TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT SEX
I am so happy you have found the 3D Parent Podcast. My name is Beaven Walters, and I am your host. Before I created the 3D Parent, I spent over 10 years teaching in various educational settings. I have always had a passion for working with children. After my first child was born, and not too long after my second, I discovered I was truly passionate about parenting in a way that worked for my children. So, I became a certified parent coach to help not only myself, but other parents who were struggling through a tough season in parenting just like me.
This podcast was created with the parent in mind. I am going to be covering the 3D Parent method and systems, so you can gain tangible tools to help you bring dignity, direction and deep connection to your family dynamic. My goal is to help you become the most confident parent you can be, and feel empowered in your parenting choices.
THINGS YOU WILL LEARN IN EP. 28: TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT SEX
[02:14] An important thing to keep in mind prior to engaging your kids with this topic is that we all come from different perspectives in terms of our values regarding sexuality that we’re hoping to impart to our children. My goal with this topic isn’t to be controversial but rather to encourage you as parents and leaders of your households to have an open conversation with your children on this topic from a very young age.
[04:00] This is not about bad or good, right or wrong, but more about sharing experiences, and how those experiences formed my thinking towards our topic. Part of my thinking came from my childhood experiences and another came from my mom’s perspective as a young parent herself. Like myself, my mom also had her own idea on the way she wanted to address these topics with me and my sisters.
[05:14] My sister, who was in the neighborhood of around 7 years old, asked my mom where babies come from. My mom had expected this question so she’d already thought about it and decided that she wanted to give honest and scientifically accurate information to us. She even had a book purchased and stored away just for that moment. She ended up giving my sister a little bit too much information too soon, but they didn’t have that problem when I got “the talk” later on.
[10:38] Apart from learning things on my own and the information shared with me by my mom, an optional class was offered in our school taught by the mother of one of my classmates who also happens to be a nurse. She drew very graphic drawings of human anatomy and where babies come from. It was age-appropriate information, informative, and she didn’t leave any details out. Our mothers came to this class with us so they also listened to the lecture and afterward were supposed to talk with us more about the topic. As I continued to grow up and became more mature to handle these conversations, they also became less cringy and uncomfortable.
[11:44] Perhaps the biggest takeaway from my experiences growing up is to have open conversations from a very young age when questions are asked and just follow your child’s lead when determining what information is appropriate for their age and understanding. This approach has been very successful with all four of my children.
[13:08] The first point I want to make answers the question, “When is the right time to have the talk?” By this time, it should’ve already become clear that there’s no such thing as one “the talk.” This is a conversation that you initiate as a parent from the time your child doesn’t even have the ability to speak. It can start with anatomy lessons when your child is still an infant. Then, continue naming the body parts as the age - using the proper name for genitals, which is very important for a number of reasons including the ability to defend against potential harm caused by sexual predators.
[17:15] Here we’re joined by my daughter Sophie. Since she’s the eldest among my children, she’s the first in our household with whom I was able to address the topics of sexuality and bodies. Everything went really well since I followed her lead of a child who has always been full of interest, curiosity, and questions. She was 5 years old and in kindergarten when she asked the question, “Where do babies come from?”
[18:12] My first tip in terms of talking to your very young child, I’d say between the ages of 4-9, is to ask clarifying questions. You’ll become sure that your kid is ready to have the conversation when the questions won't stop and you see that she needs the information and is actually hungry for it. We have to deal with a lot of stigma that surrounds the entire aspect of discussing sexual health.
[20:30] Another one of my tips is to avoid doing what my mom did to me and my sister and that is to overshare. She may have delivered a bit more information than we were developmentally ready for which hindered our response to the discussion.
[24:14] Age-appropriate books can be really helpful with these discussions. Here, we’re going to share a couple of resources that we actually used, particularly Sophie who at that time period has one as her favorite bedtime book. Also we’re going to discuss how equally important it is to continue the conversations around the topic of safe touches, who is allowed to see your kid’s body, as well as clean, bathe, and take care of her among other things. Your goal as a parent is to be your child’s main resource for information, instead of them relying on their peers or the Internet.
[26:01] When you have a not-so-little or older child who might start to feel a bit embarrassed and find this kind of conversation uncomfortable, sometimes not having face-to-face interaction can be helpful. For example, you could have conversations when you’re in the car, for instance and don’t have to maintain eye contact and other things that will make your kid feel uncomfortable.
[30:26] If your child is not asking the questions since not all children are inquisitive or wanted to know everything, you might have to take the lead in getting them started if it feels like your child is staying a little closed-off and uncomfortable. Here, I’m going to share tips and suggestions on what you can do in order to get through to this group of children, including activities that you might want to consider in order to take the pressure off of them, etc.
[32:21] Now, if you have a tween or a teenager, you’re still going to have the kind of conversations that we mentioned but you will have to continue by going up a notch, and this time cover topics such as porn, predators, sexting, and other things in particular that normally occur in teenagers’ lives, especially since we have technology at our fingertips.
[33:52] I also strongly encourage you to have very inclusive conversations when you’re discussing things like sexuality and gender. Having these conversations from a very young age helps your child be less inclined to develop bias and prejudice.
QUOTES FROM TALKING TO YOUR KIDS ABOUT SEX
"I would say if your child is age 7 and has never asked any questions about where babies come from, or in puberty, how girls’ bodies are different from women's bodies or boys’ are different from men's bodies...it's time to start taking the lead in some of these conversations."
“You'll also want to have conversations with your child not just about reproduction, not just about human development and puberty, but also about the positives of a healthy sex life, about things like consent, pleasure, and things that are not just straight about reproduction.”
“Then again, even with your tweens and teens, it is so incredibly important to reiterate that you are here to answer any question they may ever have without judgment, and that you're here to be a resource to them and a support to them as they kind of navigate their sexual lives and start making sense of feelings and also their bodies.”
“What we bring to our children needs to be confident, clear, and not something that is off-topic or something reserved for a one time conversation.”
EPISODES TO FURTHER THE DISCUSSION:
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