But our kids don't get that much useful information from all this talk.
We want our kids to have healthy and rewarding lives. Teaching them about sex is an important aspect of helping them live a healthy life. But for many of us its hard to talk about sex - especially with our own children.
At the CHSC, we have many resources and workshops that can help you feel more comfortable with talking to your kids about sex. And in the meantime, here are a few tips:
1. Start early. Its best to begin as soon as they're born. Start with basic knowledge such as learning the proper names of their body parts. Knowing their body and being comfortable talking about their body is an important first step.
2. All babies anc children explore their bodies. This is a natural and normal part of development. If we yell at them or slap their hands, they'll do it anyway - but they'll feel guilty about it. And they may learn to not trust us later in life when they're looking for guidance about other things.
3. When your 3-year-old asks "Where do babies come from?", you can keep your answers simple for now. You could say something like "Babies grow in a special place inside the mother." As the years, pass, you can add other details.
4. Kids aged 5 - 7 may be shy about asking questions, but they likely still have them! Find opportunities to ask them questions - maybe its asking them what they think about something you see on TV, or talking about a family friend who is pregnant. Have books on hand that you can read together to help you talk about sex.
5. Most preteens aged 8 - 12 are ready to know about sex and reproduction. They need to know about the signs of puberty and the changes that will happen to their bodies as they grow up. And they need to know how to keep themselves healthy and safe. Keep the conversations going - find moments to spend time alone with them and talk. Get books and pamphlets that you can read together, or that they can read on their own and then talk with you after.
6. Teens aged 13 - 18 need to learn how to say "no" and to understand what "safer sex" is. They need to know how to have relationships with other people without getting hurt, or without hurting other people. You could ask questions such as "Are you being pressured to have sex?", "Do you know how to protect yourself from pregnancy and infections?", "How will you tell them what your limits are?".
For more help with talking to your kids about sex, give us a call at 403-283-5580 or visit us online at http://www.calgarysexualhealth.ca/what_do_i_say.html.
And for a light-hearted look at having "The Talk", check out this hilarious video of Julia Sweeney describing one such experience with her 8 year old daughter.