The success of a sex talk can easily dictate the future dynamic of you relationship with you children. Like many in my generation, everything I learned about sex came from outside of the home. Be it Jerry Springer, peer tall tales at school, or movies, anything I thought I knew about sex was second hand information. In my family “the talk” was an unspoken understanding that sex was a “no no”, and nothing more. In my late teens, and as the time for me to leave for college approached, my mother made frail attempts at an elusive conversation on the subject but by then it was too late, and extremely awkward. Sex is inevitable, and with the rapid advancement of today’s technology kids are being exposed to things I’m just learning about, at a much younger age then before. Just like racism, drugs, and other social issues kids encounter at some point, a conversation about sex is best started at home. Here are a few tips for having the sex talk without completely bombing it.
- Be open: Be prepared to listen, just as much as you speak. Don’t assume the worst if your child is inquisitive or seemingly more knowledgeable than you would have expected them to be.
- Prepare yourself for the worse: By opening up the lines of communication, you are making way for your child to feel free to voice any question, concerns or confessions. Remain calm no matter what may come out of their mouth.
- Don’t judge: Don’t judge and don’t preach. If your kids feel you are condemning them, they will instantly shut down, and your chances at being clued into even the small details of their life will be cut off.
- Get on their level: Meet your children where they are when you speak to them. In any pivotal conversation, it is crucial you don’t come off condescending, and authoritative.
- Don’t pry: Let your child tell you want they want you to know, don’t be pushy.
- Share: Make the conversation personal by sharing your own feelings and experiences when you were growing up and learned about the birds and the bees. I’m not saying go into graphic details, but let your child know you understand where they are coming from, because you’ve been there too. Talking about the struggle of being a young parent, to stress the importance of contraception, and abstinence is just enough information to make a point without going too deep.
- DON’T BE AWKWARD: Stay calm, cool and collected. No crying, no overreacting, again no JUDGING (that’s very important). After it is all said and done, don’t harp on what you may or may not have just learned about your child. Don’t make terrible jokes, and use sarcasm during or after the conversation, it will only send your kid reeling with embarrassment, and send walls of defense up.