Top 10 Tips
Remember it’s mostly not about ‘sex’. You are actually teaching your child about Human Sexuality.
When we hear the word sex, most people think of ‘The Act” of heterosexual penis/vagina intercourse. In reality, this is such a small component of Human Sexuality, yet it is often the biggest barrier that prevents the conversations ever getting started!!!Think more broadly – your positive conversations need to be about: Sexual Health, Body Safety, Naming Body Parts, Healthy and Respectful Relationships, Consent, Personal Hygiene, Reproduction of the Human Species, Values, Society Expectations and Norms, Sexual Identity, Sexual Expression, Sexual Orientation, Sexual Diversity, Media and Technology, Communication, Self Esteem, Body Image, and most importantly, Pleasure… just to name a few!
Be brave and just start -It’s never to late (or too early) to start.
Generally, you won’t give a child too much information; they will tune out if they are not ready. Use teachable moments (they are everywhere) to get started or buy a book as a ‘prop’. Remember this is not just one ‘Big Talk’ it is many conversations and most of them are not even about ‘Sex’.
Strip back your own personal layers in your mind, of past sexual journey, experiences and thoughts. Especially if they give you a negative attitude towards sex and sexuality.
Every adult mind has layer upon layer of their own sexual story or journey – strip these back (excuse the pun!); they are not relevant or useful to the simple questions your children are asking or information that you need to give them. The benefits for your child far outweigh your discomfort!
Be an 'askable' parent by being sex positive. Having a positive and open attitude toward human sexuality rather than being focused on fear and danger is essential.
Always approach sex discussions with a positive attitude or outlook. If you are having difficult embracing this positivity, I recommend you do some research / reading / homework / soul searching for yourself first.
Sexual Health Safety and Wellbeing is one of your key responsibilities as a parent.
Just as important as teaching and preparing for other health and safety aspects of life such as water safety, healthy eating, and road safety.
Keep it simple but accurate.
Use proper names for body parts…tell the truth. Yes, it is possible your child might repeat it at school, but at least it will be accurate rather than school yard version of sexuality. You can prevent this by explaining to them that it is not their ‘job’ to teach other children – it is the adult’s job. Click here for scripts.
Use the teachable moments that are all around you all of the time.
The pregnant woman crossing the road, “Oh, that reminds me. I haven’t talked to you about how babies are made! What do you know about that?” Or turn on commercial radio and use song lyrics as a topic of conversations about respectful relationships. When sexualised advertising is on TV call it out for what it is, create a sense of questioning about the messages children are being exposed to everyday.
Talk in the car or while doing dishes.
Less embarrassing for you both as you are facing away from each other. Also, in the car, they are a ‘captive’ audience (i.e. locked in)!
Buy yourself some time and valuable insight by asking them what they already know.
“That is a great question – I am glad you asked me that, how did you hear about it?” or, “Thanks for asking me that question. Tell me what do you already know about it.” Click here for guide.
Prepare yourself: Buy books, practice, and do some research.
Most parents have never had adequate sexuality education themselves. Do some reading about discussing sexuality with children, find some language ideas and conversation starters, read up on what is appropriate for your children’s age. Knowing what to say can be hard, but remember you don’t have to be perfect. Saying something is better than saying nothing!