Sex education - Stay Connected! Now more than ever it is up to parents to stay connected with your child and young teen. Kids are full of questions about everything. Don't let sex be the topic they learn not to ask you – their parent - about.
Why not? Because if you don't do this job the media will do it for you. And the media does not love your child! Every day, the media designed 'wallpaper' of our society teaches your child about sex, body image and relationships – mostly in ways that are detrimental to your child's healthy self-image and physical wellbeing. You need to be a proactive and protective part of the conversation.
When is "the right time" to talk about sex? There is no right time, or right age. It's more a matter of responding in a natural way to the questions your children ask, from toddlerhood up. Look for those 'teachable moments' and make good use of them.
Embrace the Privilege! The one-off 'talk' is not sufficient! Children learn best about sexuality when:
Give enough information to satisfy their curiosity. If they want to know more they will ask. If children ask at inappropriate times, or if you don't know the answer, tell them you will get back to them – and always do so! Open up the line of communication early, before the issues get trickier and adolescent reticence sets in.
Share your values – Your children and adolescents need to hear what your values are about sex and relationships. This does not mean they will agree with you on all things! But bouncing their own opinions off a solid adult "wall" helps them refine their own developing value system and become independent thinkers.
'Best health' messages - Don't assume physical maturity equals emotional and intellectual maturity. Your young teen needs you to point out what is their safest option – saying no to sex at their stage – and why. This is a 'best health' message for this age group and paves the way for healthier, more fulfilling adult relationships.
Censor inappropriate media content. Find opportunities to discuss music lyrics, TV shows, fashions, the problem with internet pornography etc as they become older. Be informed and prepared to talk about the issues and teach them strategies to choose well and stay safe.
Looking for help?
'Conversations with Your Child - about sex, puberty and growing up – DVD produced by Open Doors. Use it just for your own information or as something to watch together.
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Wonder of Living Family Enrichment Program – presentations for your primary school (Melbourne based) on a range of issues from babies and birth to puberty and growing up. Presented by Open Doors
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Protect Young Minds - a website dedicated to helping parents talk to their children and teens about pornography
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