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Q:

What are some important conversations I should have with my child about sex and relationships?

Hi everyone,

As a parent of a pre-teen, I am starting to think about having conversations with my child about sex and relationships. I know it's important to talk to my child about these topics to ensure they have accurate information and know how to make safe and healthy decisions as they grow up.

However, I am not sure where to start or what topics to cover. Would love to hear from other parents or experts on what are some important conversations I should have with my child about sex and relationships? And how can I approach these conversations in a way that is age-appropriate and effective?

Thank you in advance for your insights!

All Replies

elda.dietrich

Hi,

As someone who works with children and young adults, I can't emphasize enough the importance of talking about sex and relationships. Having open and honest communication with children about these topics can help them make informed decisions later in life and prevent them from engaging in risky behaviors.

One important conversation you should have with your child is about body safety. Teach them the importance of respecting their own bodies and those of others. Additionally, teach children the proper names for body parts, so if they ever need to speak with someone if they touch them inappropriately, they will be prepared with the language to articulate what happened.

Another essential conversation topic is the "expectations" of sex. Talk about the expectations of sex, such as what media portrays and the unrealistic expectations it often creates. Letting them know what is "normal" and distinguishing what is not is important.

Lastly, it's important to address what children will be exposed to on the internet. It's also important to talk about pornography, what it is and how it depicts sex. It's important to relay that pornography is just a fantasy and in reality, sex can be very different.

The bottom line is, parents and caregivers should start the conversation as early on as possible, approaching it in a manner that is honest and age-appropriate. The earlier parents begin these conversations, the better chance they have of building a supportive relationship where the child feels comfortable coming to them if they ever have any questions or concerns.

arlene92

Hi,

As a young adult, I can attest to the importance of having conversations about sex and relationships with parents or guardians. I grew up in a household where these topics were not discussed openly, and it took a toll on my development, attitudes and beliefs about sex and relationships.

One critical conversation that I didn't have with my caregivers was about consent. As an adult, I have since learned about the importance of consent and the responsibility each of us has to respect others' boundaries. I think parents should talk to their children about what is and is not okay, as well as how to communicate with potential partners and give or deny consent.

If you have a child who is LGBTQ+, it is crucial to start this conversation early, talk about acceptance and show that you are open to discussing any concerns that your child may have. It may take time and patience, but over time, this will go a long way to build a supporting relationship and make them feel comfortable.

And lastly, it's important to understand that having these conversations isn't a one-time thing. It's a process that requires open communication, positive reinforcement, and keeping an ongoing dialog with your child. It's possible that your child may have questions later on, even after initial discussions taking place, so it's important to provide them a platform where they can come and talk to you.

In short, having these conversations can be uncomfortable, but it is necessary to ensure that your child can form healthy perspectives and attitudes about intimacy and relationships.

anabelle.goyette

Hello,

As a therapist with experience counseling individuals and couples, I have seen firsthand the importance of having conversations about sex and relationships with children. It's essential to teach them about these topics as they grow and develop so that they can make informed decisions in their future relationships.

One conversation that I find crucial is about boundaries. It's essential to teach your child how to set boundaries and stand firm in their decisions while respecting others' boundaries. You should teach them that not everyone will agree with or respect their boundaries, but that it is important to stick to them.

Another essential conversation is about intimacy. You should teach your children that intimacy doesn't always mean sex and that establishing emotional intimacy is just as important as physical intimacy. This will help them understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships.

Lastly, it's essential to discuss the consequences of unsafe sex practices, such as sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. You should talk about the importance of regular testing, getting vaccinated for certain STIs, and using contraception. It's also important to ensure you teach them to be aware of the signs of an unhealthy relationship and know how to get out of it.

In conclusion, these conversations can't always be easy, but they are necessary for ensuring that our children have the tools and information they need to make informed decisions about their relationships and sexual health. Thank you.

mara72

Hello,

As a health educator, I often see students who are misinformed or lack information about sex and relationships. One thing that we constantly emphasize is that parents and caregivers should start these conversations early and often.

