I get it. Gosh, do I get it. My two oldest babies are now 9 and 7.
And they are still babies in my mind. How can I talk about sex with my babies? Weren’t they just learning to walk yesterday? How is this happening? Will someone send me a paper bag?
AH! Deep breaths.
We’ve asked our fantastic Her View team to come up with a few ways to get this discussion rolling. Here’s their advice.
- Don’t do it all at once. Spread it out over time. Take cues from your kids. If they seem embarrassed, don’t push it. Sometimes it’s good to have these conversations in the car or at night in their bedroom so they don’t have to have direct eye contact. Starting with a book is a great idea, and then go over it.
- Have it before they are curious! We had to have the talk in 3rd grade…wasn’t weird. Now as an 8th grader he knows he can talk to us.
- We used a program called Passport to Purity. Took the kids on a one-on-one getaway, boys with the hubs and me with daughter. It was a good workbook and we expanded a lot in the tough areas. Going away and “doing something fun” made the “talk” less awkward because it was like talking while doing kind of thing. Hubs did a campout and I did a girlie spa day. All I know is these kids are exposed to all things sex way too young. My husband and I were leaders in life teen ministry for years and I had so many jaw dropping moments where I could not believe what these kids had witnessed, heard or experienced going back to elementary!
- You really just have to take a deep breath and slowly start introducing concepts to your kids. Start talking about anything – at a young age! Let them know they can talk to you.
- Catch them at the age before they start hearing stuff at school. You would be shocked what they pick up from friends. I’ve had to google some things. I have sons, and I’m trying to raise them to be men not “guys” so my conversations always includes respect for women’s bodies.
- I’ve been talking to my 8-year-old in doses. I’ve told her what she seems comfortable handling but told her to ask me ANYTHING. I also tell her that it’s a conversation we’ll continue to have as she grows up. And (easier said than done) try not to seem embarrassed or uneasy when you talk to them!
- So I’ve never had the talk with my kids but here is what my dad did. He actually took me out of town for a weekend and had an entire weekend planned around it. We drove to Chicago and listened to tapes along the way. We would have discussions after listening to the tapes, etc. Once in Chicago we went and did a lot of fun things – museums, out to eat, etc. But continued our conversation along the way. He gave me my first “adult” Bible with my name inscribed in it along with highlighted scripture that he prayed over my life. He took me out for a super fancy dinner, showing me how a woman should be treated and then presented me with a purity ring. It was honestly the most special moment/weekend with my dad and I’m so thankful for it. I was in the 5th grade (so probably age 10) when we did this.
- We love this sermon that gives God’s perspective on purity.
- I’m not in the season of talking about sex itself (our oldest just turned 4), but one thing my husband and I have been on the same page with is calling things (body parts and actions) by exactly how and what they are. As a police officer and now as a social worker he has seen far too many instances where kiddos have been sexually abused but only know to reference certain areas or actions by nicknames or alternative phrases.
- Here’s a great reference guide as well! The BIRDS and the BEES
- We had ‘the talk’ when two of our daughters were in third grade. One came home with questions which prompted our discussion – the other we got before her friends at school started talking. We made it a night of fun. My husband and I took them out just us with each individually. It was not as awful as I expected. We were honest, and told them enough to let them know what sex is, and the beauty of it – we wanted them to know what God says about it and his design before their friends started teaching them a ‘worldy’ view of it.
- There should be no “talk”. Body identification starts early, 1-2 years old. Using the technical names of private parts – that makes it normal and not weird. They naturally ask questions – just answer them. When my oldest was 4, he asked about how babies were made. I told him. Then when I had another baby, they wanted to know how it came out. I told them. It happens over years and years, naturally in conversation. It’s not weird and they can learn from you instead of other kids or tv. It doesn’t have to be embarrassing!
