This month, we have our sex therapy experts and licensed mental health professionals address ways and when to talk to your children about sex. This blogpost comes as a special request for a mom who asked “how do I talk to my children about sex?”. She requested a blogpost to be written about this topic. Our experts share their tips for talking to your children about sex, something they are inevitably going to ask you about.
Children and teenagers are going to ask about sex, sooner or later. It is important to validate their curiosity, answer their questions and provide them with healthy and accurate information about sex. If children feel like they aren’t getting a straight answer from their parents, they are going to get their information from older siblings/family members, their friends and the internet. The internet can be your best friend or your worst enemy. There are great websites out there that can guide you in what to share with your child and at what age. At it’s worst, your children will have access to pictures, information and videos that other generations were never exposed to. It is important to share age appropriate information about sex and love and relationships in order to squelch their natural curiosity without bombarding them with information that is too mature for them to handle. Planned Parenthood has a great resource page with links to other websites and books that you can use in order to guide you in having the “birds and the bees” talk with your children.
Here’s the link for their resource page: https://www.plannedparenthood.org/parents/resources-for-parents.
Amanda Patterson, LMHC, CAP decided to become a therapist while attending Nova Southeastern University. She saw the need to help people achieve the life they wanted to live, while creating a life of her own. She completed her master’s in Mental Health Counseling and started a career in the juvenile justice arena. Since then, she has started a private practice in Pembroke Pines, Florida, specializing in depression, anxiety relationship issues, and substance abuse. Amanda is a believer in holistic treatment and she practices veganism, meditation and yoga in her life. Find out more about her practice here. For a free 15-minute consultation, call or text Amanda at 954-258-8845 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talking to Kids About Sex: by Dr. Stacy
Not many things scare a parent more than “the talk”. The time when the words come out of their toddlers mouth saying, “where do babies come from” to the time when your teen comes to you to ask for birth control because they are wanting to have sex. How do you know the right way to talk to your kids?
The most important thing to note is that doing nothing is not the answer. This is how people can grow up with negative body image, poor sexual communication skills and possibly even pregnant before they are ready. Open communication is the best way to promote positive sexuality and letting your children know that sex is a natural part of life.
Knowing what to discuss in what age group is what parents struggle with the most.
Here are some tips to help:
- Kids at a young age need to learn the correct words for their body parts, like penis, vagina, breasts, etc. so they don’t develop shame around that part of the body. They will play or touch themselves as well when they are toddlers but don’t tell them not to. Just explain to them that they need to do that in the privacy of their own room.
- At ages 3-5 they may ask that dreaded question about where do babies come from and at this stage, you only need to give basic information. For example, you can say a seed from daddy and an egg from mommy come together and grow in mommy’s belly. Many kids are satisfied with that! If not, let their curiosity guide you.
- From 6-9, kids start doing more exploration and may need more detailed answers about what sex is. Basically you can state that sex is when a penis goes into a vagina and leave it at that. This is a great time to explain puberty and changes that will happen within their bodies as they grow. Some children don’t ask, so it’s important as a parent to still discuss it even if it isn’t brought up.
- At 9-12 kids think sex is gross. They also start recognizing other kids and the changes that are taking place in their bodies, especially hormonally. This is the most important time to discuss sex as well as STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) and how people get pregnant. You don’t want them learning from others.
- Hormones are on overdrive from 13-18 and many kids aren’t discussing anything with their parents. That doesn’t mean they don’t want to know, so it is up to the parent to bring it up no matter how awkward it is! Your teen needs to know that they don’t ever have to feel pressured to have sex or do anything they aren’t comfortable doing. Don’t be shy about discussing birth control options before your kids may even be having sex, so they are aware and prepared, especially if they are too shy to come to you. Knowledge is power and when you give them the understanding of what to expect as they grow and develop, you will create a sex positive culture that can make the changes we need. This in turn will protect our children so they can make the best-informed decision for themselves. Look for teachable moments like listening to music, watching TV or the internet and just start talking!
Dr. Stacy is the founder of Creating Intimacy Coach, Inc. She got involved in the field of Clinical Sexology because of her passion for helping people better connect and experience the best sexual intimacy with themselves and with their partner(s). She holds a Doctorate degree in Human Sexuality, a Masters degree in Clinical Sexology and is a Certified Sex Coach. Dr. Stacy is a member of WASC (World Association of Sex Coaches), and of the ACS (American College of Sexologists), which shows she has earned top credentials in her field. She also has a BA in Psychology and is a Registered Diagnostic Medical & Vascular Sonographer.
Since 2006, in addition, Dr. Stacy has been a consultant selling adult novelties and has had the pleasure of educating many men and women in a fun, positive approach to love, romance and in all aspects of sexuality. Her education and personal spiritual and sexual journey, including life experience uniquely enables her to help you move in a positive direction to face the challenges that may lie ahead and to achieve your goals. Sex Coaching is designed to help women, men, and people of any sexual orientation or gender address their concerns about sexuality, sexual function and sexual expression.
If you are interested in a private one to one session to discuss a concern in greater detail, you can contact her at 561-899-7669. She offers a complimentary 15 minute consult and then if you feel her services would be helpful, you can book an appointment. Dr. Stacy has an office in Lake Worth & West Palm or you can stay in the privacy of your own home and have the sessions by phone, Skype or FaceTime, which can be just as valuable.
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