Sexuality is an integral part of our adult lives, but we are often uncomfortable talking about it with our young children. The vast majority of parents know that sex education is essential, but they don’t always know how to answer their children’s famous questions…
Is there a specific way to go about it? How should we react when our children ask us questions? Should we anticipate the questions or let them come? So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and let us all your burning questions.
Let’s Look at the numbers
We need to deconstruct a myth that sex education makes children more open and involved sexually. Over the past two decades, there have been many studies on the subject. Before we begin, let’s look at some sex and sex education statistics.
They have all shown that teaching sex and comprehensive sex education in schools does not protect sexual acts and creates the opposite of what people fear. For example, providing condoms in school does not encourage students to have sex at an earlier age; it only teaches them to have safe sex if they are led to have it.
According to a study conducted by the YRBSS or Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey in 2015, 41% of high school students have had sex at least once, 11.5% of them have had more than 4 or more sexual partners, more than half of them or 57% of sexually active students used a condom the last time they had sex, and only 18% of them used the birth control pill.
Another important number to know is that 1/5 of sexually active people had used drugs or alcohol before having sex. These numbers show us that sex education is a good thing for high school students, as it teaches them how to have safe sex and how to protect themselves.
How do you talk to your child about sexuality?
Some of your child’s questions may make you feel uncomfortable, but if you ignore them, your child may sense your discomfort and look for answers elsewhere, but perhaps not where you would like them. So it’s best to talk about them with your child. Don’t be afraid to ask for support or ask your child’s health care provider and school resources if you feel the need.
You don’t have to be an expert to talk to your child about sex. However, you need to think about your values and what you want your child to learn about love, relationships, and intimacy. The clearer you are about this, the better you can respond to your child and help them think about it.
Here are some things to guide you
1. Be honest
If you don’t know the answer to your child’s question, you don’t have to answer right away. Be honest and say that it’s a good question but that you need time to think about it and do some research. You can do the same if your child’s question makes you uncomfortable.
Children’s books on sexuality are helpful in answering questions. However, it’s important not to ignore it and come back with an appropriate answer. If talking about sex with your child isn’t easy for you, get another adult who is more comfortable discussing sex and sexuality with your child.
2. Consider your child’s age
Be honest but straightforward in your answers. Because your child’s learning is gradual, give them just a little information at a time. Then, gradually add more detail to the topics you’ve already covered.
If your child wants to know more, they will ask more questions. Be attentive to their needs. For example, if they ask about his conception and birth, start by asking them what they know and how they imagine things. Their answers will tell you what they understand and what you can tell them.
3. Use the right words
Words are important. When talking to your child, use the right words to identify body parts. For example, during bath time, remind them to wash their arms, legs, and vulva or penis. This way, they learn about all parts of their body, including their genitals, without any taboos.
4. Encourage him to talk to you
Build a trusting relationship with your child so that they can ask questions and talk to you about their concerns. Remind your child that they can talk to you in confidence if they see or hear something that makes them uncomfortable, whether at home, at school, or on the Internet. As much as possible, set aside a time each day when you are calm and fully aware of what your child might have to say, no matter what the subject.
Put yourself in their shoes and don’t judge them. If necessary, ask questions when the opportunity arises to encourage your child to talk to you: “How do you feel?” “What do you think?” or “What do you know about this? By talking to them in this way, your child will have the reflex to turn to you when they have questions.
5. Don’t always wait for questions
Some children never ask about their sexuality. But they need the same information as everyone else. Use everyday situations to discuss sex and sexuality with your child. For example, help your child ask the right questions when reading a story or watching a movie together.
Pay attention to their reactions. Ask questions to find out how they see things. If a scene on TV, an event, a word, or a gesture seems to upset them, talk about it with them. Help them name what they are feeling and think about how it might affect them, others, the people in the show, etc.
Sound off in the comments section below and tell us what you want to read next and if you want to read more about sex ed.