Having ‘The Talk’ With Your Kids Is Actually A Breeze
The dreaded “talk”. That awkward, horribly uncomfortable conversation in which your parents told you about the birds and the bees and then told you to never have sex or you’ll get pregnant and die. Most of us don’t have a fond memory of “The Talk” and actually never learned that much from it. It’s natural to try to avoid doing the same thing with our own kids.
The truth is, we are looking at it wrong. This shouldn’t be one talk. It should be a continuous conversation. By trying to compress a topic as vast and complex as sexuality into a single twenty minute conversation with which we are clearly uncomfortable, we are only creating a bigger taboo and more anxieties surrounding the topic. Sex is a natural part of life, it should be a natural part of conversation with our children. After all, we all want our sons and daughters to come to us with doubt and concerns. You don’t want them getting all their knowledge from misinformed classmates.
First things first:
Lets’ call things by their name. This means no more peewees, or hoo-has or va-jay-jays. Genitals are body parts too. By teaching children to call their genitals by different names, we are teaching them that they are shameful and shouldn’t be brought up in conversation, which may lead them to hide discomfort, pain or other issues. Penis, testicles, vagina and vulva are not bad words. Ideally, you would never use those cutesy euphemisms, but if you do, the best thing to do is just stop right now. You will get used to the proper names, don’t worry.
No lies or made-up stories. The stork is not the baby delivery service. If you are worried about saying “too much” too soon, follow the simple rule: If your kid is old enough to ask, they are old enough to hear the answer. This doesn’t mean you should go describing the act in pornographic detail, of course. If your child asks “where do babies come from”, you can answer “from mom’s vagina” and describe pregnancy. If they are satisfied with the answer, leave it at that. If they ask “how do babies get in mommy’s tummy”, then explain further.
No matter what, don’t tell your kid “we don’t talk about those things” or “you are too young to know”. That only builds shame and they will be less likely to trust you with their questions in the future. When your kids are old enough to understand the mechanics of sex beyond “reproduction”, it’s also important to talk about the social aspect and how they can keep themselves and their partners healthy. Talk about consent and relationships.
Bottom line is, in order to teach your kids how to be comfortable and have a healthy attitude about sex, you need to be comfortable with it as well.