When should you talk to your child about sex?
A recently released sex education guide stirred controversy with its suggestions that parents should start talking to children about sex from as early as age two. So how early is too early? We weigh up when to talk about sex with your children…
Many health practitioners suggest that it’s never too early to start talking to your kids about sex. Whether you like it or not, your children will start being exposed to sexual messages from the time they are born, so if you want to set the record straight it’s good to begin the talk early.
While it may not be appropriate to discuss the inner workings of intercourse with your children at pre-school age, it certainly is a good time to start making them aware of their bodies. Avoid using flowery names to describe sexual organs and help them identify ‘penis’ or ‘vagina’ when they start to become aware of their own body parts. As your children grow, it is only natural that they will begin to ask more questions about the functions of their bodies, so try to be as honest with them as possible or they may seek their information from other (less positive) sources.
Learning the language
It’s important to use the right language when you’re talking to children about sex – while you want to avoid being too flowery, you also want to ensure you don’t overload them with unnecessarily explicit details. The best way to get the language balance right is to borrow a sex education book from your local library. Choose one with diagrams and easy-to-understand pictures for children and use it as an aid to discuss difficult issues with your kids.
Telling your children babies come from the ‘stork’ or ‘the cabbage patch’ isn’t going to prepare them adequately for dealing with real life situations where sexual decision making comes into play. Be honest about intercourse and pregnancy and try to help them understand the feelings associated with sex so they can learn to recognise them and control them in situations where they may be tested.
Have you had to deal with educating your child on sex?