Leandie Buys Realtionship Therapist & Clinical Sexologist

When to have the talk with your child

Every parent struggles to identify the best time to have the ‘birds and the bees’ talk with their child…..

  • Should we wait for him/her to ask about sex?
  • Should we wait for him/her to hit puberty?
  • Should it be something that we talk about at all?

Lifelong learning

According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. “Sexuality education is a lifelong process of acquiring information and forming attitudes, beliefs, and values about identity, relationships, and intimacy. It encompasses sexual development, reproductive health, interpersonal relationships, affection, intimacy, body image, and gender roles.”

But how do you approach the subject? How do you turn something that is so ‘taboo’ into a topic that your children feel free to talk to you about?

Communication is key

The answer is communication – and lots of it. There is no such thing as ‘the talk’. It should be an on-going dialogue between you and your child from an early age. In my opinion, children need to be taught about sex from the day they go to school – otherwise they will be educated on the subject by their peers.

Milestones

Age five is a good milestone to gauge your child’s relationship and sexual education. At this age your child should know that people’s bodies are different. They have different sizes, colours and shapes and that men’s and women’s bodies are also different.

Your child should know at this point that a baby is made by a man and a woman. You don’t have to go into great detail here, but the child needs to know that because babies can be one of the consequences of sex, it should only be between two people who really care about each other.

It is here that you can emphasise how much you, as a parent care about your child.

Sex and relationships should never be embarrassing

Your child should never feel embarrassed to talk about sexual issues or relationship issues with trusted adults. You and your partner are the benchmark by which your children will evaluate all other relationships.

If you and your partner have an argument it is extremely important that you explain to your child that you still love each other, and that in a mature relationship people can argue, but they can also make up and be friends again.

Your child must also know about “good” and “bad” touches and how to distinguish between them.