HOW TO TALK TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT SEX (2)
From a very early age, it is essential to have age-appropriate discussions with your child about sex. By the age of 9-10 years old, your child should have explored their body, have some basic knowledge about sexuality, and have developed safe boundaries for themselves. A lot of topics still need to be explored though as they get older.
Here are a few to discuss from children from 9 and up:
1. For children from 9 to 12. Puberty talk is the main topic for this age range. This type of discussion can be initiated by a good book on the subject. Your child can learn the technical aspects such as the differences between testosterone and estrogen, why and how their bodies undergo changes in hair, genitals, and voices. Kids should learn not only about their own bodies, but also about other bodies. Ongoing conversations are recommended as your child needs time to process any new piece of information.
Another aspect to consider is how to safely explore the digital space. Establish rules about talking to strangers online and sharing pictures online. Discuss also what to do if they come across something that makes them feel uncomfortable. Finally, without necessarily being explicit about pornography, explain to your child that some websites are about grown-ups doing grown-up things and that those websites are just for adults.
2. For children from 13 and up. If you have talked openly about sex and sexuality with your child, she is probably comfortable talking about the topic and asking questions.
One big topic is about having safe sex. It might seem daunting, but studies show that teens make better choices if they know the risks. So, discuss with your teen the meaning of making healthy and safe choices. Also, you should highlight different types of birth control and explain the basics of how they work.
Finally, as this age group has freedom online, chat periodically with your teen about internet safety and keep building on your established rules and values. What does it mean to be respectful on social media? Explain to your teen that sharing nude or sexually explicit photos of themselves or their peers is illegal in California, even if the people involved are consenting.
Ultimately, as a parent, your goal is to empower your child/teen so that she can evaluate risks and make healthy and safe decisions for herself.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.