How To Talk To Your Child About Sex And Relationships

How To Talk To Your Child About Sex And Relationships

The time has come. The time to have "the talk" with your child. To some parents, this is usually a scary experience as they are desperate to get it right. While to children it's usually an embarrassing experience.

Living in a world where nearly everything is sexualized is not fun, especially as a parent. It is even worse how easy it is for just anyone including children to get their hands on adult or explicit content.

The last you want as a parent is for your child to receive sexual education/ relationship advice from the TV, internet, or peers. Every parent wants to protect their child from the horrors that accompany failed sex education. The good thing you can always seek help for parenting, or support from other professionals if you feel you can't give the adequate education your child needs. 

However, giving your child sex education the wrong way will lead to the same results as not giving them at all. So how should you go about this the right way? Let's find out.

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Do Away With The Stigma

It is not news that sex or sex education bears a stigma. People see it as taboo to talk about or even say the word. Luckily, families are becoming more open-minded about all things sex-related.

You must lift or eradicate the stigma attached to sex in your household. So your child can speak freely and come to you for such issues rather than their peers. 

Start Early

As a parent, you shouldn't wait till your child has reached puberty before you discuss sex. Start from a tender age like 2 to 3 years at most. You mustn't dive into the details at once.

Teach them the basics- show them their reproductive organs, tell them no one should be allowed to touch them except you. Encourage them to tell you if someone does touch them.

This lays the groundwork for a better relationship between you both and establishes a bond. So as they grow older, it won't be strange or weird to discuss sex with them.

Be Factual

Tell the truth. Sometimes parents tend to rely on sexual myths and half-truths in a bid to "protect their kids". Sadly, you are only doing more harm than good.

Trying to scare your kids with lies like – if you touch a girl she'd be pregnant or vice versa. Would cause them to question you when they get touched or touch someone and no one gets pregnant. They become curious and want to try more.

Asides from that, you are giving your child a very unhealthy and negative view of sex.

Listen To Your Child

Children are naturally curious. And it is a good thing to feed their curiosity. Do not turn them away when they ask questions regarding sex or tell them it's only for adults to know. Give them as much information as their young minds can process. 

Turning children away will cause them to direct their curiosity to another. This person would probably not give accurate answers.

Empower Your Children

Teach your children to love themselves, their bodies, and their personalities. Let them see themselves and their bodies beyond sexual stereotypes, and male validation(for females).

Let them know that they deserve love, respect, and care. So in relationships, they shouldn't settle for anything less.

Give them a healthy view of relationships– what to expect and what not to. Show them that relationships are giving and taking, everybody must contribute.

Let Them Learn From Experience

As a parent, you would love to shield your child from every single danger. Unfortunately, that's not possible, especially with teenagers, mistakes are bound to be made. 

Don't just scold them but teach them that mistakes serve as learning experiences. Experience is the best teacher. Your teenager or young child would have to experience certain things to properly learn. Just ensure that they don't make irreversible mistakes. 

Give them a bit of freedom to enter relationships, go out with friends, post silly online, etc. When they try all these things and make mistakes, they learn. 

As they grow older they have a few battle scars that serve as a reminder for a lifetime. 

Build Trust

Do not think trust naturally happens in a parent-child relationship. It doesn't. This is why most kids prefer one parent over the other. The favored parent is the one that they trust, in most cases because they are more kind-hearted and understanding.

This is why you shouldn't be quick to scold, yell or punish your kids. So when they find themselves in certain situations they can confide in you without fear.

Children tend to be quite embarrassed discussing sexual/relationship matters with their parents. But with trust, they can come to you with anything. Any problem, question, thought, and idea.

So build that trust between you and your child. Be slow to anger, reassure them, understand them and shower them with love even when it's hard.

Ask Questions

This doesn't mean hounding them with detective-like questions. It means asking discerning questions. Don't ask "what kind of things do you and your boyfriend/girlfriend do when alone?". Instead, ask "how does your boyfriend/girlfriend or partner treat you?". "Does he/she make you happy?". 

Sometimes you can even ask about their friends. Some children feel more comfortable talking about the experiences of others rather than theirs. This way you get to know about the kind of friends they keep. You also learn who your child holds highly and why. This gives you an insight into their minds and how they think. 

Most importantly, don't judge. They are still young, so they can unlearn and learn new things. If you don't like what you hear, correct them lovingly. 

Provide Them With Information 

If your child likes to read, bless their minds with books, websites, or other resources that align with the principles you want to inculcate in them. What children read and teach themselves will always stick with them. 

Conclusion

Raising children is not an easy job. As parents you no doubt want the best for your children. So don't be hard on them if it seems they don't see your effort. 

It is okay to seek professional help as a parent when you feel you have reached the end of educating your child. Parenting isn't a one-man job. 

Remember you were once a child. So shower your child with the love, wisdom, patience, and understanding you know they deserve.

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October 7th, 2022