Having "THE" Talk
One of the challenges that we face as parents is having that all important talk with our kids
about sex. Many times we get all wrapped up in the technicalities and making sure they have it "right". What
we forget to do is to make sure they have a relationship with us that allows for them to ask questions when
they have them, or share experiences with us.
As we are raising our kids, many of us want to make sure that they not only have the right information, but make
sure that they know they can come to us with anything. And I do mean anything. Here is where we get to take a deep
breath and pretend that we're calm and collected as we explain things in a way where we seem to be the expert.
On this topic, ignorance is not bliss! It's always better to know what you're dealing with than to close your
eyes and hope for the best. Here are a few thoughts for making things go a little better regarding this topic as
you raise your children.
Is the topic you are discussing age appropriate for him/her? If we're discussing
all of the "how-to's" to an 8 year old, we're missing the boat. What specifically is he being exposed to that
needs to be explained at this point in his life? Instead of telling him what you think he needs to know,
ask him what he already knows. Then clear up any misinformation and add what you feel needs to be
Are you creating a safe atmosphere in which to discuss sensitive topics? Many
times, kids, especially teens, are afraid to talk with their parents about sex because they feel as if they
will be judged, put down or ridiculed - or they find that their parents are too uncomfortable. No one likes
being uncomfortable. If you make yourself the go-to person for all things scary, you will have built an
important foundation on which to discuss topics in a way where your child feels validated and respected. And
more importantly, they learn to respect your position on the topic.
Does your child know how his values play into his decisions? Many times families
don't have a set of chosen values that they live as individuals and as a family. Most children haven't really
figured out what they value in life either. These thoughts and ideas come into formation when the parent talks
about current events and, without judgement, shows how choices are made that come together in a result that
doesn't give people what they really wanted.
Does your child know what is behind his values? When we have a great amount of
love and respect for ourselves, we don't often do things that will ruin our future. Sex is a wonderful thing
when we are with the right person at the right time in our lives. What teens, especially, don't get is that the
teen years probably won't be the right time, and it probably won't be with the right person. With that being
said, teens think they know a lot and are more than likely going to experiment. Not only are they experimenting
with sex, they're playing with people's emotions as well. Does your child understand the connection between sex
and emotion? This information doesn't go around in the social circles at school. This is a very important piece
that should come from the home. Does your boy want to have a stalker for years to come? All he has to do is be
a girl's first sexual experience and he will soon have the privilege of learning acronyms such as TPO and CRO.
Might a teen be able to use information like this in making a better decision?
How clear are you on your position about your child having sex? The average age
for having sex in the county in which I live is 12. Yes, 12. That's scary!! I'll be honest, I don't believe
that kids really know what they're doing when they have sex at this age. Yet, there are little girls that get
pregnant at this age. What can you do as a parent to make sure this doesn't happen? Kids learn about the
mechanics of having sex in school, but that doesn't mean that they know much more. How many kids are finding
themselves in situations that they can't get out of? It's important to talk to both sons and daughters about
not getting into situations where someone can convince them that it's the right thing to do. For your older
teens (15+), do they know what you expect from them? Do YOU know what you expect from them?
Once you know what you expect, do you know how to relay the expectations? If you
expect abstinence, do you live the values where your teen can respect your position? If you have very loose
values, live with your girlfriend/boyfriend, get drunk in front of the kids, etc., you don't have much of a
chance of imposing your ideas of abstinence on them. But, I will say that there are parents who do faithfully
live their values that have teens that go out and do the opposite, just to rebel. If you know they're going to
have sex, where do you stand on birth control? Have you discussed the different types available? Ask for their
It all comes down to the relationship you have with your child/teen. Stay open to answering their
questions in an open and honest way, create a safe place where your kids can ask for information and stay up on
what they're hearing in the school halls. It's better that you as a parent are the one that explains sex in an
age appropriate way than for your kids to learn in a place where sex is glamorized as the thing to do to be
popular or liked/loved. Focus on the
relationship, and your results should be great!