These five things are common beliefs about how and when to talk to kids about sex. If you’ve fallen for them, you are not alone because most parents do. They make sense in some ways, especially if you like to take the easy route through parenting (and really, who
doesn’t?!) The key is to be aware and change your ways. No one has ever died from a sex talk, so get on it, would ya?
1) Wait for your kid to ask questions. The chance that your child is going to ask you the right question at the right time in their development is nil. So if you are waiting for them to come running to you with their sex questions, don’t bother, because chances are very high they won’t! When you wait for them to come to you this makes your child’s sex education their responsibility and not yours. Remember! Talking about sex is all about health and safety which is the main job of parenting — keeping them healthy and safe. Unless you actively talk to them about sex, they will not know you are open to conversations. You have to show them how it’s done.
2) Try to “protect” them by giving too little information. Lack of information is one of the main reasons the US has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world. If you think you are somehow protecting them by limiting the information they get about sex, you are wrong. In countries where they have very low rates of teen pregnancy, the children are empowered with a lot of information. Aim for too much information and you should get it just about right.
3) Wait until they are in 5th grade to start the conversation. Most parents think this is the right time because that’s when they teach it in school. The school sex ed schedule is driven by fear of pissing off parents who really don’t have a clue in the first place about the best age to start the conversation. By the 5th grade your child is past ready to know how babies are made, all about puberty and even about birth control and condoms. Please stop clinging to the mistaken belief that they will be ruined somehow if they know these things sooner rather than later because the opposite is true.
4) Let school handle it. School is better than nothing, as long as it’s comprehensive and medically accurate and since that’s a total crapshoot, it’s smarter for you to buck up and get talking. Schools are a mire of bureaucratic BS and parental hysteria when it comes to sex ed, so it’s better to use school as just another source of information, not THE source.
5) Use your child’s discomfort as an excuse not to talk to them. Guess what! Your kid might be *gasp* uncomfortable when you talk to them about sex! So what. Life is uncomfortable and there is no better place for your child to be uncomfortable than with you. My son hates our sex talks (or so he claims) and I don’t care because I know it will serve him in the long run. Stop thinking being uncomfortable is somehow a problem because it’s not. I can’t think of much of anything that’s more uncomfortable than a teen pregnancy.
Here’s how to do it the right way or my way, which (surprise) is the right way. 😉