Here are some tactics that will help you have the talk with your child without embarrassment, especially if they approach you with questions about sex.
Children begin to be interested in their body as early as two years old: they touch themselves, they look at the children of the other sex, and they ask questions. This is a healthy interest, and parents should satisfy it. Psychologists advise starting sexual education of children before their first sexual experience looms on the horizon. This will prevent many problems in the distant future, including the formation of complexes and early pregnancies. So do not shy away from answering children’s questions about sex. Instead, call things by their proper names and be honest.
How to have the talk with your child
- Build confidence
If your child has approached you with a question about private body parts, then s/he trusts you more than his peers. So behave naturally and do not freak out. If the kid sees your embarrassment, he will think that he asked about something shameful. This will form an unhealthy and obsessive attitude towards the subject.
If you are, in principle, embarrassed to talk about sex, engage in your own sexual education: read books, watch movies, or discuss the topic with your partner.
- Answer honestly
Forget the phrase “you will understand when you grow up.” Firstly, it is impolite, and secondly, you risk losing credibility in the eyes of the child. Answer children’s questions truthfully and tell them only what you know about the subject. If you do not have enough knowledge, do not make up stories. You can admit that you are not ready, and that you will come back to the conversation later.
How to answer the question “Where did I come from”
Stork and cabbage stories are no longer convincing for children. Say what really happened, but take into account the child’s age: the smaller the age, the fewer the details.
What to say to the child who found his/her parents in bed
If the kid is under three years old, there is a chance you can go on without rational explanations. The child did not even understand what he saw. If he already goes to kindergarten or school, watch the reaction. Just do not pretend that you did nothing. Behave calmly and naturally. If your eyes are bulging with fear, the child will think that something terrible has happened.
Tell him that “Dad and Mom kissed” or that “this is how Dad and Mom show how they love each other.” Do not say that you played. A child can be offended that you have fun without him.
- Use sex education books for children
Buy sex education books for children in advance so that when the need arises, you can open the book and study the question together. Colorful illustrations and concise explanations will simplify your life and save you from the initial awkwardness.
- Focus on the age and level of development
Children develop and grow up differently. Therefore, there are no strict limits on when you can have the talk with your child.
Focus on their age and level of development before you start to have the talk with your child.
Here are the approximate stages of children’s understanding and sensations about sex:
2 years. The baby will begin to show interest in her/his genitals. Do not shame her/him and do not beat her/him. Do not take too much notice if they touch themselves. Otherwise, it will turn into an obsession. The touching phase will usually go away on itself.
If it normal for my child to touch herself/himself
According to Today’s Parents, it is quite normal for toddlers to touch themselves. This is a self-exploration phase that needs to be managed with caution. The child must understand that the genitals are private parts of their bodies, so they cannot be exposed or played with in the company of others.
2-5 years. Children begin to see the differences between people of the opposite sex. They already know what their sexual organs are called. Perhaps you will even find your baby looking at the genitals of another child. Do not freak out: such acts are out of curiosity. They do not have a sexual nature. The main thing is to explain that they cannot touch other people’s genitals and other people should not touch theirs.
7 years. The child should understand that sex is a manifestation of love between two adults by their mutual consent. You have to teach your child to defend their personal space and say “no” to all who want to touch her/him.
9 years. You can start telling girls about menstruation. It is better if they are ready for this in advance.
11-12 years old. One can talk about the importance of contraception and the prevalent ways of it, and about the existence of homosexuals.
- Ask the child what s/he already knows
The child might already have heard enough from peers or found information on the Internet. Your task is to hear the interpretation and dispel the myths. Ask also what impression the information produced on her/him, and whether there are any questions.
- Call a spade a spade
Attempts to save the child’s psyche by euphemisms can lead to the formation of complexes. Kids should get acquainted with the biological names of the genital organs in 2-4 years, while their heads are not yet clogged with attitudes of sex as something shameful or bad.