk. It’s a serious talk that you want your child to actually take seriously, and by telling them about the birds and the bees, you’re assuming a level of maturity on their part – they should be ready for the real stuff. Be direct, use real terms, and don’t dance around questions. The clearer you make it, the fewer questions there will be, and the less your child will wonder curiously about when you’re not around.
Encourage Questions and an Ongoing Dialogue
Perhaps the biggest tip or takeaway we can give you, is that sometimes “the talk” spills over into several conversations; rarely do you say all you need to say in one sitting, and rarely does your child learn all they need to learn. Be honest with them early on when you feel that it’s appropriate, but continue the dialogue and encourage questions throughout the life of your child as they grow into teenagers and young adults. Their questions will be answered and then will evolve into new questions, and at one point they’ll likely stop asking you questions. Pay attention, and start asking questions when they stop. This time is more then likely the time where you can address the actions and consequences part of the talk – talking about the differences in safe sex, abstinence and unsafe sex. Most of all, make sure that they know that you’re always there to hear what they have to say, to address any concerns, and to answer any questions without judgement.
The talk isn’t really fun, but you can do it! Prepare thoroughly, be very direct, and continue the dialogue over time, and you’ll find it’s a lot less scary than you ever imagined.
Do you have any tips for having the sex talk?