How-to: talk about sex
‘Mummy, where do babies come from?’
It’s the question that makes every parent squirm in his or her boots. How exactly do you answer it? While there have been a lot of interesting approaches trialled over the years – the stork, the cabbage patch, the sky – the most effective response to the age-old question is an honest one. Here’s how to make it age-appropriate…
Don’t wait for the bomb to explode
Rather than waiting until the question is finally popped (and secretly hoping and praying it isn’t!), you should teach your children from a young age to care for, respect and understand their bodies. The more upfront you are from an early age, the easier it will be to address the topic of sex when the question finally comes up. Just remember, if you don’t discuss the functions of the body with your child, they will seek their information from alternative (and less positive) sources like the media.
Talk about feelings
While it may be uncomfortable, it’s important to explain the feelings involved in sex when you are explaining the functions of sexual organs. Young teens often fall into trouble when they begin experiencing urges that are unexpected and are unsure of how to handle them, so it’s important to address the way that the mind can play a role in sex, as well as the body.
The right language is essential when talking to your kids about the birds and the bees, so arm yourself with some helpful tools. Borrow a book from the library on sex education and use it to help explain aspects that you find difficult to put into words yourself. Using accurate words and pictures to aid your discussion is an effective way to approach sex education with your children.
Don’t rush yourself
If a tough question is thrown your way, give yourself time to consider the answer by asking another question back to your child. This is a helpful technique for gathering your thoughts and putting together a thoughtful response. Just remember, at the end of the day sex is nothing to be afraid of talking about.