When I asked y’all what you would like to read on this blog, you mentioned “the sex talk.” I get it. It is a hard one to know how to navigate, myself included! To be honest, I was looking a lot to my husband for guidance on how to navigate “the talk” with our oldest son. So, I elicited my husband for this conversation because he has worked with youth for years and has some really good insight to share.
Meet my awesome husband Nick, Mr. Nick, Big Dad, DaddyO. He has had a lot of titles that his biological kids, foster kids, and mentor kids call him. Currently he is a Regional Director for Xcel Mentoring Network here in Bryan County, Georgia. He spends his time mentoring and building a network around 15-25 year olds who find themselves in hard situations. Together they work toward achieving the goals the students have for themselves whether it be earning a GED, learning a trade skill, or going to college. You can learn more about his work HERE. Prior to Xcel Nick was a Family Pastor for 10 years. So his professional career has always involved mentoring kids and families.
Thanks Nick for agreeing to be my first guest on the blog.
I know I cornered you and vaguely said, “hey can you help me with my blog?” You replied, “suuurrree” very hesitantly. Hesitantly because you didn’t know what topic I was going to ask you about, so thanks for being willing no matter what. The topic is…
WHEN DO YOU KNOW IT IS TIME TO START “THE TALK” WITH YOUR KIDS?
I don’t know if there is an exact age. Definitely before middle school. But you need to take into account your child’s personality, the language they use, what they have been exposed to from media and friends, and what questions you hear them asking.
Also, think about how naturally your child is influenced by other people and things. This will help you know when it is time to start the conversation. But definitely before middle school.
WHO DO YOU RECOMMEND BEING THE ONE TO HAVE THE TALK WITH YOUR CHILD?
Two Parent Household? Girl = Mom | Boy = Dad
Single Parent Household? You!
Blended Family? You know best. The point is to have a trusting relationship to start with and to build off of that.
DO YOU RECOMMEND THE SAME PERSON WHO STARTS THE CONVERSATION BE THE ONE TO KEEP TALKING TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT IT?
If you have a two parent household it is important that both parents feel engaged enough to be able to have conversations when needed.
WHERE DO YOU RECOMMEND TALKING ABOUT STUFF LIKE THIS?
Longhorn Steakhouse (laughing),
(Longhorn is where he took our son. I thought it was funny to talk about sex in a busy restaurant. But the boy was so excited about eating his first steak in a restaurant that I guess he didn’t care.)
Go do something special with your kid that makes them feel like they are being treated special and like a big kid. Tell them that you are viewing them as older and that you are giving them important information that is for big/mature kids and not for little kids. It doesn’t exactly matter where, but it matters more that your child sees you treating this as an important conversation and that you have their undivided attention.
Or another idea is that your child gets to stay up a little later and have a special snack and extra time with you.
Yeah, and bedtime is a great time for follow up questions when it’s just you and them.
WHAT DO I SAY?
Have you heard the word sex before?
Do you know what sex is?
How are babies made?
Tell them the basic anatomy of girls and boys. The point is to not have a one conversation dump. Don’t feel like you need to cover everything! Some kids may be embarrassed or want to stop talking about it, so be sensitive to how they are reacting. Make sure they know they can ask you questions any time and that you will be having more conversations with them like this.
Then ask if they have any questions. Answer the questions very matter of fact. Not vague but not super detailed, unless they ask for more details.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD I HAVE THESE CONVERSATIONS?
Pay attention to your kids and the questions they are asking. Also, pay attention to what their friends are talking about. You may feel spurred on to talk about a particular subject based on those conversations. The point is to be proactive. You always want to be a little ahead of it rather than behind. So have a plan that allows you to talk about sex, pornography, dating, and gender identity all before middle school. And especially for our boy talking to him about respecting girls and valuing them was important for me to address before puberty begins.
The point is to build a base and a framework so that you can continue to have a conversation as they go through puberty and start to experience all sorts of different things.
Thank you for being my first guess Nick! This is all super helpful to hear, because I know this topic makes me nervous when I first think about it. My favorite thing you said that put me at ease is the idea that this isn’t a one conversation dump, I think that takes a lot of pressure of this subject. You have really helped me to own my role as a parent in this subject matter and to remember that teaching our kids what we want them to know about these subjects is so important. Because if we don’t teach them, someone else will.
My last question is:
WHAT DO YOU DO IF YOU ALREADY FEEL BEHIND IN THESE CONVERSATIONS?
Have the conversations anyways. It is better to play offense than defense.
If you would like more resources for topics such as this we suggest: