There are few things as a parent you can do that will help your child enjoy their childhood and adult years more than a solid basis of education about sex and sexuality. Sex education is so important that the schools have incorporated it into their core curriculum in most states and school districts. Don’t let this make you any less assertive about fulfilling this key parenting responsibility.
There are several great resources online to help with sex education, but one of the best is Sex Education HQ. At this site an experienced family physician and parent Dr. Pullen lays out the information parents need to be comfortable and competent in educating their children.
The most important thing to understand in teaching this key topic to your children is that is’s not something that you can do one time when your child is in puberty and never need to address again. Like any important topic, it needs to be taught over time, reinforced and reviewed.
Very early in your child’s life you can get off to a great start by using correct anatomic names for their reproductive body parts. Use words like penis, vagina, testis and breast comfortably in your conversations. This tells your child that you are comfortable talking about sex and reproduction. It is a strong platform on which to start teaching the information and values you will want to impart to your child.
In addition to using anatomic names for reproductive body parts, it is important to create opportunities to instill the values you want to impart to your children about sex and sexuality. Take advantage of television shows, movies, newspaper or magazine stories, or family or friends situations to discuss key issues. Make your feelings about dating, intimacy, and sex clear to your children. Be sure to make the underlying message that you love them unconditionally. Discuss how intimacy and sex change the nature of relationships, and that they have control over decisions about what they choose to do or not to do regarding sex. It helps to have your values clearly defined, and have goals in mind for your children.