I love being a parent, but far out, it’s been hard work and still is, even though my children are older and me wiser (ha ha). Each child is different and goes through different stages and needs to know different things at different times, right? So at what age do you tell them about sex? One of my dear friends rang me up and was so excited she had had ‘THE TALK’ with her 8 year-old and proceeded to tell me about what she had said, as if it were over.
Talking and teaching about sexuality is a life-long conversation. There is not a certain age when you say “it’s time”, but it’s important that we have small continuous, truthful, conversations throughout their lives. Otherwise, if we don’t, the media, friends or technology most certainly will, and often this information is devoid of values, beliefs, and expectations. The earlier you start, definitely makes it easier to begin and continue conversations whatever they are - even though they can still be challenging. Remember, sexuality is not just talking about sexual intercourse, so your conversations may start off when a toddler talks about the right names for their genitals. If your child grows up knowing about things from the beginning, then not only will they feel freer and more comfortable when talking to you, and asking you questions, but it will probably make it much easier to continue the dialogue even through adolescence. It’s never too late of course, but sometimes if you have never talked about sex in your family it’s harder to start conversations. One of my daughters up until the age of 11 was really open, and the other one very private up to the age of 17, and my son is a bit of both. Yes, they are all very different, however, my children have always known that they can chat to me without judgement or fear even if I don’t agree with them or don’t know the answers. If I had not started the conversation early, it would have been a whole lot harder.
So, is there a certain time to start? Yes … it’s today!