man in car radio

How to turn ‘playing the car radio’ into a teachable moment

Do you ever play the car radio, when ferrying your kids from one point to another?

If your kids are younger, then there’s a very good chance that you’re still listening to kid’s music (The Wiggles was a favourite with my kids).

But if they’re older (or you accidentally threw away the kid’s music), then you may be lucky enough to be able to listen to music that you like!

Like your favourite radio station! Which happens to play great music!

Unless you happen to be driving at peak hour where it is more talking than music. And often the conversation is about adult topics… like sex!

When this happens, your first instinct will most likely be to change radio stations very quickly. Before your child asks you a question that you may not be ready to answer!

But I want to challenge you to not do this.

Instead, I’d like you to turn this everyday opportunity into a teachable moment. (You can read this article to learn more about what a teachable moment is.)

And to keep on listening and to talk with your child (who is also listening) about what you both heard.

We live in a highly sexualised world where our kids are constantly being bombarded with mixed messages about sex. The best way to tackle this is to use them to your own advantage. When we talk to our kids about the mixed messages they are receiving, we are helping them to understand them. Plus we are providing them with an alternative point of view.

So watch the video below to learn how you can turn this opportunity into a teachable moment!

Read the transcription

You hop in the car, the kids are in the backseat, and you turn on the radio. The first thing that you hear on the radio is the DJ talking about sex. So, how can you turn that into a teachable moment? Let’s find out.

Hi, I’m Cath Hakanson from Sex Ed Rescue. This channel is all about giving you the tools, the ideas, and the resources to help you comfortably talk about sex with your child. This week’s teachable moment is how to turn the sexual things you hear on the car radio into an opportunity to talk about sex.
[00:00:47] Now, I never used to listen to commercial radio because there were always sexual things popping up. I was like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to talk about this stuff with my kids’, so I used to turn it off. My kids are now nine and twelve and I turn the commercial radio on a lot more because it provides you with so many opportunities to talk about sex. About a month ago, I hopped in the car with my nine-year-old son to go to soccer. I turned the radio on and the first thing the DJ said was ‘…and this week’s sex tip is…’ So, I had a couple of choices. I could turn it off or I could keep it turned on and talk to my son about it.

As a parent, you’ve always got that choice. You can quickly change the station, stop listening, or you can turn it into an opportunity to talk about sex. You might say, ‘So what do you think that means,’ ‘Do you know anything about oral sex,’ ‘Do your friends talk about that,’ or you can go ‘I don’t know if I agree with that, I actually think that…’. You might even talk about the fact that you might hear people in real life talking about sex. That some people talk about sex in a silly way; some people talk about sex like it’s a rude thing, or it’s something that you might get in trouble for; some people talk about sex in a negative way as if it’s something dirty and that you should be ashamed about it.

So listening to people talk about sex on the radio isn’t necessarily the end of the world because you can turn it into a teachable moment. I like to think of all these sexualised messages that we hear in the world as opportunities for me to talk to my kids, because they’re banging on your door saying, ‘talk about me, talk about me!’ There’s just so many opportunities. So, commercial radio, one where the DJs get paid tons of money and usually work in a male-female pairing, is just a fantastic opportunity to talk about lots of different stuff.

So, what do you do with your kids? Do you think that’s something that you should look at? The good thing about turning the radio on is that it’s a conversation you can plan. It’s not as if you happen to come across it. But you can deliberately turn the radio on knowing it’s going to give you an opportunity to turn something sexual into an educational, positive message.

So, think about that as a strategy that you could use with your kids. Okay, I hope that helps. Wow! Short video for me.

Cheers, have a good one.

About the Author Cath Hakanson

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.

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