I should preface that each child is different, each family is different, these are my own opinions and views on how I wanted to handle the situation with my son. Your conversation may be significantly different than my own.
The thought of having the birds and the bee’s talk with my twelve-year-old terrified me. It was the summer going into sixth grade and “Sam” started showing interest in girls. He even had a “girlfriend” — as much as you can call someone that at that age. He had an iPod touch where he could text and Face-time but couldn’t make actual calls. We established rules with texting, synced it up to my husband’s phone and told him we had access to everything on it. I would go through his iPod every night and read about the drama that was unfolding at school with people. It wasn’t until I saw a text with the words friends and benefits that I panicked and knew it was time we had a serious conversation.
Understanding Your Child’s Personality
Sam is a pretty trustworthy kid, pretty naïve, and really doesn’t want to do anything that will get himself in trouble. I trust him, but I also believe kids do not make the best decisions and need our guidance … hence our parenting job. Knowing that it was time for the birds and the bees conversation made me anxious. I didn’t even know how to start the conversation with him. Everyone told me that my husband should be the one to have the conversation because he was male and it only made sense. I completely disagreed with that. Sam is way more open about things with me than he is to his dad. I think it just has to do with his personality. After my husband and I talked, we both agreed that we thought Sam would be more open with me than him and that I would have the conversation with him.
Suggestions On How to Have “The Talk”
- Have the conversation in the car: I chose to have the conversation in the car when it was just Sam and me so that he had no option but to really listen to what I was saying to him.
- Make the conversation intimate, private and without any interruptions.
- Ease your way into the conversation: We began our conversation by talking about middle school and how different it was from elementary school which led to discussions about drugs and alcohol and then sex and peer pressure.
- Ask open-ended questions: Asking open-ended questions encourages your child to respond to you without just say yes or no. Instead of asking “Do you know what sex is?” say “Tell me what you know about sex.”
- Only talk about what you feel your child is ready to talk about. Don’t overwhelm them with too much information.
- Vocalize the importance of your child coming to you with questions or concerns.
- It’s okay to add humor.
- Keep the relationship open. Bring it up with your child every now and then to see if they have any new questions.
Why is it so important to speak to your child about sex?
Having the sex talk can be extremely intimidating as a parent but it’s so important to try and keep your relationship open enough to where they feel comfortable coming to you with questions. I found that the best place to have this conversation was in the car. He didn’t have to look directly at me but he had nowhere to go so he had to at least pretend like he was listening. One thing I wish we had done differently parenting him when he was younger was using the words penis and vagina. It’s embarrassing for him to hear and say those words, and it shouldn’t be. You know your child; think about the best way to have this conversation with them. You don’t want your child to learn about sex from peers in school because most of the time, the information they are learning or hearing is incorrect and can lead them into having an unrealistic view of what sex is. We continue to have conversations about sex and I make sure to ask him when we are in the car if he has any questions he wants to ask me about anything.