The human race depends on agriculture to live. It started in Eden and has evolved but still comes down to humans depending on plants to live. Plants provide a nutrient-rich diet. Plants produce most of the oxygen we have to breathe. What many don’t realize is that plants also help clean water sources and improve water quality. Plants literally provide us with air to breathe, food to eat (which includes those who eat meat, since the meat we consume also depends on plant life for food), and even water to drink. We depend on plants. Plants depend on the birds and the bees which pollinate them. Without this process, plants would not grow and produce seeds and fruits and vegetables. Without this process, we would not live.
‘The birds and the bees’ may still be relevant.
As an American girl growing up in public school, “the birds and the bees” was always a joke. As public school children, we knew somehow that it had to do with sex, but none of my friends ever actually heard this talk. For the life of us, we couldn’t figure out how birds and bees actually related to sex in the least.
Sex, like birds and bees, has to exist for human survival
It is a fact. It’s a fact that makes many people uncomfortable, and for good reason, but it is no less true. We have to have sex in order to have children, thus creating more little humans to maintain the race. What’s more, how we have sex and with whom will help us to maintain mental and emotional health, participate in meaningful relationships, and more. Sex is essential, it is natural, it is helpful and even enjoyable. So what’s the big secret?
Talking to our kids about sex may be the hardest part about being a parent, but it may be the most necessary.
Your kid is going to remember the sex talk. Your son will remember that it was awkward and you made silly dad jokes. He may laugh with you about it when he’s a grown man. He may remember the kindness in your eyes as you showed him how to shave and asked quietly, “what do you think of girls?”
Your daughter may remember that first talk about menstruation. She may remember that book you gave her and the discussion that followed, or she may remember no talk at all. Your son may remember more locker-room banter than table discussions. They may remember their first crush, first kiss, and first sexual experience as a confusing and disastrous time. For too many young boys and girls, the day they lose their virginity is the day they learn about sex.
For too many young people this is true.
Figuring out ‘The Talk’ for your family is as important as food, water, and oxygen
If you do not talk to your kids about sex, someone else will. It may be their school science teacher or athletic coach. It may be a friend, girlfriend or boyfriend, or even a predator. You cannot control who talks to your child about sex through the years, but you can control how they have those first important conversations and with whom. The tone you use, the tact you show, and the time you choose will all play a huge roll in how your child views sex for years to come.
- Choose a time to begin.
The time to start being honest with your kids about sex is right away. There will definitely be a time you begin to talk about sex in a more personal way, but you can talk about where babies come from in an honest manner at every opportunity beginning as soon as possible. The question “where do babies come from?” will evolve over the years. You may start with simple answers about babies coming from mommies and daddies who love each other to explain that they come from the mommy’s belly. Eventually, an inquisitive child will want to know how this happens. Eventually, they will need to know how this happens. We chose 10 years-old to start talking to our sons about sex. It’s a conversation my husband had, and now one we realize might have begun at 10, but needs to continue over the next many, many years. We thought we’d start at 10 years old but quickly decided to include all our boys in the conversation. You should figure out when you’re comfortable having this conversation with your kids, understanding that ten is the age of puberty changes for this generation. Hair begins to grow, bodies begin to change, and then moods and behaviors follow. Ignoring it will not make it go away. Choose a time and then begin!
- Do the research and then share facts, concerns, and personal history as tactfully as possible.
Using tact means that you’re mindful of the words you use. Your body language is neutral and your emotions are in check. You follow a plan and followthrough–possibly even using scripted conversation starters, points, and questions. You initiate conversations in an ongoing way and are not pushy or awkward. You listen well and model listening and responding without overreacting. You honor your child’s privacy and feelings throughout ongoing conversations. You do not ridicule or tease.
- Use a tone that is welcoming, loving, and matter-of-fact.
You are not only teaching when you talk to your son or daughter about sex. You are also communicating that you are a confidante and that you love them. It’s important to use a respectful and loving tone when discussing these important topics with your child. Keeping a careful tone while responding to questions and emotions is key. Your tone will tell your child if they should approach you again about this topic. Your tone should show important it is that they do.
Some resources I’ve found helpful during this journey include: