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How to talk to your child about Sex

How to talk to your child about sex

How-to-talk-to-your-child-about-sex
 

If your child is asking questions about sex, they’re ready for truthful answers. It’s never too early to start talking about it – find out how to go about it.

Young children are naturally curious about their bodies and other people. By answering any questions they ask, you can help them to understand their bodies, their feelings and other people’s feelings. This is a good basis for open and honest communication about sex and relationships, growing up and going through puberty.
Talking to children about sex won’t make them go out and do it. Evidence shows that children whose parents talk about sex openly start having sex at a later stage and are more likely to use contraception.

 

How much should I tell them?

It depends on your child. If they seem happy with your answer and don’t ask a follow-up question, you’ve probably given them enough information. If they ask another question, you can tell them more.
You don’t have to go into detail. A short, simple answer might be enough. For example, if your three-year-old asks why she hasn’t got a penis like her brother, you could tell her that boys have penises on the outside and girls have vaginas on the inside. This could be enough to satisfy her curiosity.

 

Work out exactly what your child wants to know. For example, if they ask a question, such as “Where do babies come from?”, identify what they’re asking. Don’t make it more complicated than it needs to be.
You could answer by saying: “Babies grow in a woman’s tummy, and when they’re ready they come out into the world.” This might be enough.
If not, your child’s follow-up question could be, “How does the baby get in there?” You could answer, “A man puts a seed in there.” Or your child may ask, “How does the baby get out?” You could answer, “It comes out through a special passage in the woman’s body, called a vagina.”

 

What do they need to know?

They need to know that it’s OK to talk about sex and relationships, and that you’re happy to talk about it. They’ll learn this through your tone and manner when you talk about sex, so try to treat sex as a normal, everyday subject.   

 

Beyond sex, your child needs to know the following main topics.

     the changes to expect during puberty (find out more about girls’ bodies and boys’ bodies)

     how babies are made

     how pregnancy happens and how contraception can prevent it (find out more about getting pregnant) 

     safer sex and how to use condoms to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)

     where they can get information and advice about sex and relationships (find out more about getting      contraception)

      sexuality, and that it’s OK to be gay

 

Your child needs to know about puberty before they go through it, otherwise they could be scared or shocked by the changes. Find out more about girls and puberty and boys and puberty.
Girls need to know about periods before they’re around 10 years old, and boys need to know about the changes they can expect before they’re around 12. There’s no reason for girls and boys not to learn the same things. For example, boys can learn about periods, and girls can learn about erections.

 

If your child is approaching the age where they need to know about puberty or sex and relationships, but they’re not asking questions about it, use everyday situations to lead to the conversation. For example, you could talk about a story in a TV programme, or seeing sanitary pads in a shop. Tell your child that they’re growing up, there will be some changes that happen to everyone, and you want to let them know what to expect.

 

Sex

Children need to know about sex, pregnancy, contraception and safer sex before they start any sexual activity. This is so that they will know what to think about (such as safer sex, and not doing anything they don’t want to do). This way, they can make decisions that are right for them when the time comes. Most young people in the UK don’t have sex until they’re at least 16. Those who have sex before that age will need to know how to look after themselves.

 

Everyone needs to know about safer sex, whether they’re straight, gay, lesbian or bisexual. Women can pass STIs on to women, and men can pass STIs on to men. For more information, see sexual health for women who have sex with women and for men who have sex with men.

 

Have an answer ready for awkward situations

No matter how open you are about sex, there will be times when you need a quick answer to deal with awkward questions, for example, in the supermarket queue or on a bus. Say something like, “That’s a good question. I’d like to talk about that when we get home,” or “That’s a good question, but we need to talk about it in private.” Make sure you remember to talk about it later.

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At what age should girls be told about menstruation?

Girls (and boys!) should have information about menstruation by about age 8. This is an area of intense interest to girls. Information about periods might be provided in school — and instructional books can be very helpful.
Many moms share their own personal experiences with their daughters, including when their periods first started and what it felt like, and how, as with many things, it wasn’t such a big deal after a while.

 

At what age should nudity in the home be curtailed?

Families set their own standards for nudity, modesty, and privacy — and these standards do vary greatly from family to family and in different parts of the world. Although every family’s values are different, privacy is an important concept for all kids to learn.
Parents should explain limits regarding privacy the same way that other house rules are explained — matter-of-factly — so that kids don’t come to associate privacy with guilt or secrecy. Generally, they’ll learn from the limits you establish for them — and by your own behaviors.

 

What kids can understand, age by age

Ages 2 to 3: The right words for private body parts, such as “penis” and “vagina”

 

Ages 3 to 4: Where a baby comes from. But they won’t understand all the details of reproduction  — so a simple “Mom has a uterus inside her tummy, where you lived until you were big enough to be born” is fine.

 

Ages 4 to 5: How a baby is born. Stick with the literal response: “When you were ready to be born, the uterus pushed you out through Mommy’s vagina.”

 

Ages 5 to 6: A general idea of how babies are made. (“Mom and Dad made you.”) Or if your child demands more details: “A tiny cell inside Dad called a sperm joined together with a tiny cell inside Mom called an egg.”

 

Ages 6 to 7: A basic understanding of intercourse. You can say, “Nature [or God] created male and female bodies to fit together like puzzle pieces. When the penis and the vagina fit together, sperm, like tadpoles, swim through the penis and up to the egg.” Explain what you think about sex and relationships. For instance: “Sex is one of the ways people show love for each other.”

 

Ages 8 to 9: That sex is important, which your child has probably picked up from the media and her peers. A child this age can handle a basic explanation on just about any topic, including rape. (“Remember when we talked about sex being part of a loving relationship? Rape is when someone forces another person to have sex, and that’s wrong.”)

 

Ages 9 to 11: Which changes happen during puberty. Also be ready to discuss sex-related topics your child sees in the news.

 

Age 12: By now, kids are formulating their own values, so check in every so often to provide a better context for the information your child’s getting. But avoid overkill or you’ll be tuned out.