How to talk to your kids about sex

By Doug Hewitt

Overview
Parents and caregivers who want children to grow up into responsible, healthy adults need to talk to kids about sex. It's a topic that comes up on television and in other media. Peers can spread information about reproduction and sexual activities that is not accurate. To get correction information, kids need to hear about sex from responsible adults. Also, when parents and caregivers provide information about sex, they are able to discuss moral issues that are important to them. Talking to kids about sex may be difficult, but it is important to do so.

Step 1
Be prepared to take advantage of natural opportunities to talk to kids about sex. An opportunity may present itself when a child asks a question about sex, relationships or marriage. This may be a time when a child is most receptive to the information that parents and caregivers wish to relay.

Step 2
Create your own opportunity to talk about sex. Raise age-appropriate topics in a neutral setting. If the child is young, talk about relationships, love and respect. As the child becomes a pre-teen, talk about values and waiting to have sex. When the child is a teen, talk about the biological aspects of sex, relationships, values and how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

Step 3
Question the children to learn what they already know and what misperceptions they may have. This provides a basis for how deeply to go into any particular topic.

Step 4
Answer questions about sex as they arise. If there isn't time at that moment to answer the question, come back to the topic as soon as possible.

Step 5
Listen to kids when they express an opinion. Nod your head as they make their points to show them you are engaged and to reinforce that you are listening.

Step 6
Continue talking to kids about sex as they grow older, letting them know that you're available to answer questions about the topic. Express the fact that you care about them and want them to grow into healthy adults.

Tips and Warnings
* Keeping the tone conversational and informative can help reduce the anxiety level in a conversation about sex. Children can ask questions that are very direct. Be prepared.

References
* 4parents.gov: Talking to Your Pre-Teen or Teen About Waiting
* 4parents.govHealthfinder.gov: Talk to your Kids about Sex
* 4parents.govHealthfinder.gov: Sex Talk Taking Place after the Fact

How to talk to your kids about sex was originally published on LIVESTRONG.COM.

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