Look. Every parent knows it sucks to talk to your kids about sex, but one way or another it needs to be done, otherwise they end up learning about it on the school bus. And who wants that?
Different aged kids of differing personalities are ready for ‘the sex talk’ at different times. I know, it’s the vaguest parenting advice ever, but it’s true. One of your kids might be more mature and asking questions at an earlier stage, while another kid has no interest in learning the finer details of what mom and dad are doing when the bedroom door is locked.
My oldest got what I refer to (because I am a recovering Catholic) as the ‘immaculate conception’ sex talk when she was 4 and I was pregnant with her sister. It was like ‘oh, honey, when a mommy and daddy love each other, God blesses them with a baby.’
What a load of crap. The next time I was pregnant, she was in 2nd grade and had MANY MORE questions. I had to use the penis and vagina words. Ugh. Oh well, it was going to happen someday. Poor thing. As she mentally tried to get her head around the concept of impregnation, she said “Ew. So to get three babies, Dad had to do that to you three times?”
Yeah, ummm, pleasurability? That part of the discussion was saved for a MUCH later time.
For parents out there who think they are going to have control over the sexual lives of their children (“I’ll just clean the shotgun when the boys come over” etc)- let me ask you this. Did you talk to your parents about sex and birth control before you made the decision to become sexually active? Chances are you did not, and neither will your own kids. They’re going to become sexually active on their own timeline, not yours, and the less they think you approve, the less you’ll know about it.
Here are a few random tips collected from my experience raising 4 kids, two of whom are currently teens.
5 Things to Remember When Talking to Your Kids About Sex:
1.) When they begin asking questions, it’s time to answer them as honestly as possible for the child’s age.
2.) Buy the book. Do research and decide which books reflect your philosophy and the level of information for which a child is ready (just periods? oral sex? could they be gay? etc). Present the book(s) to the child with a little speech about how you are here and willing to talk but this book is just in case they have questions they’re embarrassed to ask.
3.) Set a good example. Don’t go around naked and groping your spouse, but it’s ok for kids to see you kiss and hug and cuddle. As scary and potentially Freudian/Oedipal as this may be to you, you are their sexual role models. Like the song says, teach your children well: this goes for healthy attitudes about sex, too.
4.) If there is even the possibility that your child might become sexually active (regardless of their age and whether you think it might be too young), you will have to talk to them about birth control. I always look at it like this: it’s protection, not permission. Buying a box of condoms doesn’t mean “Party on, Wayne”- go for it! But whether you’re the parent of a boy or a girl, it may keep YOU from becoming a grandparent too soon.
5.) Drink heavily after the discussion is over and they go to bed (and you can’t believe you just had to talk to your infant baby child about sex). Ha! Just kidding about the drinking.
Ok. Not really.