You need to do it earlier than you’d think. Kids are curious. They’re aware of their sexual selves before we realize it. As early as toddlers, kids can start asking about their ‘parts’. This is where you need to work through your own ‘stuff’.
Talking about sexuality from the very beginning is optimal. If you’re up front and non-judgmental, the ideal way to talk to your child is often. Frequent, small conversations spread over their entire childhood (in age appropriate terms) allow your children to be okay with their sexual selves. It also keeps the door open for questions, as you have shown that you’re the go-to-person when they need answers. Become an ‘askable’ parent.
If you’ve not talked about this… start. Get over any fears you have and talk to your children about all of it. If your child doesn’t ask questions about sex, don’t just ignore the subject.
Tell them everything as if they knew nothing about sex. Even if they shrug you off and get embarrassed, keep talking. Tell them about everything. Most kids are terrified of you finding out they are curious about sex. We grow up in a society that uses sex to sell every product imaginable. It’s everywhere. So use that to your advantage. Allow the ever abundant sexuality in the media as a conversation starter.
– Reassure them and list their options. ALL of them.
– Assume nothing. Even if they say they already know, reinforcing is never a bad idea.
– Talk to them about all forms of sex, all the different methods of contraception.
– Share how to overcome that feeling of being ‘swept away’ in the moment, that you understand, but that they need to be responsible.
– Talk to them about STD’s.
– Utilize books and the internet. Seriously, there is no excuse for not having appropriate information to share with your child. Research and watch age appropriate sex education videos together. Answer any questions. You might even learn a thing or two.
– Talk to them about sexual identity.
– Talk, talk, talk, and keep talking.
Yes we need to talk about sex and contraception with our daughters. A lot of focus is spent on the girl being responsible for birth control. What about the boys? There is a stereotype. We all know it. We need to fix it. Boys have sexual conquests, girls are sluts. This changes by the way we raise our sons.
Isn’t it time to get rid of ‘Lad Culture’? Tales of misogynistic jokes, ‘rape banter’ and pressures to engage in sexual behaviour continue to be a problem. Some college students even viewed being groped in nightclubs as part of a “normal” night out.
Those are not the boys we want to raise.
Researchers suggest that kids need help detecting gender bias so that they can operate against it. Talk about it with your boys. A lot. Speak up when sexist remarks and jokes are made, even on the telly! Some ideas are just unacceptable. If we fail to call people on sexist remarks our kids learn that silence. Instead of speaking up they learn to shut up. And that is something that we just can’t have happen.