How to Talk to Our Children about Sex?
Posted by Darwis Suryantoro on August 28, 2007
Keywords: sex education, child, discussion
Resumed by Darwis Suryantoro
Many parents find it hard to talk to their children about sex. Yet children want to know, and if they don’t get accurate information from their parents, they will probably get inaccurate information from their friends, television, films, magazines, and also internet. They are curious about sex, just as they are about everything else. Researchs show that young people who talk with their parents about sex tend to wait longer to have intercourse. They are more likely to use birth control and to take precautiuns againts getting sexually transmitted diseases when they do have intercourse.
Here are some general tips that other parents have found helpful for talking to their children:
Be available. Watch for clues that show they want to talk. Remember that your comfort with the subject is important. They need to get a feeling of trust from you.
Answer questions honestly and without showing embarassement, even if the time and place do not seem appropriate. A short answer may be best for the moment. Then return to the subject later.
Avoid babyish words. Using correct names for body parts and their function shows that they are normal and OK to talk about.
It’s OK to say, “I don’t know.” Nobody knows everything, and when you can’t answer a question, that can be an opportunity to learn with your child. Tell your child that you’ll get the information and continue the discussion later, or do the research together. Then be sure to do this soon. Don’t duck the question or expect your partner or a professional to handle it, although they can add to your answer.
Some people claim that sex education encourages sexual activity, however, studies show that the earlier you start education the better. If they are old enough to ask questions, they are old enough to get good answer.
Practice talking about sex with your spouse, another family member or a friend. This will help you feel more comfortable when you do talk with your child.
If your child doesn’t ask, look for ways to bring up the subject. For example, you may know a pregnant woman, watch the birth of a pet, or see a baby getting a bath. Use a television program or film to start discussion. Libraries and schools have good books about sex for all ages.
Talk about sex more than once. Children need to hear things again and again over the years to really understand, because their level of understanding changes as they grow older. Make certain that you talk about feelings, not just actions.
Answer the question that is asked. Respect your child’s desire for information. But, don’t overload the child with too much information at once. Try to give enough information at once. Try to give enough information to answer the question clearly, yet encourage further discussion.
Privacy is important, for both you and your child. If your child doesn’t want to talk, say, “OK, let’s talk about it later,” and do. Don’t forget about it. Never search a child’s room, drawers or purse for evidence. Never listen in on a telephone or private conversation.
Listen to your children. They want to know that their questions and concerns are important. The world they’re growing up in is different from what yours was. Laughing at or ignoring a child’s question may stop them from asking again. They will get information, accurate or inaccurate, from other sources.
Share your values. If your jokes, behavior or attitudes don’t show respect sexuality, then you cannot expect your child to be sexually healthy. Then learn attitudes about love, caring, and responsibility from you, whether you talk about it or not. Tell your child what your values are about sex and about life. Find out what they value in their lives. Talk about your concern for their health and their future.