We have thirty years of experience in family and relationship therapy. We teach healthy parenting skills especially with difficult adolescents and young adults. We help families deal with addiction as well as depression and anxiety that affect the family system
DISCUSSING SEX WITH CHILDREN
We are finding that rather than the traditional “talk” that every parent dreads, the talk about sex and sexuality with your kids is best done as an age appropriate ongoing conversation. The conversation is best done as a natural process of responding to a child’s natural curiosity The idea that kids will respond to one big info-dump about sex when it has never been discussed before is not effective
For example, a conversation may start questions that leads to the “Birds and Bees” answers but as the child becomes more mature progresses over time to explanations about the anatomy of sex and procreation. If a five-year-old asks “Where did I come from?” You might say, “You came out of Mommy’s body.” If a ten-year-old asks, you might go into more detail: “After nine months of growing inside Mom’s uterus, you came out through her vagina.”
I believe that it is very important to also include relational issues in any conversation talking about the importance of affection, respect, commitment intimacy and love with your child. Any discussion of the role of sex in relationships is best started before age12 since kids tend to become more private after this age.
The best way to message children is through modeling ease of expressing affection to our primary significant others with mutual respect, responsibility and appropriate levels of intimacy. By censoring our healthy desires, curiosity or denying sex altogether inhibits our children’s healthy relationship with their own sexuality.
It’s okay to talk about pleasure.
At best sex for teens is a doorway to self-discovery, connection affirmation and pleasure. Pleasure and a sense of self efficacy is of itself an important reason for sex; we do it because it feels good. Procreation can be an outcome of sex but for most people—especially for teenagers it is often a way of feeling wanted, desired and accepted.
With a child, you can start seeding this understanding by explaining that making a baby is a process of adults connecting with their bodies and with their hearts in very special way; it’s what people who love each other do. It is also very important to help our teens understand what feeling forced or coerced is and how to respond.Be truthful and straightforward. Sex is not dirty or shameful or something that needs to be disguised. Don’t dance around the truth with phrases like “private parts” or “Mommy’s special friend.” It’s a penis or a vagina. He is Mommy’s boyfriend. Call a spade a spade.
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