The Sex Talk You Must Have With Your Children
Is your child growing up fast? Are you dreading ‘the talk’? It doesn’t have to be how you imagine it. You could teach your child so much, little by little through their formative years. Be smart about it. Here’s one way to do it.I’d like to state in the very beginning that there is no such thing as ‘the perfect age’ for a child to be told about ‘the birds and the bees’. Especially because some children are more curious than others, and will start asking questions before you’d expect them to. Don’t panic…that’s a good thing. You don’t want to overwhelm the child with one BIG talk. Child psychologists recommend having a series of small conversations instead.
I was at my cousin’s place for dinner recently and during the course of conversation, I happened to ask her 5-year-old daughter, “Tara, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
She cheerfully replied, “I don’t want to go to office. I want to be a mommy. But I’m not sure about that, because then I’ll have to poop babies”. That, according to me, was a perfect teachable moment. The key is to never miss out on such moments, since your child learns to talk.
- Tell them about their own body parts (penis and scrotum, or vulva and clitoris) when you teach them about inappropriate touches. That’s another very important conversation you must have. Start between the ages of 4 and 5, when they ask where they came from. An appropriate response would be, "When you were ready to be born, the uterus pushed you out through Mommy's vagina".
2. In a year or so, you would be able to explain things in a little more detail and say, “A tiny cell inside dad called the sperm, joins together with a tiny cell inside mom called the egg, to make you”. Explain what you think about sex and relationships. For instance: "Sex is one of the ways people show love for each other".
3. Ages 8 to 9 are the most crucial period, since by now your child has probably picked up some information from the media and her peers. A child this age can handle a basic explanation on just about any topic, including rape – "Remember when we talked about sex being part of a loving relationship? Rape is when someone forces another person to have sex, and that's wrong".
4. Now, to the main part. You've explained that when a mommy's egg and a daddy's sperm combine, a baby begins to grow. Now your 9-year-old asks, "How does the sperm get to the egg anyway?". How does one tackle this big bolt of lightning? That’s simple too. Your explanation doesn't have to be a big deal. You might start by saying, "Daddies have to be close enough to mommies so the sperm can come out of their bodies and get into the mommies’. The sperm comes out of the daddy's penis and goes right into the vagina, a special place in the mommy's body made for keeping the sperm safe and helping it get to the egg".
Do not make the mistake of choosing to avoid ‘the talk’ altogether just because you’re uncomfortable with it, because that is unfair to your child. Your child will be forced to seek answers from outside, and they wouldn’t be able to distinguish between a source giving them correct information and one giving them incorrect information. Plus, you’d rather have your child learn from you than anybody else!
So, that’s it. Believe me, it’s as simple as soup. Plan it well, rehearse your dialogues, and embrace all awkward questions from your little one – they only have you to look up to.