Talking to Kids About Sex: An Awkward Mom’s Guide
I am the cool mom.
I know it, the Dudes know it, and most of their friends either know it or suspect it too.
By cool, I don’t mean that I like dress like a 16 year old and act like a 12 year old around my kids and their friends.
I only do that when I’m with MY friends!
I’d say that my title of “cool mom” comes from the fact that I stay up on pop culture (I like to know the people, music, and trends my kids are interested in), I don’t mind having my house crawling with kids (it’s not my idea of fun, but I like to have them here so I can keep an eye on them), and I talk to them, a lot.
About everything. Teachers, assignments, who likes who and why. I once listened to this girl go on and on and on for days about why one girl didn’t like her and then did and then didn’t because of a moose with tap shoes and a cigar or something. I don’t know. I wasn’t really listening, but she doesn’t know that. Because I was engaged; something most of the other parents she encounters never bother to do.
There is one thing that seems to break me out into a dang-did-you-steal-something sweat with a quickness and that, friends, is SEX.
Ugh, so awkward.
For me. For my son. For everyone.
But, as my oldest son approaches middle school I determined that it was just something that needed to be done.
Not alluded to, not hinted around, just flat out talked about. Like a couple of preteens, one of which is actually a grown up.
Talking About Sex With Kids: An Awkward Mom’s Guide
1. Make it ongoing. We have forever been really open about the bodies of the people in this house. We talk about how Mommy is different from Daddy and the Dudes. We talk about privacy and respect and awareness. We talk about hygiene and modesty (both of which my children lack entirely) and anything else they come up with. So, there are some things that made “The Talk” slightly easier for us, because we had a history of general openness. Kids are naturally curious about their bodies (and those of the opposite sex), it’s good to talk about those things in an age appropriate manner so that they know they can come to you when they have questions.
2. Get your facts straight. Sometimes, parents are still confused on the science behind reproduction. I kid you not, I’ve heard grown up people say the most ridiculous things about sex. No matter how much of a boss you think you are in the bedroom, there are names, facts, and statistics you may want to brush up on before you approach your kid to have a real life discussion about this stuff.
3. Practice your script. Know what you’re going to say before you go into it. If you seem knowledgeable and factual and focused, your kid is more likely to trust what you’re saying. Go in stumbling over words and sweating like a race horse and suspicions about you will arise. Meaning, your kid will not only question your authority in this matter, but also probably wonder how they made it here in the first place!
4. Go in together. But separate is okay too! The husband and I both wanted to have a real discussion with our son on this matter. I think doing so allows your child to gain both a male and female perspective as well as demonstrates to them that they have not one, but two people they can go to if they have questions. But, we didn’t want to do it together. We both felt weird about it and didn’t want him to feel ambushed or cornered. Plus, if he was gonna barf on someone I wanted it to be his dad, so I sent him in first.
5. Be prepared to listen. Kids will have a ton of questions. Whether you bust out this conversation when they’re 2 or 12, they are going to want to know more. So, be prepared to listen to the things they have concerns about, never dismiss them as silly or foolish, and make sure you keep it real; no sugar coating or masking the truth even if it is gag worthy and uncomfortable.
Need more guidance? Check out this sex handbook on Oprah.com.
How will you go about talking to your kids about sex? Are there any tips you would add to this list?
Image via Amanda Rodriquez