The conversation the other day was great! And when the time(s) come(s) to leap on the opportunity to talk about sex to my children, I hope I can talk appropriately with knowledge, and mostly a straight face. And I figure any kind of discussion is better than no discussion at all.
So here are the concepts taken straight from Gabrielle’s paper.
The basic principles are that a child WILL learn about sex regardless of how “sheltered” you try to keep them. The avenues are endless and it is a unique opportunity as caregivers to try to bestow the information first, or at least start a healthy ongoing conversation that is accurate and a wholelistic view of sex and sexuality.
Starting young is key.
The ongoing conversation is opened before the awkwardness of puberty. Preschoolers accept the facts as you present them (My friend Johnny has two Mummies. No biggie! Babies grow in Mommy’s tummy) and it fosters a lifelong conversation. Need a laugh read How to Talk to Your Grocer About Sex.
Be accurate! Use the anatomical terms, and answer questions as accurately as possible.
Scary Fact#1: If your child starts calling their privates something other than what you’ve taught them (ex. cupcake) be concerned. Taken from “Tricky People” are the New Stranger
The standard one conversation we
should have had at puberty is awkward and ineffective. Information presented in one shot is overwhelming and does not cover the complexity of sex, and at that age it is too late. Friends (super funny), peers, media and the school system have filled your child in and not all of it is accurate or healthy. A Conversation is a continuous discussion to impart relevant knowledge and answer questions accurately and appropriately.
Scary Fact#2: Kids ARE having sex by the time they hit puberty. Also the average male teen looses his virginity at 16, female 17.
Children are curious. They will ask. When they do, answer their question(s). Ask them if that was enough information? Ask them if they want to know more? Ask them if you answered their question sufficiently? Allow them to process their new-found knowledge and then check in and continue the discussion as need be.
Interesting Fact: Youth who have open conversations about sex with their parents start having sex at an older age in comparison to their peers who aren’t taught. All the more incentive to have an open and healthy conversations.
Sex and our bodies are not shameful. We have been brain washed by media, porn, the church, and generations before us. Sex is a healthy component to life and relationships. Our bodies are incredibly beautiful works of art, shaped and molded by genetics and surroundings. There is nothing shameful about jiggly bits and tiger stripes, or a dainty frame, it was how things are meant to be right now. Touching is natural, experimenting with what feels good is part of the discovery process. Our children already know this, it is us who teach them otherwise.
Body autonomy begins young.
Armed with this knowledge, and the knowledge of ones self you can instill ownership over their own body and start teaching the need for consent and what is appropriate in what scenario. This is also the opportunity to teach your child about respecting other people’s wishes. No mean No, not Maybe! And if you can see the other person doesn’t like what is going than needing to stop.
Having a Unified Front.
As partners in parenting it is best to be on the same page. Both parents need to be willing to have these conversations, and talk to one another about what your hope is for your child, and what you want instilled in them.
Seize the moment. Take every opportunity in our over sexualized world to point out advertisements using sex as their marketing gimmick, it’s usually a stones throw away. The busty billboard model, the scantily clad girl selling X, Y, & Z, the lyrics to a song. Talk about it because that is what your child will look at and assume is “normal”
A great article about raising children in this modern world comes from Huffington Post Parent: Why I want my sons to see me naked
Be the safe place!
“When we think of a ‘home’ in this psychological sense we associate it with a sense of rest where there is room to be just as you are, a place of retreat from chaos into the arms of someone who makes you feel safe. When we are lost it is home that we seek”. There is No Place Like Home – The Nuefeld Institute
Lastly, you’re going to screw this one up, and that is ok. Any conversation is better than none at all and even the smallest bit of knowledge is powerful.
Other great resources:
Sex Education: What Children Should Learn When – aboutkidshealth.ca
Canadian Centre for Child Protection: The program called Kids in the Know is this entire blog summed up in point form so you can paste it to the fridge.
Before I was Born by Carolyn Nystorm
Before You Were Born by Margaret Sheffield
What’s the Big Secret? Talking about Sex with Girls and Boys by Laurie Krasny Brown and Marc Brown (the same people of Dinosaurs Divorce and Arthur.)
~ D ~