Uuhhhg… Yes, talking about sex with your offspring! A vast majority of parents really struggle with talking to their kids about sex. The biggest issue is that when you think it is time to bite the bullet and actually do it, it is possibly too late. If your kids are approaching or in the teenage years they have most likely already been exposed to so, so much more than you think.
The internet has opened up a whole new world of worry for parents, and the images and videos they may see are a big part of it. Pornographic images can be incredibly extreme, people taking photos and videos of themselves doing some really weird stuff. Some of the things my daughters showed me shocked even me!
I think it would be very naive to believe they have not or will not see this stuff at some point. The question is have you prepared them for it? I know you may be uncomfortable with it, but it is part of your job as a parent to educate your kids.
Don’t leave it up to the school, these days teachers are really worried about what they can and cannot say so often they say nothing at all. So your pre-teen will gather info from where ever they can… so the internet is where they will go, and they will talk to their friends. How comfortable are you with what they may be told from these sources?
It is quite scary when you think about it.
I believe they are never too young or too old to start those conversations. The most opportune time is when they are toddlers. You just need to find your words and give age appropriate answers.
However, if that time has come and gone for you, there is no time like the present. If your child/children have never asked you about anything sexual, it is likely they have a sense you are not comfortable talking about it. So as the parent it is up to you to start the talk. Perhaps you could open the door by asking if the kids at school talk about sex… or if they have seen anything on the net that they did not really understand… or have the school introduced any sex-ed to their class. Rather than asking them directly if they are sexually active.
The average age that teens are exploring and experimenting with sex is getting younger and younger. They often bounce off their peers and are encouraged to do things they are not ready for, and they don’t have any adults around to check in with. Our first experience with sex can affect us for many years, so a good first time is the best we can hope for.
As tough as it may be, make yourself the person your kids come to for information, clarification and guidance on sexuality. It creates stronger ties and they will appreciate it… really.
As a last resort use humour to introduce the topic, tell them you have been a slack parent and tried to avoid the topic, but you are curious about what he/she has seen online and what info is coming from their friends. Tell them it’s a long time since you were a teenager and you are wondering if all the myths and rumours have changed!
Be brave… just do it!