3 practical ways of talking to your school-age kids about sex

PHOTO: Unsplash

Talking to your kids about sex can be daunting but not impossible. Even though pop culture often portrays teaching kids about sex as the ‘big talk,’ it is a subject that they should always be learning about.  

As kids learn to walk and talk, they also begin to explore their bodies. But the biggest challenge most Asian parents face is with explaining ‘The Act’ to a young child, especially when they accidentally walk in on their parents doing it. 

A mum recently shared a similar embarrassing moment where her three-year-old toddler walked in on her and her partner having sex. Here’s what transpired next. 

"We were in the '69' position when I heard, 'Mama'"

PHOTO: Pixabay

Explaining the awkward situation, the mum wrote, “About a month ago, my newly-turned three-year-old walked in on me and my partner. I had put her to sleep in a bed and closed the door. Partner and I soon had sex on the sofa in my living room. We were in the '69' position when I heard, 'Mama?' to which we immediately jumped up and covered ourselves, and I took her back to bed where she fell back asleep instantly.”

Even though it’s been over a month and the girl hasn’t spoken a word about it or has acted it out with her toys, the mum is still stressed.

In her post she asked, “I feel so extremely terrible that she was exposed to that and I’m afraid it will mess her up in some way. Hoping someone can offer reassurance because it’s really eating at me.”

Much to her relief, other mums came to her rescue sharing similar experiences and reassuring her that she had nothing to worry about.  

“It’s not a big deal unless you make it a big deal”

One mum wrote, “It’s not a big deal unless you make it a big deal. Sex is natural, sex is loving, if she asks, then explain it to her otherwise don’t worry about it. Our society is so worried about depictions of sex messing up a child’s brain but we have no issue bombarding them with depictions of violence, honestly, it’s baffling to me.”

ALSO READ: How parents should talk to their children about sex

“There’s nothing to be ashamed of”

This user suggested that as long as her little girl didn’t get the idea that daddy is hurting mommy, there’s no need to worry. “Toddlers think most of what we adults do is strange and inexplicable, and much of it is of little interest to them anyway. If she’s not asking questions or acting out, you can probably assume she’s not very focused on it. Anyway, nothing to be ashamed of what you were doing,” said another. 

“Get your doors locked”

Some suggested the mum to get her doors locked next time. A user wrote, “I mean. Whoa. A lot to unpack here. So this is for sure why we have locked doors. To avoid this embarrassment in the future.”

While other mums assured her that such awkward incidents happen and in all probability, the kid won’t remember anything. It is still worth knowing about the right time for sex education for kids, if you haven’t yet started.

Sex education for kids: 3 essential tips for parents

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Start the talk early

As children learn to walk and talk, they also begin to learn about their bodies. So to start them on the right path, you can begin by teaching them the proper names for their sex organs. When they ask you about a body part, don’t refuse to engage in the conversation. Instead, talk openly about it.

Also use this time to teach them about good touch and bad touch.

Self-stimulation is normal

There are many toddlers who express their natural sexual curiosity through self-stimulation. So don’t be alarmed to see boys playing with their penises, and/or girls rubbing their genitals, it is called toddler masturbation. 

And while it is normal, frequent masturbation is a red flag. It can indicate a problem in the child’s life or can even be a sign of sexual abuse. 

Curiosity about others

When they are at the age of 3 or 4 years, a natural curiosity kicks in and you may find your child examining another child’s sex organ. This is the stage of exploration and it shouldn’t be confused with sexual activity. However, set limits on such exploration and don’t punish them for it. 

A good strategy is to start talking to your child about sex when they are young and continue that conversation as they get older.​

As your kids grow, you will find them coming up to you with all kinds of questions. For instance, where do kids come from? Why does mom have breasts? Why does dad have a penis? Even if you are uncomfortable answering, don’t dodge the questions. The right parenting strategy should be to give age-appropriate and honest responses.

Remember, sex education for kids is not just about giving the right answers. By being open and honest, you’re setting the stage for transparent discussions that can shape your child’s understanding about their sexuality, making them more self-aware and confident. 

This article was first published in theAsianparent.