- We make sure they have all the facts about not only the changes but also about sex and include a biblical perspective on the whole thing at that time. We stress that they know they can continue to talk to us. My oldest daughter came along with my second daughter when it was her turn and that was so cool because it opened the lines of communication between the two of them (the younger one wanted her there so that was key). We also made sure that when we came home my husband checked in to let him know he was a part of things. We try to break down any barriers that might be there and make it something they can talk to us about in any way at anytime. Now that some are teenagers (and dating!) I initiate the topic periodically and plow through their embarrassment because the stakes are high here. It is a whole thing!
- A friend of mine told me she swaps a journal with her daughter. She’ll write whatever she wants in it, then puts it under her daughter’s pillow, then her daughter will do the same, at whatever pace they want and about any topic they want.
- Obviously, teaching proper names for body parts from the get go. I also believe if they are ready to ask they are ready to know. Meaning that there is an appropriate, honest response for every question. For example, my four-year-old knows that babies come out of vaginas or sometimes the abdomen. He doesn’t yet know how babies get inside you in the first place. But when he does ask, I will tell him. I’m trying to raise sex positive kids. The other big thing, especially for boy moms, is teaching consent early and often. I have a very handsy child, and I am constantly telling him to wait and ask before giving a hug or grabbing someone’s hand. I also never force him to hug or kiss anyone.
- The initial sex talk came the same day as the puberty talk. Probably in 3rd grade. It was awkward, but my mom explained it in a way that the way our bodies were created to change was directly correlated to how sex was designed to be and what it was for: for pleasure AND to make new life! When she told me that, it didn’t make it as awkward. There was a lot of freedom in her telling me that it was designed to be a good thing at the right time and that it was OK to ask questions about it.
- The hubs and I created a really safe space with our kids to talk about “anything” in the tween/teen years with ‘no consequence conversations.’ As a result of that, all of them share things I never thought I’d hear but am so grateful for their honesty and trust in us. Even my boys talk to me about “boy things” which seems crazy that they feel so open, but they do. I think it’s important to have both perspectives on this sex issue from the beginning.
- I bought the American Girl books (and this book for boys) and sat down with my kids one at a time when they were 9. I had answered some questions about stuff ongoing, but I told them we were going to read the book and then I would answer some questions. After they understood the basic anatomy, I talked to them about how babies were made in the broadest sense, but most importantly is to focus on how you are there for them for any and all questions. I told them that they would start hearing more and more about these topics, but friends their age were not accurate sources of information, and then I shared a personal anecdote about how one of my friends told me you could get pregnant when you let a boy put his tongue in your mouth and that terrified me. I told them I didn’t want them to be scared. I wanted them to be knowledgable. And that sort of opened the door to a million other conversations we’ve had along the way. Our school district does some “health” classes and “talks” and I wanted my kids to be prepared going in. Now I use any and everything as a catalyst to talk about it. Movies or pictures in magazines or songs on the radio. My number one goal is for them to be empowered with knowledge and know how to get out of sticky situations.
- DON’T HAVE “THE TALK!” Have thousands of “talks” starting when they are toddlers. Start with conversations about boundaries and privacy when they are potty-training and move from there. If they ask a question, answer it honestly and shamelessly. When you do it this way, there’s never a time they are shocked to learn how bodies and sex work. They just always know as much as they need to know for the age they are.
- We start with talking about the changes their bodies go through and make the conversation age appropriate as they get older. They know they shouldn’t have sex before marriage and we talk to them about boyfriend/girlfriend pressure. We make a point to talk about why God created sex but honestly don’t go into details about how sex happens until they get to 7/8 th grade. So the talk happens over their lifetime we just make it age appropriate along the way.
- Why “The Sex Talk” Doesn’t Work
- 7 Things I Will Teach My Boys About Sex
- To The Teenager Who Is Thinking About Having Sex
- Sex Education Resource Round-Up
- The Sex Talk You Absolutely Have To Have With Your Kids
Here’s what we know – you got this. 100%! You can do this. Just start talking.