How do you start talking to your kids about body parts, growing up, and sex?
Don’t stress. Take a breath. Talk early and often.
Trusted resources to help you initiate a conversation about puberty and sex
- American Academy of Pediatrics Breaks the conversation down by age.
- Kidshealth.org Answers common questions that parents have.
- Amaze.org Information for parents regarding safety, sex, and puberty. Their website offers conversation starter prompts as well as sample answers for some common questions.
- Tea consent video Consent explained. Using tea. It doesn’t get more simple than this.
Here are a few bullet points to remember
Talk early and often
Frequent conversations will make talking to your child about safety and sex less awkward, and more matter-of-fact. If you feel like you screwed up, then there is always another opportunity, and they don’t have to be planned. Sometimes there will be teachable moments, e.g. turn a child’s story about how Susie pushed Sally into the importance of consent and respect for ours and other people’s bodies, buying bathing suits can include a brief chat about not letting anyone touch body parts covered by the bathing suit.
Start with facts about the body
Teach young kids body parts by their real names – vagina, penis. Then just go with the flow, answer their questions as they ask, with age appropriate responses, and bring up other lessons as teachable moments come.
Give your kids tools to stay safe and healthy
Once the kids are older, make sure they have access to things that will keep them safe. The HPV vaccine, condoms, birth control, a doctor who screens them for STDs, a parent who they can talk to. Let your kids ask you questions and let them know that they can come to you with any concerns. Sometimes, they aren’t even looking for answers, so don’t be afraid that you won’t have them. They might just want a listening ear. Having you around and available for chats at bedtime, meals and in the car will keep them safe too. You got this!