Talking to your child about sex forces the realization that they are no longer your little boy or girl. And that can be difficult for any parent to admit. So we offer 10 things you should know when talking to your child about sex to try to make the process a little more bearable.
1. Fight the fear
It’s safe to say this is not something a parent will relish talking about with their children. The mere thought of sex and your child in the same conversation strikes fear in the heart of a parent. Fight that fear! As scary as the topic might be, it is more frightening to think of the possible consequences of not having this discussion.
Sex itself does not change. Nothing new has been invented. However, the language of sex is always evolving. Every generation has their own buzz words and phrases. It would benefit you to become familiar with these terms. Use the Internet to research. The more you understand what your child is exposed to, the better you will be able to explain the meaning.
3. Avoid negativity
Talking about sex is a difficult subject for you and your child. It is too easy in our efforts to protect our children to come across as putting sex in a negative light; however, that wouldn’t be healthy for the development of your child. Emphasize the importance of when, why and with whom sex should occur. Make sure to explain that in its proper setting—marriage— sex is a wonderful and beautiful expression of love.
4. Don’t patronize
Your child may already know some of what you are going to be talking about. In this age of information, your children most likely have been bombarded with sexual images and messages. Kids talk about it with their friends and often at an early age. Talking down to your children will only make them roll their eyes and tune you out. Your job here is to give the right information on sex and speak to them as a young man or lady.
5. Be vulnerable
As with other issues in parenting, what you did as a child or teen may or may not be what you want your child to do. At the appropriate time and age, you may want to share the good choices you made in this area or any mistakes you may have made and consequences you suffered as a result. Sharing details with your child is probably not a good idea.
Most religions encourage sexual purity before marriage. If you are a family of faith, your child will have this benefit on their side. There is a growing abstinence before marriage movement in our country, especially within many churches. Teach your child to honor God with their body and to stay sexually pure for their future husband or wife.
If your child is in the public school system, they may have had a sexual health class by the time you have these conversations. Nonetheless, you should cover that ground as well so that your values are instilled in your children. Additionally, you’ll want to discuss with your child the negative emotional consequences of premarital sex as they usually are not addressed in school. When asked in a survey, one woman responded “I wish someone would have explained to me the emotional impact of these things. At 13, 14, 15, you just have no idea!”
8. The risks
When you talk with your child, it’s vitally important that you explain the risks involved in having sex outside of marriage. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are increasingly prevalent and often have severe consequences. Unwanted teen births are occurring every second. Your child must know the possible ramifications of reckless behavior. Paint the unpleasant scenarios that can become reality for them if they make unwise choices.
9. Peer pressure
Most children will face significant peer pressure at school, either directly or indirectly. Give your child the support and foundation they require to deal with it. Give them the strength to stand up for what they believe. Make sure your children understand their infinite value and the importance of keeping themselves pure until marriage. In a book on this subject, a 17-year-old girl stood up in front of her peers and declared that she was a virgin. When the laughs hurled her way, she replied, “I can be like you in seconds, but none of you can be like me ever again.” That is courage.
10. Constant communication
You and your child shouldn’t have just one talk about sex and never mention it again. In our hypersexualized society, you and your child will probably be exposed to the content of your discussion on a regular basis. Use that to your advantage. It doesn’t always have to be a heavy conversation. Humor is a great teacher and puts everyone at ease. When the 16-year-old on Nick Teen is pregnant, quip to your daughter, “Aren’t you glad you’re not that girl?” It works.
When talking with your child about sex, it’s vitally important that you explain the risks involved in having sex outside of marriage. Make sure to explain that in its proper setting—marriage— sex is a wonderful and beautiful expression of love.
If you’ve had the sex talk with your kids, I’d love for you to share any ideas or tips you may have. Was the conversation successful?