Starting the Sex Talks at Any Age
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by Amy Lang of BirdsAndBeesAndKids.com.
It’s time to get the birds and bees (aka. sex) talks started! Here are some tips for starting the conversations with kids of just about any age.
But first, some very general guidelines:
First rule – Get a book! Find a list here Birds + Bee + Kids
Second rule – Read it yourself first! You don’t want to be surprised by the content.
Third rule – Relax! The calmer, more centered and relaxed you are the better.
Preschooler Sex Talks (they are the easiest!)
Get a book, toss it in with the regular reading and start in. How hard is that?
Books for 2 – 5 Year Olds
It’s Not the Stork! by Robie H. Harris
What Makes a Baby by Cory Silverberg
Say: “I got this really fun book all about bodies and how babies are made! Let’s read it.” And then read it. Allllll of it. Even the part where the penis (gasp!) goes in the vagina (gasp!).
They won’t bat an eyelash when they learn about intercourse – it’s just information to them. They don’t know there is anything bad, shameful or embarrassing about sex. Kids learn this from us!
Remind them that sex isn’t for kids and it’s for later in life. Also tell them it isn’t their job to tell other kids about how babies are made, it’s the kid’s parents’ job.
School Age Sex Talk (not quite as easy as preschoolers, sadly)
Get a book. If they are 5 – 8 years old, you can go the preschooler route. 9 – 12 use the tactic and script below. They need a separate puberty-only book too. Give them the same line about filling in their friends – not their job.
Books for 6 – 11 Year Olds
It’s So Amazing! by Robie H. Harris
Say: “Hey! I’m thinking you are old enough now and ready for us to start talking about sex and all that. Do you know what “sex” means? I’m sure you’ve heard that word before.”
“I got this great book all about sex, baby making and bodies. If you want, we can look at it together, or you can read it on your own.”
“It’s totally normal to feel a little uncomfortable talking about this – I’m a little uncomfortable. But it’s really important for you to have this information because I want you to make great decisions when this is part of your life.”
Teenager Sex Talks (they are the hardest!)
Get a book (do you see a theme here?). Make sure it’s comprehensive, which means it talks about sex, birth control, STI’s, puberty, relationships, everything. Don’t expect to be greeted with open arms about this, BTW.
Books for 12+ Year Olds
Sex, Puberty, and All That Stuff by Jacqui Bailey
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris
Changing Bodies, Changing Lives
Say: “I think I totally blew it and I’m sorry about that. I should have started talking to you about sex and relationships much sooner, so this might seem a little weird to you that I’m doing it now.”
“I got you this great book about sex – it covers everything – and I’d love it if you’d spend some time reading it. I read it and thought it would have been super helpful to me when I was your age.”
“I get that this is uncomfortable – but I want you to make great decisions, so it’s important that we try to talk to each other about this. I don’t have all the answers, but we can find them. And we’ll both just have to deal with being uncomfortable.”
There you have it! Simple ways to get the conversations started at any age. Remember, it’s worth being uncomfortable now so they have a great future!
Bio: A three time Mom’s Choice Award® winner for her book, journal and DVD, Amy Lang, MA created the modern mom’s birds and bees talk. She teaches in the Seattle area and nationally. She offers lectures and consultations for parents, teachers and childcare providers. Visit BirdsAndBeesAndKids.com for video tips, book suggestions and to sign up for her newsletter. Find Amy on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.
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Was surprised by how early these books start. I have a 9, 6 & 3 year old. I guess I better get on it. I had the talk when I was 12 by a friend that had just had sex with a guy 6 years older than her….. Believe me, it’s best to do it at home.
You have to be pretty twisted to read these books to small children!! This topic shouldn’t be on their minds and they are being stripped of their innocence!!!
Equating learning about one’s body with a loss of innocence is a social construct that is harmful to the mental and physical health of children and teenagers. Knowledge of anatomy and physiology is not harmful to children as long as they are taught about it in honest, gentle, and respectful ways.
I think some people will be really surprised that you’re suggesting such a young age to begin with, but I couldn’t agree more. The sooner this (and drugs) becomes an easy subject for conversation the more likely they are to trust you with the complicated questions when they arise (instead of their peers).
Kids respond well to openness and honesty about all topics and at all times.