Talking sex with your teen
“Where does a baby come from?” This might be a question your four or five year-old child might ask and surprise you. Even at a very young age, children are curious about their bodies. They can also see and hear the portrayal of sex and relationships through the various forms of mass media.
Thus, even little children can ask such questions. As a parent, how can we discuss about sex and relationships to our kids? Is there some guide to follow so as not to develop misunderstandings in the mind of the child? Fortunately, there are guidelines from different sources that I have piled together which we can pursue. Here they are:
Prepare yourself. Knowing that sooner or later your child will ask you questions about sex and relationship, you should make preparations. Though this might be a familiar subject to you, you still need to read and learn about the latest data and facts on sex and relationships. Update yourself so you can appropriately use the right words when talking to your child . You might also be able to find the simplest explanation about the subject from your readings.
Use children’s books. Even before your child asks you questions, you can introduce and read to them books about the human body, reproduction, sex and relationships. You should slowly make them understand these things and allow them to progress in their learning. When they are still very young, you can help them know and identify the different parts of their body. As they grow, you can share to them where babies come from and how they are made. Before they reach adolescence stage, inform them about the physical changes that will happen to them including menstruation and breast growth for girls, and semen ejaculation for boys. There are interesting and colourful age-appropriate books that are published on these subjects. You just got to be resourceful as a parent.
Listen with your heart. Despite all the initial preparations and discussions, your teenager may still ask questions regarding sex and relationships when he or she is curious or is ready to involve in it. If this happens, you should listen carefully. Do not misinterpret the questions and don’t criticize your child. Be open to his or her inquiries. If you are unsure, you can look up for the answers together. Make your child feel that he or she can always turn to you for the answers to his or her questions particularly on these complicated subjects.
Answer questions honestly and appropriately. You’ll never know at what age your child will start asking questions bout sex and relationships. Your five-year-old daughter may already ask you how a woman becomes pregnant because she sees you or someone else pregnant, answer simply that there is a baby inside mommy’s tummy. If she continues to ask how babies are formed, explain the process in a language that your child can understand at her age. Don’t worry to leave out the other details for you can explain this to her when she has grown older. Just be honest and tell her the facts.
Be patient. A child or a teenager is inquisitive so don’t be annoyed when she asks one question after another. Though it is difficult and challenging but you should take the opportunity to teach her and to inculcate in her the values and principles you want her to live by. Never turn away from her when she still wants to talk.
Initiate discussions. When you think your child is in a stage where he or she is ready to engage in relationships with the opposite sex, start conversations at every opportunity that comes. Sometimes your teenager may become shy to tell you that he or she admires someone of the opposite sex or that he or she feels something funny in her bones when she sees someone. It is at this time that your child needs your guidance and your support. Allow him or her go through the experience for it is but normal for teens to feel and behave that way. You just have to be there for him or her to answer any question and to guide him or her in his or her actions. You can also remind or warn them of the things they need to avoid. You’ve got to keep an open mind and a non-judgmental attitude so your child will not hesitant to talk to you.
With these guidelines, I hope that as parents we will be able to talk to our children about the issue of sex and relationships in a simple and easy way. Indeed, parenting can be a tough job but there is no greater joy to see that our children are guided to the right path as they grow up to be responsible and better individuals.