Inside: Many parents are unsure about how to start explaining sex education to their kids. What do you talk about, and at what age?
Recently I was asked by a parent, about how to start explaining sex education to their kids, and not knowing where to start!
They are not alone, as most parents just don't know where to start!
So let's look at the different things you can talk to your child about, and when to start talking.
You’ll find more information about sex education in my Sex Education 101 page.
At some stage during our journey as a parent, we start thinking about sex education. Sex education isn’t one of those things that parents decide to start, just on the spur of the moment! We usually start thinking about it for a reason.
It might be because we find our child ‘playing doctor’ with the little kid from next door. Or because we have suddenly noticed bumps appearing on the chest of our 11 year old. Whatever the reason, it is usually because some behaviour or change in our kids has made us start thinking that we need to talk.
When our kids are born, they don’t come with an instruction manual. We work out what to do through trial and error but also based on the role models around us. The problem though, is that when it comes to our own sex education, most of us had poor role models i.e. parents who weren’t comfortable talking about sex. Which means that when it comes to talking to our own kids about sex, we often don’t know where to start.
Here you will find an outline of the different things about sex that kids eventually need to know about. The topics and ages are just a guide, and are based on what we know about child sexual development, and in keeping our kids healthy and safe in our world today.
As a parent you can:
As a parent you can:
As a parent you can:
As a parent you can:
Some kids are curious about sex and some aren’t. Both is normal. Once puberty starts, they will slowly start to think about sex as being something that they may someday want to do.
By starting conversations about sex with your child, you are letting them know that it is okay for them to come to you with any questions.
By now, your child will haev started puberty and will be interested in how their bodies will change, periods, wet dreams, erections, fertility, pregnancy (how it can be avoided) and safer sex.
They may also be wondering if their physical development is ‘normal’.
They'll want to know about the difference between sexual attraction and love and whether it is normal to be attracted or in love with someone of the same gender.
Some young people will either be sexually experimental or know friends who are. They will be interested to know what they should expect of a partner and how to talk to them. They will need more information on contraception, sexual health and how to access services.
They will want to know about different types of relationships and homophobia. They may want to know about how to cope with strong feelings and how to cope with the pressures to have sex.
They will also be interested in other influences on sexual decision making such as the law, different cultures and religious beliefs, pornography, the media and the effects of drugs and alcohol.
The huge benefit of talking to your kids from an early age is that you have empowered them with the knowledge to be able to make good decisions about sex. You will also have a relationship with them where they know that they can talk to you about anything – and I mean anything!
The information that you have given your child is important, but what really matters is that you keep on talking about it! At the end of the day, it is the relationship that really matters!
And remember, it is never too late to start talking!
My mission is to create resources that will help you to naturally talk to your kids about sex, all while respecting your personal values.
Which means that inside this website, you'll find lots of resources to help you with talking to your child about love, sex, relationships and growing up.
My Sex Education 101 page includes all of the information on sex education. You'll find lots of different blogposts to help with getting started, on a wide range of different topics.
You'll find videos about sex ed in my Sex Education Videos resource page that you can watch with your child or to learn more about sex education yourself.
You’ll also find an extensive range of sex education books for children, for kids of all ages. There's even some books in there for parents!
If you're looking for some ideas on how to talk to your child about bodies, How to Talk to Kids About Bodies, will help you to start naming the private body parts and to have shame-free conversations with them about bodies. It is filled with lots of different ideas on how to have natural converasations with your child about their body.
You'll also find some child friendly anatomically-correct cartoon illustrations of the genitals and internal reproductive organs that are appropriate for children from the age of 3 and up. Let's Look at Different Body Parts is a printable that will help take the awkward out of talking to your child about their body, so they grow up feeling educated, confident, and comfortable in their own skin.
If you need some help with explaining sexual intercourse to your child, then How to Talk to Kids About Sex, will help you explain sex to your child in a way they will understand. It breaks it down into simple steps that take the stress out of explaining!
If you're unsure about how to answer your child's questions about sex, then I have a number of different resources that will give you word-for-word answers that are age specific.
If you want a printed book to hold in your hands, then the The Sex Education Answer Book will give you age-specific answers to the most common questions kid's ask parents about sex. Which means you don't need to worry about finding a child-friendly explanation that your child understands.
If you want the answers to questions about a lot more than just sex, then Sex Ed Quickies is your best option. It has answers to 300+ questions that kids commonly ask parents, including how babies are made, sexual intercourse, body parts, puberty, relationships, pregnancy, birth, masturbation, sexual diversity, gender, pornography, STIs, contraception and much more.
I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.