In my experience, it's important to frame discussions about sex as an aspect of overall health and wellness. For example, just as we talk about nutrition and physical exercise, it's important to discuss the importance of safe sex practices and being in healthy relationships.

Some important conversation topics to cover are:

1. Physiological changes: Explain to your child the physical changes that happen during puberty, such as the growth of body hair, menstruation, breast development, and voice changes.

2. Safe sex: Discuss the importance of using condoms during sex and other practical methods for contraception.

3. Consent: Explain what consent means and why it's important. Discuss the fact that consent is an ongoing process that always requires active communication and respect.

4. Healthy relationships: Teach your child about the importance of communication, mutual respect, and setting boundaries in a relationship. Parents should model healthy relationships for their child.

5. LGBTQ+ issues: Make sure to include discussion about the LGBTQ+ community and the unique challenges that they face.

The key is to approach these conversations with an open, non-judgmental attitude, and be prepared to answer any questions that may arise. Talking about sex and relationships isn't easy, but it's essential for healthy growth and development.

Thank you.

xjohnston

Hi there,

As a parent of two teenagers, I can definitely understand your concerns. One important conversation I had with my children was about consent. I explained to them that it is okay to say "no" to any sexual activity they are not comfortable with, and that it is equally important to respect the boundaries of others. This conversation goes a long way in preventing sexual assault or harassment.

Another important topic to discuss is safe sex. I talked to my children about the different types of contraception methods available and how each one works. I also made sure they understand the risks of unprotected sex and how it can result in unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections.

Lastly, I had a conversation with them about healthy relationships. I explained to them that a healthy relationship is one where both partners are equal, respect each other's boundaries and feelings, and communicate openly and honestly with each other. This conversation helps them understand what a good relationship looks like and helps them avoid toxic or abusive relationships.

I think the key is to approach these conversations in a non-judgmental and age-appropriate way. Be prepared to answer any questions they may have, and remain open to having ongoing conversations as they grow older and navigate through teenagehood.

Hope this helps!

gerlach.ismael

Hey,

As a public school teacher, I've seen a lot of students who have never had important conversations about sex and relationships with their parents. They come to school with inaccurate information, unrealistic ideas about sex, and little knowledge about safe sex practices.

In my experience, it's essential to have conversations about the human body, reproductive health, and sex education early and often. While it may be uncomfortable to talk about, it's crucial that your child understands their body and the changes it goes through during puberty. Be sure to discuss the different stages of puberty for boys and girls, so your child understands what to expect as their body changes.

Another critical conversation to have is about relationships. Talk to your child about respect, communication, and boundaries. Explain what healthy relationships look like and when to recognize red flags of unhealthy relationships. Also, make sure that they know that they can come to you if they ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable in a relationship.

When it comes to talking about sex, be factual, honest, and keep your language age-appropriate. It's important to discuss contraceptive methods, STIs and HIV/AIDS, and safe sex practices like using condoms.

Remember: having ongoing, open conversations about these topics is crucial. Don't shy away from answering tough questions or topics that make you uncomfortable. Be honest about your own experiences, and encourage your child to make informed decisions by equipping them with the knowledge they need to do so.

I hope this helps.

porter96

Hi,

As a young adult who was never properly educated about sex and relationships, I can say the importance of these conversations can't be overstated. Growing up in a conservative household, I was never taught about safe sex practices, relationships, or consent. I had to educate myself and learn from my experiences, which wasn't always easy.

From my perspective, it is important to have these conversations early and approach them with an open mind. As parents, you are the primary source of information to your child, and it's vital that you provide them with accurate and factual information. This means separating facts from myths, being clear about expectations, and speaking openly about the consequences of various behaviors.

Another essential discussion is about consent. It's crucial to explain what it means and why it is necessary to respect it. Discuss with your child how their behavior can affect others and teach them to be aware of signs of discomfort to ensure that they are not crossing any boundaries.

Finally, it's crucial to have an ongoing relationship with your child that encourages trust, communication, and openness. This means that they feel safe coming to you with any questions or concerns, even if they're uncomfortable. Building a healthy relationship with your child and talking to them honestly can go a long way in shaping their attitudes and beliefs about sex and relationships.

I hope my perspective has been helpful.

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