5 tips for parents and caregivers to help you with this challenging task!
Tip Number 1.
First, Remember the old saying … Children See - Children Do. Well, this is not just an old saying…it’s very true!
The tip here is to be and do who you want your children to be and what you want them to do (and btw…this goes for much more than just talking about sex!).
Teach your children through your own actions, the values and attitudes you would like them to adopt in life. Values such as:
Tip Number 2.Talk soon and Talk (as) Often (as needed).
Children are inquisitive and are likely to ask questions from a young age.
Don’t ignore or put them off…yes, young children are easy to discourage and divert their attention, but when they ask these questions…stay with it…be brave, listen carefully and answer your child’s question honestly and at a depth the child can understand…very young children often don’t need a lot of information.
Tip Number 3. Bring back the penis and vagina!
Ok, we know that those pet, cute names for our private parts are, well…cute! But, I do encourage you to use the correct anatomical names when describing these ‘cute’ parts to your children.
It’s strange isn’t it, that when we teach our children the names of part of the face for example, we say…nose, cheek, eye…but go down to the lower regions and we adopt a slang or common word, usually to cover our own embarrassment.
Using these correct terms will convey a meaning of value, respect and dignity to your children.
Tip Number 4. Be non-judgemental
Life is diverse! Life is more than heterosexual…more than he and she…
There are likely to be many who will disagree with me, but in life today, we have more than just a straight (forgive the pun) him and her. Our society is, for the most part, more accepting of diversity of sexuality and sexual identify.
While you wouldn’t necessarily discuss this aspect of sex with your very young children, if you are respectful of all, and as non-judgemental as you can be (bearing in mind that we are all judgemental at times!), then your children will follow in your footsteps.
Tip Number 5. Stay Connected.
No matter what ages your kids are, if you want them to talk to you, come to you with their issues…you must find a way to stay connected. This is especially so in adolescence.
As young people grow into their teenage years, they will want to break away from their ‘old younger self’, and find their identity and way in the world as a young adult. This is right…and healthy! It is essential that we as parents, do what we can to remain connected to our kids during this fragile and vulnerable period.
Bonus Tip Number 6. Understand and self-manage YOU!
Ok, this is a biggy. This means that you will need to have an understanding of what triggers you. What sexual and other personal issues do you have that are likely to influence the messages you pass on
to your children?
Ask yourself questions such as:
We are all products of a combination of our early environment, our personal experiences, and our past and current thoughts, beliefs and attitudes.
There is no sense in holding blame…but there is a lot of sense in developing an understanding of who we are right now in life, and how this might influence the way we parent.
Believe me, Tip Number 6, is likely to be the most important for most of us in this challenging journey of talking about sex with our children.
At inSync for life, we have a number of practitioners who can support you on this journey.
I wish you well!