My son was 9 years old when he asked me about sex. His dad wasn’t home at the time and he was curious to know what the kids at his school were talking about. I knew that if I didn’t answer soon he would go searching on his own. Nowadays kids have access to an infinite amount of information that makes it difficult for parents to keep up. My son trusts me to guide and protect him so I figured, there’s no time like the present and I proceeded to answer his question in an age appropriate manner.
Since my children have been able to talk, I have always told them “You can talk to me about ANYTHING!”. He remembered that, and asked me about sex. Like most kids, he is a curious kid doing his best to navigate through life. We had previously talked about inappropriate touching, molestation, and not keeping secrets, but I had never gone into detail about sex. So, we took a drive alone and talked.
I am a former high school counselor. I used to talk to my students with ease about sex and always told myself I’d do the same when I have kids. Well, it was my time so I did it. I was very honest with my son about what sex is, how it happens, why it happens, how it makes people feel, how it messes with people’s emotions, especially if they are too young, how people get sexually transmitted diseases and what they look like on a person’s genitalia. I tried to leave no stone unturned. I found pictures on the Internet of STDs on sexual organs. His mouth dropped and he looked like he wanted to puke as he looked at extremely gross pictures of gonorrhea and chlamydia. We even had a discussion about oral sex.
I would be lying if I told him sex was bad so I didn’t. I explained to him the dangers of having unprotected sex, how a woman gets pregnant, and how a person contracts an STD. I also explained the feelings and urges that he might start to feel when he gets older and what they mean. Some might think I went too far, but I know there are children younger than my son that have taken it upon themselves to learn more about sex through YouTube and Google that involved porn.
Positive parenting doesn’t mean you will always have the perfect answer or an instant response when your child has a question. It means, that you will do your best to guide your child the best way you know-how. It means that if you have to take a moment to seek out an answer from a spouse, partner, friend, or online source, you will. Sex is a difficult topic to discuss with anyone, especially a child. If we continue to make it taboo, kids living in the new instant information age will seek out the answer they are looking for one way or another. For resources on how to talk to your child about sex check out the following sites:
AMAZE: Quick videos that help parents talk to kids about sex, their bodies, and relationships