In the recent past, I have written about topics relating to body positivity in teens and tweens, puberty and ‘the talk’. Today, continuing on that theme, we have a guest post by Kathleen Hema – a sex education teacher and public health lecturer. Kathleen Hema has lectured at universities in the USA & Australia, presented at international conferences, and facilitated workshops and seminars over the past 13 years on a variety of public health and sexual health education topics. In today’s article, she writes about how to keep your family values at the center of the sex talk with your children.
Talking with your kids about sex, sexuality, and sexual health can seem daunting but I try to reassure parents every week that it doesn’t have to be. When it comes to the sex talks, it is mostly about preparation.
Having been a Sex Ed teacher for over a decade, I was formally trained and educated on a wide variety of sexual health topics and how to teach them to students in class.
So, when I recently became a mom, I was slightly more prepared to start modeling consent, explaining where babies come from, and talking about the gender spectrum with my child than the average new mom. Yet – to be completely honest with you – I was quite nervous during the first sex talk I had with my child! I didn’t want to mess it up! I didn’t want to say the wrong thing!
Your family values are important to share with your child when having the sex talks.
If you are a parent and feel nervous about having the sex talks, I want to reassure you that feeling is very normal.
- I can help prepare you to answer sex questions that your child may have.
- I can offer guidance so that you feel more confident to talk about sexuality.
- I can even give you the words to say in order to explain a sexual topic to your child in a medically-accurate and age-appropriate way.
However, I cannot tell you what your religious, cultural, or personal values and beliefs are around sex-related topics, but I can say your family values are important to share with your child when having the sex talks.
When I was a Sex Ed teacher, one of the questions that I often got in class was, ‘What is the right age to have sex?’
This question can be answered in a matter-of-fact way referring to the laws in the country or place. However, your family’s values around what would be considered the ‘right’ age to have sex may not align with the law. For example, if the law says it is legal for a 15 year old to consent to sex, you may not want your 15 year old child to start having sex just because it is legal.
Why do you want your 15 year old to wait to have sex?
In order to answer this question, you will have to figure out your WHY? Why do you want your 15 year old to wait to have sex? How do you share your family values with them? For some parents, they have religious or cultural values that they follow and use this as the foundation to their family values around sex. For other parents, they have to hash out their family values and be ready to explain why they believe what they believe. Here’s a few questions to consider:
- What’s your opinion on marriage?
- What’s your opinion on sex before marriage?
- What’s your opinion on sexual orientation?
- What’s your opinion on hormonal contraception?
- What do you consider to be a healthy sexual relationship?
Your kids are going to learn about sex whether or not they have a conversation with you about it. But by having the sex talks with your child, you get to include your family values and beliefs into the conversation and that is definitely something they won’t be able to find on Google.
Kathleen Hema has lectured at universities in the USA & Australia, presented at international conferences, and facilitated workshops and seminars over the past 13 years on a variety of public health and sexual health education topics.
In the middle of 2020 and a global pandemic, she decided to start a Youtube Channel for Parents called It’s Time for the Sex Talk for Parents. She wanted to create a space where parents can learn how to answer sex questions that their child may have, build their confidence in talking about sex and sexuality, and give parents the encouragement boost that they may need to persevere in the sex talks. She has made over 85 videos so far while doing it all in her “free time” as a stay at home mom of 2 small children.
Check out & Subscribe to Kathleen’s Youtube Channel: It’s Time for the Sex Talk for Parents.
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