Mary Flo and Megan from Birds & Bees provided some incredible tips on talking to your children about sex. Here are some of the tips I found to be the most helpful:
Decide on the underlying message in advance. Parents should first think about and understand for themselves (and with their parenting partner if applicable) what the main message they would like their children to get about sex when growing up in their family.
Have frequent and frank conversations rather than one big “talk”. Plan a series of conversations that begins with just discussing the child’s body and body parts. You want to establish yourself as an expert or a loving authority on this topic. Talk about everything in a matter-of-fact tone, giving full and accurate answers, and encouraging more questions
Your family is the age of your oldest child. When you are considering the “right” age for addressing certain topics, remember that you should really consider the age of your oldest child since your younger children will be exposed to shows, people, devices, etc. that are meant for your oldest child.
Don’t focus so much on the “right” age to have these conversations. Rather you want to focus on building up to more and more complex conversations with a lot of little conversations over time.
Meet your child where they are. Be careful that you are answering your child’s questions at their level of understanding and what is developmentally appropriate for them. For example, before puberty, they are likely not ready to discuss pleasure or sexual desire
Watch your tone and explain everything in a matter-of-fact way. Use a normal tone and explain these topics in the same way you would teach other safety topics. You want your child to think this is something you feel comfortable discussing so they feel comfortable coming to you.
Respect the most modest person in the home. Rather than worrying about what age you should stop changing around your kids or disallow them from bathing with their siblings, focus on everyone’s comfort level and respect the comfort level of the most modest person in your home.
Calmly discuss the dangers of technology. Explain the positives and negatives of technology and how they might see something that makes them uncomfortable. Tell them that if they see something like this to come to you right away.
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Welcome to the Parenting Translator newsletter! I am Dr. Cara Goodwin, a licensed psychologist with a PhD in child psychology and mother to three children (currently an almost-2-year-old, 4-year-old, and 6-year-old). I specialize in taking all of the research that is out there related to parenting and child development and turning it into information that is accurate, relevant, and useful for parents! I recently turned these efforts into a non-profit organization since I believe that all parents deserve access to unbiased and free information. This means that I am only here to help YOU as a parent so please send along any feedback, topic suggestions, or questions that you have! You can also find me on Instagram @parentingtranslator, on TikTok @parentingtranslator, and my website (www.parentingtranslator.com).
DISCLAIMER: The information and advice in this newsletter is for educational purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical, mental health, legal, or other professions. Call your medical, mental health professional, or 911 for all emergencies. Dr. Cara Goodwin is not liable for any advice or information provided in this newsletter.