Many of us baby boomers were raised to believe the topic of sex was taboo. Many of us raised our children the same way. Unfortunately, but avoiding the topic of sex, our children and grandchildren are getting pregnant before they are ready. The risk of pregnancy isn’t the only problem that comes from ignorance; STDs are a major concern among teens and pre-teens.
Moms and dads can find some helpful ideas for talking and listening to their children. According to Childrennow.org parents should explore their own thoughts about sex. The children who are most comfortable talking to their parents about their feelings about sex and their sexual feelings are those whose parents are the most open about talking about sex with their kids.
Talking with children about sex
Dads and moms should feel confident about talking and listening to their children’s attitudes about sex. Because children are becoming sexual at very early ages, parents need to start having dialog with their children at an early age. Kids are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior if their parents are open and honest with them. It’s important that the parents realize that children are sexual beings, and they do think and talk about sex at a very early age. If we, as parents don’t teach them, they will learn on their own by experimenting.
Teaching toddlers about their body parts
We, as parents, teach our children where their nose, mouth and toes are, but do we teach them where their penis or vagina is? According to Childrennow.org, sex education should be a consistent flow of age appropriate information. Most parents give pet names for their children’s body parts; there isn’t anything wrong with that, but your child should also know the correct names for their private parts. By the time a child is 3 or 4 he/she should know the correct names for his/her body parts.
By the time a child is 7 or 8 years old, they may have questions about where babies come from. If your child hasn’t asked yet, where babies come from, you might bring up a light discussion about it. For instance, if your child has a friend, whose mom is going to have a baby, you might want to bring it up. You could ask questions like, “Have you noticed that Aunt Mary is getting bigger in her tummy?” This can open up a discussion about where babies come from. In this instance, of Aunt Mary, it is important that the parent doesn’t shy away from how the baby got into Aunt Mary’s tummy. It is quite natural for parents to feel a little uncomfortable talking to their children about sex, but it is also important to be honest. If you are uncomfortable, say so. You can tell your child that you are a bit uncomfortable because your mom and dad never talked with you about sex. You can also admit to your child that you want to be open and honest with him/her, so that he/she can feel confidence in your ability to answer his/her questions.
Parents with young children can learn how to appropriately talk to their children about sex. Even if it is a bit uncomfortable to start with, the more open you are, the easier it will become to have talks about sex and sexuality.
I had questions, just like other kids my age. When I was 7 I learned from other kids where babies came from. I went home and told my mother how babies were born, because I was sure she didn’t know. My mom didn’t want to hear it either. My parents didn’t talk to me about sex. They didn’t talk to me about my body and how it would change. I was devastated when I started my period, because I was not prepared.
Now that sex is more talked about in the media and in magazines, children are getting the information. Nowadays, grade school children can go to the school nurse and ask for condoms. Many parents are outraged; however, from the children’s perspective, isn’t it better that children are educated so they don’t get pregnant or get a sexually transmitted disease?