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Talking with the Kids: When Is It Appropriate to Discuss Sex


Talking with kids and discussing sex with them is a responsibility of a parent. Why is there a need for such? The need to understand sexuality will help them fight off peer pressure during the adolescence stage, take charge of their lives when they're already adults, and it will also protect them from sexual abuse or from becoming sexual offenders themselves. Children and teenagers are less likely to have problems with sexuality and taking sexual risks if they have enough information about the subject.

The Best Time

It is best to start talking and discussing about sex in early childhood. However, there are no specific rules that will tell you when to start; it is more of just a guideline. Even from the moment they are born, children start to feel and think about their sexual behaviors and bodies. They can already perceive things that you do and say--the way you talk and hold them, how you teach them about their body parts, how you provide feedback and even how you behave in their presence.

How to Start

Many parents, particularly the liberal ones, find it easy to discuss human sexuality to their children. However, there are also a good number of parents who find it difficult to open up to topics pertaining to relationships and sexuality. If you're of these parents, take the time to recognize everyday moments that you can use to start a prompt conversation about sensitive topics.  Everyday moments could include a relative, neighbor or family friend who just got pregnant, a kissing scene in one of those TV shows, or sexy models on billboards or print ads.

Before talking to your child, take the time to reflect on what your values and opinions are about sexuality. Keep it simple--think of how you can express your thoughts in an easy and straightforward manner.

What to Tell Them

Children have different concerns about sexuality in corresponding to their ages. They also have different attention spans and understanding of certain concepts. You are not going to explain the same thing to a teenager as what you'll say to a 10-year-old. You can use the following conversation starters below.

For Young Children:

  1. Can you name all your body parts?
  2. Your sister's best friend is pregnant. Do you know what that means?

For pre-teens:

  1. You are now in a stage called puberty. Do you know what that means?
  2. What do you think about dating? Do you have friends who are already dating?
  3. What do you feel about the changes in your body now?

For teens:

  1. What do you think about pregnancy?
  2. At what age do you think one should be ready about sex?
  3. Do you like the changes that you've experienced in your body for the past two or three years?

If you want help in talking about sex to your child, try talking to your partner, a friend, another family member or a counselor about it.

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