This post on How to Talk To Your Kids About Sex is part of a campaign with AMAZE and Women Online. All opinions are my own. Images from Giphy are used to tell the story without fully embarrassing my kids.
At some point in every parent’s journey, you’ll end up having to talk about sex with your kids. Well, unless you opt to avoid the discussion altogether and hope they just pick it up from animal videos and other kids.
For many of us, this talk is not a comfortable one. Or, should I say comfortable series of talks.
Looking back, I wish things had been a bit different when I was a child as well as how I handled things with my eldest son.
How to Talk To Your Kids About Sex: Childhood Memories
As a child, I learned a bit about the female reproductive cycle when I developed early. Like training bra by 3rd grade early. Monthy cycles hit by the time I turned 10. Yep, I was an EARLY bloomer.
The talk with my mom was more about the changes in my body and not so much beyond that. In junior high, we had the sex ed classes at school with the priest and principal taking the boys into a different room while a few of the female teachers led the girls. NOT a very comfortable topic, but something many of us already had heard whispered away from adults.
I remember going on a retreat in the summer through the high school and being amazed at one of the mom’s openly talking about how she handles things in her house. That when her daughters hit puberty they talked about pregnancy, how it happens, and how to avoid it (including birth control.) Bringing this up at home elicited a response from my dad that if any of us came asking to visit the OB/GYN where birth control might be prescribed, that he’d lock us in a closet until we were an adult.
I know that was his way of trying to be protective. And, given my own uncomfortable times talking about these things with my boys, I get it. No kid really wants to have super frank talks with their parents about sex.
How to Talk To Your Kids About Sex: My Initial Failings
Flash forward to my own time as a parent…
I can’t tell you the exact date, just that it was springtime in 2004. I had three boys at the time (a 1-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 7-year-old.) I’m driving down the road between Kent and Stow to do some shopping at the stores when my eldest son blurts out: “Mom, I know that you and dad had sex three times because you have three boys.”
Well, alrighty then…guess it was time to address a few things.
Now, the boys weren’t living under a rock. Their dad loves nature shows and they’d watched quite a few. Some of those showed animals reproducing. And, when my third son was born, we had lots of talks about how babies come OUT of their mama’s belly and even watched a video of a woman giving birth at home. We were planning a homebirth and the older boys wanted to be there to welcome their new sibling.
All that to say, they had some terminology and an idea of movement. But, when my eldest shocked me with those words in the minivan, I realized he was ready to talk about the HOW behind babies being made. And, I felt completely unprepared.
For the next few months, he’s prod with some questions and give me some theories.
I wasn’t comfortable talking to him about the details and my husband wasn’t either. (He grew up around animals and figured kids just learned via observation.) Some of his theories were interesting and involved belly buttons and mouths. Instead of being straight, I dragged it out.
Talk To Your Kids About Sex: The Big Reveal & Recovery
Finally, we were visiting my family in Louisiana that summer. He went to his cousin’s house to play for a bit. Then I get a call from my sister saying “Gee, thanks for the unexpected sex ed for my kids!”
Why? Because he was talking theories with his cousin (a year younger) who then went to his step-dad for the low down. My brother-in-law is “matter of fact” about things. So, he calmly told the boys just how men and women fit together to make a baby.
The boys were grossed out. And my niece, who is a few years younger, got her sex ed a lot earlier than my sister thought would happen as she was listening in.
Since then, I try to be more open with the boys. I did have talks with the older boys when they went off for a month to a boarding school program in Alaska. Some of the high school girls from the villages can be quite forward with boys they saw as a possible meal ticket out of the village. Honestly, I think my boys were more uncomfortable with those talks than I was.
How to Talk To Your Kids About Sex: AMAZE Resources
Back in September of 2016, AMAZE launched as a resource for parents that can empower them to be the primary educators of their children when it comes to sexual education. Their sex ed videos for 10 to 14-year-olds seek to be accurate and inclusive.
Their short animated films cover both the basics and some of the more complicated aspects of sex ed. This includes gender expression, sexual orientation, gender identity, and puberty.
As a parent, I always recommend you view things ahead of your kids so you are prepared to talk with them about it. Or, you can decide which topics they are ready to address or how to approach them given your personal beliefs and values.
New on the platform is the “AMAZE Parent Playlist“, a series of videos for the parents to help them start talking about sexuality with kids from age 4 to 9. There is a total of 10 videos in the playlist. These cover topics such as “Where Do Babies Come From” to “Is Playing Doctor OK?”
AMAZE Parent Playlist videos are designed specifically to train parents on how best to talk with your kids about sex, healthy relationships, and growing up.
One of the videos that jumped out at me and I want to highlight is “How Can I Teach My Values?” I know that we have certain values that we want to pass down to our boys. And, teaching them young is important. As you can’t control what they may encounter in the world, I far prefer to teach through words and actions what we value. This applies not just to sexual behavior, but how we treat people who are different from us.
That’s part of the beauty of this new series for parents. The AMAZE Parent Playlist serves as an icebreaker for parents to see they are the primary educators of their kids. No one is telling you exactly how to do this. Rather, you are the BEST person to do it and incorporate your family’s values during the process. And, that sometimes the question your child is asking is not the one you think you hear.
What Can you do next?
Does the idea of sex ed make you ready to run for the hills at times?
How to Talk To Your Kids About Sex: what approaches have you used successfully?