Let’s talk about Sex, Baby….
When should we start talking to kids about sex? This is an important conversation to have with kids and it actually starts at a really young age and then progresses throughout childhood. Just like anything, it is done in developmentally appropriate ways. It’s important for us as parents to start to think about it so that we can raise children who have healthy boundaries and awareness of sex. Here are some ideas to help you start the conversation.
Preschool- Begin labeling body parts with anatomically correct words. This helps kids have awareness and know about their bodies. Labeling them with correct, appropriate words also helps protect them.
Kindergarten to 2nd grade- Teaching kids appropriate boundaries for when and where we can show our bodies and how we do that. Using phrases such as “bathing suit areas” provides a concrete visual to help our kids build boundaries. For example: “No one can touch your bathing suit areas without permission. Not even mom or dad. Not even a doctor.” This helps teach them the concept of consent.
3rd-5th grade- As kids enter puberty, they are experiencing their bodies in new ways. Helping them understand what is going on is empowering and connecting for kids. Helping them to have the context of why their bodies are changing within the bigger scope of their world. Teaching them “the why” and “the how” is important:
“The Why” – why your body is changing
“The How” – how your body is changing
Here are some resources to help you get the conversation going:
Celebrate Your Body (and Its Changes, Too!): The Ultimate Puberty Book for Girls by Sonya Taylor
Guy Stuff: The Body Book for Boys by Cara Natterson and Micah Player
The Boys Guide to Growing Up by Phil Wilkin
The Girls Guide to Growing Up by Anita Naik
Middle school age-
Begin having the conversation about what sex means for your family. Answer these questions as parents- Why do people have sex? What are some rules around sex? What is the purpose for sex? Why is sex important? Answer these questions for yourself so that you can better support these conversations with your kiddo.
Begin talking to your kids about pornography. Reality check, porn is a HUGE industry in the USA. Kids can access pictures and videos at their fingertips – much faster and easier than you think. Educate them what porn is and why people use it. There are resources for you to learn more.
Fight the New Drug is a great resource for you to learn more and then watch and talk to your kids about it. https://fightthenewdrug.org
BARK is a system that you can put on your WIFI and devices that helps prevent kids from accessing inappropriate websites. https://www.bark.us
High school- Keep the conversation going. Check in with them about relationships and where they are with sex in those relationships. You do not need to grill them but let them know that you are there for them to talk about this stuff with.
Having deeper conversations about STDs, protection and choices. These can be hard and uncomfortable conversations (for everyone) but leaning in and providing your kids with information that is correct and aligns with your family values is important.
If you think you might need help navigating this tough issue (or others) with your kiddo or your teen, we can help! Contact us.