Parents agree the open communication with their kids is essential in good development. How comfortable are you when the topic is sexual? Most of us weren’t taught anything about sex from our parents. We relied on our friends and television. Do you want your kids to learn about sex from someone else? Keeping the lines of communication open is important and the dialogue continues throughout their childhood.

When I ask parents in therapy, “Have you talked to your son or daughter about sex?” They look at me confused replying, “Do you think its time?” or “How do I begin?” “What should I say?” It seems to be so uncomfortable many choose to ignore it. If your feeling awkward discussing it with your child you can relieve this fear by educating yourself, and talking to trusted friends, doctors. Often the sex talk comes from the mom. Choose the parent who is most comfortable and non-judgmental to have this sex talk. I advise parents to talk about sex at every age, giving more details each year. Mentioning your own discomfort in discussing this topic may help ease things along, and keep a sense of humor.

As toddlers, kids ask simple questions and are satisfied with one or two word answers. Conversations with 4-6 years olds may be about where babies come from.

A simple answer is, from mommy’s vagina. They respond, “Ok”, and walk away. No need to go deeper, at this point in time. Conversations with 8-10 years olds may be about bodily changes and menstruation. By the time a child reaches ten years of age, they want more information about sex and their physical development. This is the time a parent has the mechanical conversation with their son or daughter. Each child matures at there own rate; so let them ask what they want to know. Often they ask, “What is sex?”

Start out with the biological differences between boys and girls. Get pictures of both male and female bodies, with private parts highlighted to show and tell. Go into more detail based on the gender of your child. As you show them the human body mention that certain areas have lots of nerve ending and fell good to the touch and that its normal to touch those areas. If you want to raise a child who has a healthy sexuality and feels good about their bodies, they need permission for what is normal and natural. I was told masturbation was a sin and sex was bad. These messages can take years of work to overcome. Boys start feeling their penis at 4 years old. It’s part of being human. You must be comfortable with your own sexuality to present a healthy approach to your children.

Then proceed to tell your child about the specifics of creating a baby. Use your human body pictures, again. You may state that the male places his penis in the female’s vagina and empties his sperm into her and it travels up her tubes to the egg and may create life. They may already know some of the creating life from health class and talks about menstruation. They may seem shocked, but will feel relief as well since the secrecy have been dispelled. Once you have covered, the basics ask them if they have any questions. Tell them to feel free to ask questions any time in the future.

As your child develops, and becomes a teenager deeper talks that are more emotional will occur. You are establishing a baseline value about sex and pleasure, as well as, teaching sex education. Be open to sharing your own values and concerns and listen to theirs. Conversations with teens may be about unwanted pregnancy and birth control. As they begin dating, they need to understand that sexual relationships involve emotions and responsibilities. Levels of intimacy deepen with time unlike what television may lead them to believe. Help them to take it slowly, one step at a time. Help them relate sex to love, intimacy, and caring for one self and ones partner.

Do you want your child influenced by their friends or the media? Our media is over stimulated with sex, and our children are not educated enough to sort through it. 12-year-old boys are bragging about getting oral sex from a classmate in the rest room. Girls are giving boys pleasure, but not getting anything in return. Girls are hoping the boy likes her for this and usually she is viewed as bad afterward. Kids are confused. The Internet is the tool of child sexual predators who rely on their innocence. Unsupervised computer use, leads our youth into explicate chat rooms, online dating and pornographic web sites. Each year about 1 millions teenage girls becomes pregnant in the United States, and over 3 million teens get a sexually transmitted disease.

Studies show that kids who feel free to talk with their parents about sex and sexuality issues tend to avoid high risk sexually behaviors. By developing ongoing and open communications about sex, its responsibilities, and choices, parents will help their children learn in a healthy and positive way. Is today the day you talk to your child about sex? I think so.

Author's Bio: 

Mary Kay Thill, MA, LCPC, CCSAC a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor, motivational speaker, spiritual guide, and writer with over 25 years of experience helping others grow. I have a background in individual, marital, and family psychotherapy. My work history includes outpatient treatment centers, community mental health, and I was the clinical director at a home for young women.