I’ll never forget when my 12 year old asked “What’s a blow job? If I had acted shocked or horrified my son may have thought that I was not a parent who he could talk to about anything, even though we were at the supermarket at the time and I nearly had heart failure. I proceeded to tell him that I would be very happy to chat about it in the car on our way home. (My heart was racing!!!)
As parents we are a role model to our children no matter what we do or have done. Parents are a kid’s life-long allies regardless of what’s going on for them. Although our children may not act like it, studies suggest that they WANT their parents to talk to them about sexuality. Our children watch our every move and they pay attention to our every word and attitude (as frustrating, funny and difficult as this is at times).
Here are some general suggestions (Part 3) about how to talk about challenging questions around sex education.
:) Talk about your own values, beliefs, faith and culture. Ultimately it is up your child to choose but they are watching your authenticity and integrity as they make decisions for themselves.
:) Be respectful even if you don't agree. Don’t just react or talk at them, ask them questions too. To tell you the truth, as a parent this one is hard especially when it comes to teenagers. You want what’s best for your children and often they learn from their mistakes.
:) Don’t leave it up to them to start the conversations, even when you feel awkward, surprised or upset.
:) Be patient and forgiving (forgive yourself too). Parenting is difficult. I have had to forgive myself many times for my comments and reactions.
:) Get support. Talk to your friends about their experience and advice and professionals too.
:) Get educated and get involved in your child’s world e.g. social media and the music they like, (this can give you great conversation material).
:) Last but not least, in our crazy busy world we need TIME, TIME and more TIME to spend with our children. From my experience this is when I connect and have important conversations. Try to make your home the place where they and their friends feel welcome.
So parents “Get your brave on!” - because now you know how.