WT 029: How Do I Talk to My Kids About Sex?
Today on Wire Talk we’re discussing a big topic: Sex. Every mom wonders when it’s going to be time to start talking to their kids about sex. In today’s episode, Karen gives her advice on when to start the conversation, how to address purity, and even what to do about the portrayal of sex on the TV shows your kids watch. Karen has a full list of resources below, so check them out!
Question 1: I have heard that whatever age you were planning to start talking about sex - start a few years earlier than that. So, is that age 8 or 9? What do you recommend that talk first sound like an what is initially covered? Also is the conversation different for boys and girls?
Karen’s Answer: Short answer: yes to talking sooner rather than later. I suggest you start as young as 2-years-old. Not about the act of sex, but letting your child know the differences between boys and girls, private parts and how they are private. As your child grows, the conversations will increase. The actual sex talk does come around 8-years-old or so (though, there’s no perfect time) and I always start with the basics then work your way into more details after you see your child’s reaction, and listen to their questions.
I had four children, and they were all different. Kelsey asked me when she was in 3rd grade, I told Emily just before she went to middle school and she hated every second, Greg talked to Taylor about 4-5th grade, Taylor thought about it and then came to me with his questions. Abby learned as she went, but we officially had the talk around 5th grade.
Be bold and courageous! It’s awkward, but so very helpful for your child for you to be the first person to talk to them about it.
Question 2: What age do you think it's appropriate to start dating? When they do start dating, how often—if at all—should you have conversations about expectations of purity?
Karen’s Answer: We chose 16-years-old to date. You should have purity conversations periodically with your child whether they are dating or not!
We talked all the time about the why behind the no. Why it was so important to remain pure and the benefits of purity in marriage. Always communicate that you love them and accept them regardless but you feel like the best way to navigate dating is through purity.
Question 3: One of my boys is quite fond of his privates, this started when he was an infant and it's still happening now at age 7. I have heard that this is very normal, yet nobody has been able to give me advice! What is the conversation I should be having with him at this age?
Karen’s Answer: It is very normal. I wouldn’t talk about it or call attention to it other than to say, “don’t do that in public, say, that is a private thing we don’t do in front of others.”
I think all boys are obsessed from day 1, or as soon as they find it. Taylor was no different. I called a friend of mine that had 4 boys and she assured me he was very normal. She told me not to call attention to it. Also, as far as not doing things in public, I would tell my children that about all the different things that they shouldn't do in public.
Question 4: My daughters and I love to watch TV together - but it seems like every show on TV revolves around sex in some way or another. I can deal with innuendos here and there, but it just all feels over the top now. Or maybe I'm just now noticing since I am watching with a young audience. Karen, did you run into this? Did you just never watch TV together, or talk about when it happened?
Karen’s Answer: It is everywhere. Some shows you can talk through the situations while others you can’t because it is too much. I’d steer away from the shows that glorify sex especially at the impressionable age of a teen.
I would hit pause and talk about it with my girls, saying, they make it look all wonderful, but in real life, it’s not like that. You don’t just roll over and go to sleep or lay in their arms for hours.
The most important thing to do is talk, talk, talk.
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