I’m not going to lie, I was slightly dreading the moment the kids asked me about sex, I knew I wanted to be really honest with them and be as open as possible in the hope they will always feel able to talk to me about anything but it’s so inbuilt in a lot of us to think of the topic of sex as awkward. I decided I was going to wait for them to initiate the conversation and that moment happened in the car thanks to the Kings of Leon song ‘Sex On Fire’. Caught completely off guard with ‘what’s sex’, I was just really honest and talked about penises and vaginas, they thought this was hilarious, and gross too. Apparently Tiger is never going to do it! But that was it, and they mentioned it since, when they do though I will be prepared!
Steps to Explaining a Healthy Relationship
Step 1: Give an Example
Kids learn by example, which is why it’s so beneficial to give an example of a healthy relationship when having this talk. This could be their grandparents, a television or movie couple, or even yourself and your partner. Explain to them the characteristics that make this relationship healthy as well as the challenges that come with that.
Step 2: Ask Questions
Most kids won’t want to open up right away, which can result in ending the conversation. Before this happens, start asking them questions. With older children ask about their friends who are in relationships and what part about relationships they’re interested to know more about.
Step 3: Answer Questions
When your child does open up and begin asking questions, make sure to answer them in a relaxed way so they feel like they can do it again. If at any point you don’t know the answer say you will look into it together.
Step 4: Give Advice
Any advice you can give about what it means to be in a healthy relationship is important. This could be something as simple as telling them to listen or as something as deep as telling them to respect boundaries. There’s a lot to cover, so you will no doubt need to have more than one conversation.
Step 5: Warn
Kids must know the risks of an unhealthy relationship as well as the risks of sexual contact. This includes pregnancy and STDs, as well as drifting away from their friends or starting to feel like they need to change themselves to make someone else happy.
Why an Explanation is So Important
While many kids learn how to respect their parents as they are raised, they aren’t taught what respect within a relationship means. By taking the time to explain this and dig a little deeper into what mutual respect in a relationship is, they’ll know what to look for in a partner.
Knowing Signs of Abuse
When kids don’t know what signs of an unhealthy relationship are, they could end up staying in one for too long. Talk about the importance of independence while in a relationship as well as why physical abuse is never okay. It’s also important to touch on pressure for intimacy, emotional abuse, and controlling behavior.
Holding Higher Standards
By understanding what goes into a relationship to make it healthy and successful, most kids will hold themselves to a higher standard when looking for a partner. This can help them know more about how to avoid and handle difficult situations.
The task of talking to your kids about sex and relationships is a necessary one. If you’re uncomfortable, run through the conversation with a partner or friend. When you’re more comfortable, you’ll have confidence that can allow your child to open up.
Author Bio: Paige Jirsa- I work with https://stdtestingfacilities.com/, which provides users same day STD testing in a discrete and proficient manner.