One area that many parents struggle to talk about with their children is sex. The sad part is that with today’s digital world, many parents just leave kids to find information online and don’t actually talk to them. This is never a good solution because your child can end up with false information, or even more questions than they started with. Talking to your kids about sex is very important, and no matter when you start, late is better than never.
If you start early preparing yourself and your child, it can make it so much easier when the time comes. Just keep in mind that you are going to have to keep everything age appropriate.
What is age appropriate?
Age 2 to 3: It is important to teach your kids the correct words for body parts, such as penis and vagina. I have talked about the importance of this before, but here is another reason it is important, it gets you comfortable talking about private parts with your child and makes your child comfortable talking to you.
Age 3 to 4: Your child can understand where a baby comes from, but won’t understand the details of reproduction.
Age 4 to 5: At this age your child can understand how a baby is born, but stick to the literal explanation and the easiest explanation. Just stick to the fact that “mommy has a uterus and the uterus pushes the baby through the vagina”.
Age 5 to 6: Your child can start to understand how a baby is made. For example, you can just say that mommy and daddy made a baby. If your child has more questions, you can explain that a tiny cell inside daddy called a sperm joins with a tiny cell inside mommy called an egg.
Age 6 to 7: Now your child can understand the basic concepts of intercourse and it’s purpose. You can explain that men and women were created to fit together like a puzzle piece, that the penis and vagina are designed to fit together and when they do, a baby is made. You can also explain that sex is one of the ways two adults can show they love each other.
Age 8 to 9: By this time your child has most likely heard a lot about sex from either friends or the media and has learned that it is an important aspect of life. At this time your child can understand the basic explanation. Now is also a good time to talk to your child about rape just by explaining that rape is when someone forces another person to have sex when they don’t want to.
Age 9 to 11: This is an important age to talk to your child about changes that happen during puberty. They will also start developing their own values, so you will need to check in often to make sure the information they are getting is accurate.
Just because your child can handle these topics at these ages does not mean that you have to start a conversation out of nowhere. If you do this, it will often lead to more questions than you are prepared to answer. Instead, wait for the topic to come up naturally and answer questions as appropriate. For example, your child may not have any questions about where a baby comes from until someone close by, either you or another close friend or family member, has a baby or becomes pregnant.
There will be times that a question comes up that you are not prepared for. I could list hundreds of questions that a child may ask and the appropriate answers, but chances are your child will then come up with a different question. Just keep in mind how old your child is and what they can understand and come up with the best answer you can.
When it comes to talking to your kids about sex the best thing is to be honest, but don’t brush their questions away. Answer their questions as honestly as you can, and if you don’t know the answer, be honest and say you don’t know.
How did you talk to your child about sex? Did your child bring up the subject or did you? What age did you start?