In this day in age, there are lots of “talks” we need to have with our children. So many in fact, I often get overwhelmed (as a parent) and paralysis sets in. But one talk that has been tried and true for some time is the sex talk. Looking back at my childhood and adolescence, the sex talk happened once around puberty and that was it. Our parents took a deep breath and had at it, usually a boy with his father and a girl with her mother. I think both kids and parents wanted it to end as fast as possible, never to be mentioned again.
Our perceptions about sexuality constantly evolve and the way in which we talk to kids about sex has changed as well. Instead of waiting until adolescence, parents can build a foundation early on, starting with very basic conversations that will support the more detailed questions your child will ask as he or she gets older. Talking to your kids about sex is not just an informational exchange, but it also sets them off on a good foot as they head towards their teenage years.
Some parents may feel very comfortable with the subject of sex, but others may feel nervous and ill at ease. There are many resources to rely on that will support these conversations with your child. Consult your pediatrician, use online resources, or talk to a trusted friend who is also a parent. Talking to your children really will make a difference as they move into their teen years and beyond. These early and continuous conversations will influence how they feel about themselves, their intimate relationships, and help them make positive choices in relation to sex.
Another great resource to help you start talking to your kids is books! Sharing a book can be a great jumping off point for further conversation on many subjects, sex included.
Amazing You by Gail Saltz (PreS-Grade 1)
It's So Amazing! by Robie H. Harris (Age 7 and up)
The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Younger Girls by Cara Familian Natterson by (Age 8 and up)
It's Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris (Age 10 and up)
The Boy's Body Book by Kelli S. Dunham (Ages 9-12)
The What's Happening to My Body? Book for Girls by Lynda Madaras (Grades 4-8)
Doing it Right by Bronwen Pardes (Grade 9 and up)
Sex: A Book for Teens by Nikol Hasler (Grade 10 and up)
A Chicken’s Guide to Talking Turkey With Your Kids About Sex by Kevin Leman