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April 9, 2020

How To Talk To Your Kids About Sex

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Make “The Talk” an ongoing conversation.

Though you probably have more on your plate than usual right now, there are still opportunities to talk about healthy relationships with your kids — especially if you’re streaming shows or movies. Turning to pop culture is one of the best ways to start conversations about difficult topics, as it’s de-personalized; you can talk about storylines, jokes, language, relationships, specific on-screen interactions & character behaviour without making it about you or your kid.

If a topic or scene arises that makes you uncomfortable, it’s probably a sign that it’s worth talking about. Obviously the way you speak to a 15 year old will be different than how you address it with a 5 year old, but don’t gloss over & hope for the best. Even a five year old can observe that language is hurtful or that an interaction makes them feel bad. When we model and give them permission to talk about how they feel and what they like in low pressure situations, we’re laying the foundation for more complex conversations as they get older.

When you come across one of those awkward scenes, consider some of these prompts to spark a conversation:

  • What do you think of that?
  • How does the make you feel?
  • Have you heard or learned anything about this at school/from friends?
  • Do you have any questions?
  • Can we look for more answers/info together or separately (e.g. on Sex-Ed School, Amaze.Org, Sex Positive Families)?
  • How do you feel about that character? What do you dis/like about them?
  • What would you do differently?

And of course, you can also share how you feel, what you’ve learned, and what concerns you — with openness & curiosity. You will inevitably influence their relational & sexual values, but you won’t be able to dictate them.

Consider approaching every conversation as an audition: if they like what they see and hear, you’ll get a callback for the next round and if they don’t, they’re more likely to turn to other sources.

This doesn’t mean that conversations are all-or-nothing. You can make mistakes, own them and re-audition over and over again.

Check out Jess’ quick tip from Global TV’s The Morning Show below.