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Sex education at home - talking about sex or sexual matter with kids

Updated on July 19, 2016

Talking about sex or sexual matter with kids

Talking to your children about love, intimacy, and sex is an important aspect of parenting.

However, sex is a topic that parents find it difficult to discuss with their children and vice-verse, which makes exchange of information and communication difficult.

Parents can be more helpful by creating a congenial atmosphere to talk about sexual matters with their children. Parents should not avoid or postpone such discussion. Parents should rather supplement sex education of children at schools.

Sex, gender and sexuality are integral part of human being. In fact, sex is a basic instinct in all living beings.

There is always a desire for sex in most people- male as well as female. In today’s world, young people’s natural sexual instincts are overstimulated by exposure to countless sexual messages; they are exposed to so many things that portray sex appeal, and media is one huge influencing factor in stimulating sex drive in people. Many advertisements use sex to appeal to consumers.

Hence, the natural sexual curiosities of young people including children are brought out easily; they are exposed to sexual stimuli early and often.

How to start talking about sexual matters with your kids at home

Parents should be active in sex education at home. Talking with children about sex and sexuality will be uncomfortable at first, but it will be easier with the passage of time.

Many children have their own words for body parts, which could be used while taking with them in this matter.

There are a number of ways to initiate conversations about sex as a biological, psychological and social life force.

  • It may be discussed in a religious and moral framework at home.
  • It may also be discussed as opportunities come from a scene on TV or in a movie, an ad, or a book or an article, or
  • the appearance of visible physical / biological changes in your kids such as growth of breasts or facial hair on the child may also be a good occasion to talk about it.

As a parent, be open / honest, patient, listen to your child and respect his / her privacy.

Observe carefully the child’s cues about what s/he needs to know and discuss about it.

It should not be a single tell-all discussion. It should rather be a running dialogue between you and your kid.

Sex education should be age appropriate and begin early

By 5 or 6 years children learn that they are members of one sex or the other. They also learn other roles such as elder/ big brother, domestic helper etc. It is best to start talking with children about sexuality in early childhood — 5 or 6 years – when they become conscious of sexual identity.

Starting as early as kindergarten, kids may be taught about relationships and to respect others. Explain them the physical maturation process and its associated sexual arousal process.

Parents should respond to the needs and curiosity level of their individual child.

Depending on age and maturity, children have different levels of curiosity and understanding about sex. As children grow older, they will often ask for more details about sex. Children need to know the biological facts about sex.

They also need to understand that sexual relationships involve caring, concern and responsibility.

Sexuality includes a wide range of topics such as male and female bodies and how they work, human development, reproduction, types of relationships, what makes a relationship healthy or unhealthy, sexual behaviour and STDs.

Children should benefit from sex education at different stage / phase of their lives. As the children attain teen, they should be taught about abstinence and the consequences of sex. At high school when they become sexually active, they should be taught about contraceptives as well as venereal diseases and AIDS.

Around puberty there is increase interest in sexual matters. A new awareness of sexual feelings develops. Many adolescents lack adequate knowledge or have misconceptions about sex and sexuality. Concerns regarding masturbation, menstruation, contraception, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS are common. Some adolescents also struggle with conflicts around family, religious or cultural values.

One aspect that may be overlooked is dating. Your child needs to know rape and date rape, including how being intoxicated (drunk or high), or accepting rides or going to private places with strangers or acquaintances puts a person at risk. How choice of clothing and dress sends messages to others about your interest in sexual behavior.

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Importance of sex education at home

Talking about sex is important to help a child develop healthy attitudes toward sex and learn responsible sexual behaviour.

Openly discussing sex with your child will enable you to provide accurate information to your child. It is chance to communicate your values and attitudes about sex to your child.

Your child will be better informed to make decisions later on and to resist peer pressure. What they learn elsewhere might not be true. It might not even reflect the principles and values you want your children to possess.

Children and adolescents need input and guidance from parents to help them make healthy and appropriate decisions regarding their sexual behaviour as they could be confused and overstimulated by what they see and hear. Information about sex obtained by children from the Internet can often be inaccurate and/or inappropriate.

Open communication and accurate information from parents increases the chance that teens will more responsible and educated when it comes to sex.

You need your preteen or teen to understand the possible consequences of being sexually active such as unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and emotional consequences thereof.

By developing open, honest and ongoing communication about sex, parents can help kids learn about sex in a healthy and positive manner.

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    • d.william profile image

      d.william 4 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Great article. and great information. Too often, parents tend to ignore, or dismiss, their children's curiosity about sex out of their personal discomfort when talking about it, so they leave their children to learn about sex from outsiders who may be telling them something that is totally inappropriate.

      Teaching children about sex and sexual development should never be intimidating, or taught that it is a sin, for any reason. The religious outlook of sex is outdated and harmful if taught that anything concerning sex is a "sin", or somehow wrong.

      It is a natural and beautiful part of human life if it is shared by people (adults) who love each other.

      There are some excellent children's books available explaining sexual development, that include pictures of the anatomy (of course age appropriateness must be taken into consideration), and physiology of human life.

      It is important that children learn that their best choice is always to lean toward abstinence until marriage, or in a committed (adult) relationship.

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