The Role of Parents in Sex Education
It can be easy for parents to tell their children what is wrong and right, but when it comes to sexual education, most parents shy away. Sexual development and behavior in children is a critical part of growth, and as such, parents need to participate and provide direction for sexual behavior.
Parents’ Fears in Dealing with Sex Ed
Teaching children about sex is essential because it arms them with relevant information to make wise choices. Unfortunately, parents avoid talking about sex because they are either embarrassed or indifferent toward sex education and often leave the duty to schools and teachers.
Some parents also feel that they have inadequate knowledge to teach sex education, while others fear that talking to kids about sex encourages early sexual experiences. Other parents don’t know how to define a healthy sexual relationship or what age to talk to kids about sex.
Benefits of Addressing the Topic of Sex in a Family
There are several benefits to teaching sexual education within the family. First, as a parent, you get to influence your child’s health, safety, and well-being concerning sex. Additionally, having honest and open conversations about sex creates an emotional parent-child bond. When the relationship is formed, children can understand the importance of sex education and also ask questions freely. It’s also critical to remember that family life and sexuality education are entwined, and as such, taking charge of the opportunity is excellent for passing critical values. Lastly, parents may inadvertently discourage early sexual debut in children.
Sex Topics to Discuss With Children
Depending on the age and development of the kids, there are several topics parents can discuss with children.
- The anatomy of reproductive systems including correct terms for genitals
- Sexual biology and gender roles
- Setting boundaries, giving consent and dealing with sexual abuse
- Sexual orientations and gender identities
- Sexual intercourse and how to practice safe sex
- Pregnancy, birth control, HIV/AIDS, and other STDs
- Substance abuse and how alcohol and drugs can alter decision-making
Talking About Sex to Transgender and Non-Binary Kids
Many parents often struggle to address sex education when they don’t share an identity with their children—heterosexual, cisgender parents (straight parents) may struggle to identify with LGBTQ kids and non-binary children. Creating LGBTQ-inclusive sex education is crucial because sex affects everyone in the LGBTQ community, much like everyone else. Also, sometimes Gen X parenting styles may fail to relate to children in Gen Z. Creating an environment where a teen’s sexual orientation is acceptable is critical to launching sex education.
Tips on How to Tackle a Sexuality Conversation
“How do I give my child the talk?” or “How do you explain sex to your children?” are crucial concerns for all parents. Fortunately, it’s possible to tackle conversations about sex with the following tips.
- Don’t judge or criticize your children for expressing interest and curiosity in sex. You need to stop the judgment even outside sex conversations because kids won’t approach you if they feel too criticized.
- Sex education shouldn’t be one long face-to-face conversation. Instead, approach the topics casually at home, during walks, and drives.
- Don’t dramatize sexuality and use vague terms and descriptions to scare your children.
- Don’t try to control your children’s sexual orientation.
- Use resources that span beyond heterosexual relationships and nuclear families. You can use additional resources to speak on sex topics, and even share videos and blogs with your kids.
Sex education is an excellent way for parents to bond with their children and impart wisdom regarding sex, sexual health, healthy relationships, and families.