I’ve been thinking and writing about privacy this last several weeks. Things like kids’ right to privacy and privacy rules in families. How much privacy to preschoolers need? Tweens? Teens? The rules seem to change as children age and, of course, from family to family.
One thing I just remembered is that we parents have a right to privacy too! Often, parents will ask me about what to say if their kid asks them “how old were you when you had sex for the first time?” The answer involves values, personal comfort level and privacy.
As a parent, you have the right to privacy about your sex life – past, present and future. You don’t have to reveal your sexual history to your children. One thing to keep in mind is that the most important thing to your child is themselves. That is to say, they are very concerned about what is right for them, what’s going to happen to them, when will it be okay for them to have sex.
They want to know about our history so they can use it as a way to make a decision about their future. It’s fine to answer honestly and tell them about it – but keep it simple – and talk about the impact of your choice, lessons learned and what you hope for them.
If you just can’t stand the thought of talking about this with your child, turn the question around to them: How old do you think someone should be when they have sex? You can talk in a general way about your hopes for your child.
Here’s a sample response: “I was completely unprepared for how complicated my feelings were, how I felt about my decision, how my partner reacted and now I wish I’d waited until I was out of High School. What I hope for you is…What do you hope for yourself?”
Remember! Just like you really don’t want to know about your parents’ sex life – your kids don’t really want to know about yours!