Do you have a curious child that always asks questions about how he was born and where he came from? Or have you ever been pregnant and been tasked with answering questions about how the baby got into your tummy? Honestly, these questions are incredibly funny and as well as difficult to answer. While it’s awkward to tell the truth, it’s important to give the right answers, but in a logical way of course.
One thing we know for sure is using anatomical names to describe genitals, just like you’ll describe the nose and eyes, will make things normal. It gets normal when you mention breast, bum, penis and differentiate what each gender has and the function of each organ, so even your toddler understands this and they don’t get shy or feel awkward about saying the words.
When Do I Start Talking About Sex with My Child?
Most people think “the sex talk” is just about the “action”. Sex education includes anatomy, pregnancy, sexually transmitted Diseases, Contraceptives, pornography, consent, masturbation and the sexual act itself. There is no right age to talk about sex because these talks come in stages and it depends on the situation and the maturity of your child. Start with your toddlers, teaching them basic knowledge of their private parts, how to cover themselves up, how to sit right, when to say no, when someone touches them and personal hygiene
Talking to your child about sex can go two ways; they either avoid it because they are aware of the consequences or they get overly curious. Which is why you need to consider the age of your child and the answers to give.
An Age-Specific Guide To Having The Sex Talk
Kids Between Ages 2-8years
Majorly all you need to be explaining here is how to clean their private parts so germs don’t get into them and they stay healthy, how to say NO when someone tries to touch them i.e. learning boundaries and the inappropriate ways of being touched or touching others, how to report a stranger that tries to get too close. Instead of calling private parts funny names like ensure you give accurate names so they can clearly explain if they get hurt or something is bothering them. Sometimes they might be a bit touchy and might play with their genitals out of curiosity. Ensure you correct them that it isn’t completely wrong and it shouldn’t be done in public instead of scolding them. Shouting or scolding them just makes them more curious and want to do more. Also, this act may be a sign of sexual abuse or an injury, make sure you take it seriously.
This stage is the most curious as you might have to answer endless questions of how babies are being made or why boys and girls are different. You can explain that all females have little eggs in their uterus (or say stomach if they don’t get it) and these eggs can get fertilized into a beautiful baby. Use a plant as an example, plant a seed with them, maybe a bean seed and show how it grows into many seedlings. Explain that all living things; plants and animals reproduce and they all have a special way of doing so.
Kids Between Ages 9-12years
At this stage, your kids will begin to attain puberty and might have been taught some things from school. This is the stage they experience body changes, catch feelings, get crushes and will like to explore. Teach your boys that wet dreams are a normal occurrence and having a boner in the morning is what happens to every boy. Explain the body changes they can expect, their hair growth, deeper voices, broader shoulders and while their body changes might be slower or faster than their peers. It is important you talk about how normal it is to like someone or have feelings for someone. Educate your girl on values of virginity, cleanliness during period and body changes.
Kids Between Ages 12-16years
By this stage, your kids are already aware of sex, either through movies, conversations with friends, social media or sex education at school. So you should come clean about what you need to say. Establish rules of not having sex at an early age and the consequences i.e. pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases with no cure and the pride of virginity. This age group probably has a smartphone and has got the freedom to research, you should be careful about what your child does online and the sites they visit. Ensure you discuss sharing photos of their private parts online with friends or strangers and the legal implications of being caught.
Kids Above 16years
All you need to do here is to advise and how to take precautions. It is easier to discuss sex education with your teen since you started early. At this stage, they need real lectures because they might be getting into relationships and most of their friends are already having sex. When it comes to teaching teens about sex, you want to ensure you instill decision making into them. Most teenagers do these things as a result of peer pressure or what they see online. Teach how to use protections, contraceptives, birth control and be sure to warn about abortions.
Three Steps To Having The Sex Talk
Step 1: Watch closely and find out what they kno0w already. E.g if your child knows how babies are born, you can ask how they think they were born. They might have been taught some things at school or maybe they saw something that’s bothering them
Step 2: Correct false information they have in their minds and give correct answers and facts to their questions. Use examples to teach and the best illustrations possible. E.g. show pictures of when you were smaller and how you grew older and gave birth to them now.
Step 3: Use questions as an opportunity to have conversations and a bit of sex education.
The reason for early sex education is not to teach them how to have sex at an early age but to give knowledge, make the right decisions, take precautions and make them aware of the risk involved. Early sex education also allows your child to open up to you and it gives room for honest conversations.