Ok yes, this can be an awkward conversation that most parents dread, BUT it is so needed! Sex Ed in schools just isn’t adequate and instead our kids are learning about sex from the internet and (gulp…porn!)
So while most of us would rather cut our toenails then talk to our kids about sex, it’s the right thing to do! And hopefully with these tips you’ll feel more empowered to start having these conversations.
So here we go!
10 tips Every Parent Should Know When Talking About Sex and Puberty
- Avoid using slang. It may mean something different to our kids than it does to us
- Avoid using secret language like “down there” and “private parts”. This can inadvertently send a negative message that talk about sex is taboo, wrong, or dirty.
- Use anatomically correct words like penis, vagina, sex, etc.
- Stay as positive as you can and try answer all questions in an open and honest way. This makes it more likely that your child will come to you with questions about sex in the future.
- Start simple and find out what they already know. Remember that kids may have lots of questions but don’t necessarily want all the details.
- Plan to have many small conversations (in the car is a great place) and rely on teachable moments (after a movie, hearing something on the radio, etc.)
- Expect that masturbation will happen and set some ground rules to ensure privacy
- Remember that sexuality is fluid and the labels our kids use may have different meanings for us and for them – best way to figure out what they mean is to ask
- Try your best to use inclusive language and recognize that many of the terms we grew up with may be considered derogatory now – let your kid guide you in this.
- Most kids learn about the dangers of sexting at school but it should be reiterated at home. Consider setting some ground rules for social media and taking phones away at night.
It may be overwhelming, but YOU GOT THIS! It all starts with a desire to help your kid and the motivation to be prepared.
Dr. Quimby is the co-founder of FemEd – a female health education platform that educates females of all ages about their bodies.
She is also a former professor at USC Keck school of Medicine where she led the OBGYN clerkship. She is passionate about education and empowering her patients and her students through knowledge and shared decision making.
She is currently a full time OBGYN at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles.
Dr. Quimby has received accolades for teaching and leadership. She has been named Top Doctor by both Pasadena and Los Angeles Magazines. She is a regular speaker throughout the community giving talks to both the public and other physicians. She has contributed to LAist, SELF, and several other news media sources.
Her special interests include: preconception counseling and improving sexual health
When she’s not educating the public on all things female health she can be found traveling with her 2 young daughters and ever supportive husband.