Friday, January 31, 2014

How to Talk with Your Kids about Sex

How to Talk with Your Kids about Sex

January 26, 2012  By:  Ducky DooLittle
Whether you like it or not, you are a sexual role model for the young people in your life. Their eager minds seek to understand the world around them. When the issues are not articulated for them, they learn through the subtleties, like body language and watching the interactions of those around them. And even worse, they learn from the Internet, television and through conversations with their friends. If you don’t step up and let them know they are safe to ask you anything – you are leaving them in the hands of strangers and a life of learning by way of their own mistakes.
Open the door and let them know you will not be angry or embarrass them for asking questions.  At what age you open this door really depends upon your child. Some kids are very inquisitive at an early age while others just need to know they can ask if the need arises. Remind them every once in a while that they can ask you anything. Sometimes they may be on the edge of a precarious situation or thinking about something they heard and your gentle nudge may remind them that they are not alone.
When are kids having sex? It depends upon the kids. Some kids start very early. Some wait until marriage. Lots of kids have explicit conversations about sex. Studies show that nearly half of all high school aged kids are engaging in sexual activity. Of those who are sexually active, 2/3 have had more than one partner. Good, honest, sweet, smart, wonderful kids will be genuinely interested in exploring sex. Be ready for it.
Another reason you should want to be their main resource is that the world has a funny way of compartmentalize sex. We do this through subtle attitudes (like “boys will be boys” and the shaming of girl who express interest in sex) and by way of the media (sex sells). And those are just a couple of examples. These ideas do not always coincide with what young people are taught at home and/or their place of worship. It can become very difficult for a young person to understand how sex can affect self-esteem, relationships, and health. If they are taught that only dirty or nasty people have sex, then how do they justify that the same acts can bond a relationship or be the source of a new life? These are complex issues that cannot be over looked.
Part of the problem is that many young people believe the solid definition of sex is intercourse. People (young and old) do not recognize that sex is a way of life, not a particular act. Sex can be the energy exchanged while looking at each other, eating a meal together (with out the TV on) or lying on the lawn and looking at the stars with your lover. But sex does incorporate many acts, like heavy petting, oral sex, intercourse and anal sex. Many young people will have oral sex with multiple partners but still identify as a virgin. (And not understanding that oral sex can leave them vulnerable to STDs.) It’s important for you to help them develop a clear understanding of what sex is and what kinds of behaviors may require safer sex materials and birth control.
Some people are dismayed that schools are or are not teaching sexual health. Some people are upset over the content of what the schools may be teaching. Personally I feel like it would be great f the school could find a curriculum that suited everyone, but realistically I don’t think that is possible. Every family has their own culture, religion, ethics and moral standards. Ultimately it’s always up to you to teach the children in your family.
I highly recommend having an age appropriate sexuality book on your books shelves at home or simply give the books to your kids.
Deal with It! A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain and Life as a gURL is awesome. It’s a cute, hip, age appropriate book that is inclusive of emotions, relationships, bliss, excitement, fears, anxiety, spirituality, anatomy and lots of other nitty gritty facts and details young people need to know but would never think to ask. Good stuff.

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