As parents, we often dread that first moment when our children become aware that they were not always a part of this world. When our children ask us where they came from, we immediately think about adult sex, and as a result, we become tongue-tied, embarrassed and a bit of a bumbling mess.
Somehow, rather than answering our children’s questions about sex and origin in an age-appropriate fashion, we blurt out that a stork flew them into our lives. Similarly, when our kids start asking us about their bodies and the differences between boys and girls, rather than giving them a simple anatomy lesson, we call important body parts by nicknames and miss important moments to give them some sound ground to stand on.
As author Deborah Roffman explains in her new book Talk to Me First, “If parents don’t give accurate, standard terms for body parts, they’re communicating another message, which is: We use direct words for everything else, but we’re going to use code — for that’s what those funny terms are — so that we’re training children not to be direct, not to be able to communicate directly.”
Roffman continues: “If we really understand what children are asking when they’re 4, 5 and 6 years old, and we interpret the question correctly, then we give the message that we’re the go-to person about this topic. But if parents try to change the subject or give a vague, offhanded answer, children learn that they have to go someplace else for this information.”
As a parent, don’t you want your children to come to you on matters as important as sex? If you start early and speak in an age-appropriate, clear and direct way, your kids will also learn early that talking about sex with their parents is not taboo. Our kids want and need adult guidance in this area, but often times, we are the ones that make them feel ashamed about talking to us and having questions rather than helping them to feel empowered. This is one of the reasons we’ve put together “The Talk” guide, which I hope you will check out today, to help you get started. Talking about sex at an early age will not encourage your kids towards early sexual activity, rather it will help establish at an early age that you can be a trusted source for guidance, boundary-setting and personal value as it relates to sex.