Present information that is appropriate and in a way that they can understand.
We live in an increasingly complex world that challenges us everyday with a wide range of disturbing issues that are difficult for children to understand and for adults to explain. Aside from the "Hows" to the "Whens", the question that throws most parents off guard is "Where do babies come from".
Here are some ideas that might help you navigate the murky waters of talking with your kids about sexuality:
- Give Accurate, Age-Appropriate Information - talk about sex in a way that fits the age of your child. Present information that is appropriate and in a way that they can understand.
- Start Early - teaching children about sex demands a gentle, continuous flow of information that should begin as early as possible, for instance when teaching your toddler about their body parts.
- Take The Initiative - look for opportunities to bring up the subject. Say for instance, the mother of your child's best friend is pregnant. You can say, "Did you notice Nina's mummy's tummy is getting bigger? That's because she's going to have a little one and she's carrying it inside her. Do you know how the little one got inside her?", then let the conversation move from there.
- Talk About More Than The "Birds And The Bees" - discuss the emotional aspects of a sexual relationship with your child so that they will be better informed.
- Know Your Comfort Level - getting a sense of your own comfort is crucial. Take time to imagine conversations at different ages and stages in your child's life.
- Communicate Your Values - let your children know your values about sex. Although they may not adopt these values as they mature, at least they'll be aware of them.
- Use Everyday Situations - television programmes are often a good opportunity to talk about relationships.