Get the facts, talk with your kids about sex

November 15, 2005 — Leave a comment

� Salt Lake Tribune

Why is sex such a sensitive subject?

Why is something supposedly so natural so difficult to discuss . . . especially with our kids? When you were growing up, was sex an open-door policy in your home? Trust me when I say parents who don’t teach their children about sex are still teaching their children about sex, e.g. “We don’t talk about that in our family!”

It’s imperative that we overcome our embarrassment, discomfort and hesitancy in order for our children to have a healthy perspective about sexual relations and marital intimacy.

More than 8,000 teens in a national study said parents have a significant impact on their decisions about sex. Your kids care about what you have to say. And you must care about what they have to say. Some great door openers are, “What do you think that means?” “This is why I feel the way I do . . .” “That’s a good question. I don’t know the answer but I’ll find out!” With all the competing voices in your child’s life, make certain yours is the loudest, strongest, and truest!

Look for those ripe teaching moments. They’re everywhere, even in line at the grocery store when you’re both standing there, confronted with daring front-covers of popular magazines. Today’s teens live in a media-saturated world. An average of six to seven hours a day is spent with some form of electronic media including television, radio, Internet, magazines and CDs. Use television story lines that suggest sexual innuendos or advertisements showing a scantily dressed model selling burgers.

Share your thoughts and concerns, and inquire about theirs. Remember, make this a conversation, not a lecture!

It’s all about timing and that “timing” often comes before either one of you is ready. By the age of 8,

kids have already heard some interesting analogies about the anatomy at recess and sleepovers. Much to their parents’ surprise, some second-graders even know about second base!

While it’s best to start early, it’s never too late! As you share your values and morals about this delicate subject matter, use descriptors such as “amazing,” “awesome” and “special.” Open communication, delayed gratification and hopeful dreams are all part of the positive approach parents can take in teaching children about marriage and sex.

Safe sex is an oxymoron. Even condoms don’t protect us from sexually transmitted diseases. Don’t

be foolish. Get the facts. Use correct terminology. Practice saying the words. Then talk to your kids.

Whatever level of comfort and information you convey to your child will be in memory lock-down. And, isn’t it your voice you want them to hear at that moment of decision, when they’re at the crossroads of wandering versus waiting?

What do you think? Why is sex such a sensitive subject?

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Dr. Liz Hale

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