Hello! And welcome to Part 1 in a 3-part series on:

What I Think About Parents and Sex Education!

Yesterday I introduced the series, and today I’m talking about my first point:

Parents have to talk to their kids about sex. Before the kids start asking. Because otherwise it’s too late.

If you’re already ready to stop reading, DON’T! I’ve got a great post on how to talk with teenagers about sex. You can read it here.

In talking with parents, what I have seen is that by the time parents start thinking about talking to their kids about sex, the kids are already in the know. Way, way too far in the know for most parents’ comfort.

This happens, of course, because Little Suzy in their class at school (or church or playgroup or homeschooling group or whatever) walked in on her parents in, shall we say, a compromising condition. The parents weren’t able to think up a convincing lie fast enough, and now everyone on the playground knows that Little Suzy’s parents get up to something funny during nap time. Now, neither Little Suzy’s parents nor any of the other parents probably have any idea that the children are contemplating compromising positions because the children are wise enough to know that when an adult lies badly, they shouldn’t go talking to other adults about it.

The moral of the story is to talk to your kids about sex. It might be really embarrassing for everyone. Okay, it probably will be really embarrassing for everyone. But better that than your 10 year old boy thinking that girls have two butts.

The other big benefit (beyond a simple transfer of information) to starting these conversations yourself rather than ignoring them unless you child asks, is that you are letting your kid know that it’s okay to ask questions. That it’s okay to use these words (penis, vulva, butt, vagina, breasts, wet dream, etc.) in conversation with you and other adults. This will pay off big dividends as they get older. Trust me.

Here’s some conversation topics that should be started with little ones:

  1. The differences between women and girls. The differences between men and boys.
  2. A little introduction to what marriage means – friendship, trust, love. More on the physical will come later.

These two topics: (a) information about our bodies and (b) relationship primers are really the two key topics.

So to make sure you cover everything, take some time and make out a list of all of the conceivable things in each category that a sexually active adult would need to know. Then roughly order them according to age when a person should learn them (youngest to oldest). Keep this list tucked away some place private, and mark things off the list as you have those conversations. Then you’ll always know what the next topic you need to cover is – and you’ll be able to keep a general eye open for a conversational opening.