Talking about sex with your kids is almost a necessary “evil”: You may dread the awkward questions and want to keep your son or daughter innocent as long as possible, but it’s incredibly important for them to get the information from you rather than the Web or friends.
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According to WebMD, talking to your kids about sex sooner rather than later comes with a whole heap of benefits, from your child being less susceptible to peer pressure to he or she being equipped to make safer sexual decisions.
So take a deep breath and be ready to dive into the topic with your child in an open and honest manner. Check out the hints below to give yourself a little bit of a head start when it comes to talking about sexual matters with your kids.
Call It What It Is
Skip the cutesy names when it comes to anatomy and even sexual acts. By avoiding nicknames or slang, you’ll give your child a clear picture and keep your discussion matter of fact. Look up the names of things you’re not sure of so you don’t give your child the wrong information.
Consider Your Child
Your child’s age, level of interest and maturity play in part what type of sex discussions you should have. For instance, if your child is of a younger frame of mind and isn’t showing an interest in or obtaining information about sex, don’t push it. Just stick to explaining the act in basic, easy-to-understand biological terms.
If, however, your child has many thoughts, feelings and questions on the subject, be ready to answer them as honestly as you can without passing off judgment. It’s important to not make your child feel like he or she is being judged, as this will make him or her less likely to ask you questions or share information with you in the future.
Think about where your child is at before you have a conversation about sex with him or her. Look for signals during the talk to keep you on track. For example, if your child appears uncomfortable, you may want to revisit the topic making him or her react that way later; there’s no point in making the situation more uncomfortable for either of you.
Be ready to answer whatever questions your child has in the most honest way possible, and if you don’t know, tell your child you will look into it and get the right information.
Address The Elephant In The Room
If your child is at least 12, he or she is probably aware of pornography. Talk to your child about adult films, hammering home the point of these videos is to entertain and not educate.
It’s important your child understands pornography is often not “real” in terms of how healthy adults have sex, as these movies can confuse children in terms of expectations and allow for objectification.
Consent is a huge issue when it comes to sex. Your child must understand that total, absolute consent is necessary when it comes to sexual activity. Explain to your child that he or she should only be engaging in sexual things with 100-percent consent of both people involved.
Tell your child about times when a form of consent can be given but may not be 100 percent, such as when someone involved has been drinking. Make it clear that your child should not feel pressured to consent to any sex act, and he or she should not be pressuring anyone else either.