let's talk about sex...
Talking about the 'birds and the bees' with your kids can sometimes be an awkward thing to do
How did you learn about the birds and bees when you were younger? The following article was kindly supplied by parenting.co.uk
The Lucky Ones
If you were lucky maybe your parents or carers sat you down at an early age and gave you ‘The Talk?’ and told you if you have any more questions then just ask no matter how explicit. As a result you are probably already tackling these questions with your children with ease and confidence.
Majority of us?
The subject was avoided like the plague or told you they had to find out for themselves therefore that’s what you should do! Or you relied on school to teach you about it?
Ok so you received some basic sexual education at school but nothing to do with emotions and more intimate details.
What happens? You end up filling the gaps by various means: TV, your older siblings (who were often lying!!) in the playground, drawings in the toilet cubicles, mates, magazines? You therefore picked up some information probably a lot of it untrue. You had no-one to ask any further questions to and as a result you were confused?
Did you find puberty difficult? Do you wish you were a bit more prepared? Did you find the whole subject about sex seedy and dirty and therefore end up being even more curious and doing things behind your parents back? Did you find yourself in situations that you were not able to cope with emotionally? Did this lead to confusion, being mis-understood and no-one to turn to?
We all have our own stories.
So how can you avoid history repeating itself? How can you create an environment where your children feel comfortable enough to discuss sex with you and in turn you feel comfortable and confident to answer their questions.
At www.parenting.co.uk we recommend a fantastic book called ‘Speakeasy: talking with your children about growing up' from a Charity called FPA (The Family Planning Association)
Here are a few tips taken directly from the book to get you started:
- If you don’t tell them someone else will. If children don’t learn about sex and relationships from you, they’ll certainly pick up the messages from their friends, TV or magazines. These messages may be inaccurate, misleading and confusing. By talking with your children you can help them make sense of this information, put them right, and make sure they haven’t got some strange, wrong or risky ideas.
- Talk when you are doing something else, such as washing up. This makes it an everyday topic and not a special subject. Also, if you get embarrassed, you might find it easier to talk if you’re busy doing something else.
- Start early. You will find it much less embarrassing if you start talking about sex and relationships when your child is very young as young children don’t need very detailed information and this is a good way to start. Answer questions simply and naturally, as if you were talking about ice-cream or cars. You don’t have to say much. Most children are happiest learning in small steps. For example, if you child ask ‘How does a baby get in mummy’s tummy’ you could say ‘Daddy puts a seed in there and it begins to grow”
- Finding the right words. Many parents feel more comfortable using informal terms for genitals with their young children. As well as words such as ‘willy’ or ‘minnie’ it’s good to introduce the terms penis and vagina gradually so that children become more comfortable with these words. If you are not used to saying these words, try saying them out loud to yourself so it won’t feel strange when you teach them to your child.
- Avoid gender stereotyping: when it comes to sex and relationships, try not to think in terms of ‘what girls need to know’ and ‘what boys need to know’. You can tell boys and girls exactly the same information – there is no reason for children not to know what happens to boys and girls. This knowledge will mean there is no mystery or confusion surrounding growing up, sex and relationships. Your child will know the facts from you, and will be less likely to believe any rumours or half-truths they hear in the playground.Try not to make assumptions about what your child is going through because of their gender. Remember that boys as well as girls might be concerned about body shape: girls as well as boys might masturbate: boys and girls need to know about periods and how pregnancy occurs. By making it clear that whatever your child going through is normal, you can help them to feel supported and to avoid feelings of isolation.
- Talking with your son/daughter if you are their mother/father. Some fathers find the thought of talking with their daughters about sex and relationships particularly embarrassing, and likewise some mothers feel the same about talking with their sons. While it can be tempting to respond to your child’s questions by saying ‘Ask your father/mother’ you won’t be helping your child or yourself to communicate naturally about sex and relationships and they may be reluctant to come to you for support and advice
in the future.
You can purchase the book from their website http://www.fpa.org.uk/