Patients and Families

Talking To Kids About Sexuality

Talking to children about sexuality should be a natural part of parenting. All young children want to know about their bodies and how babies are made. Be honest with them, and answer their questions simply and lovingly. If you talk about sexuality when they are little, they will learn to trust you and will be more likely to come to you when they have concerns as they get older.

Start Early
Don’t wait until your children ask you questions. Start talking to them when they are little, just as you teach children from a young age about crossing the street or brushing their teeth. Talking about sex is not just a "one shot" talk about “the facts of life.” It is an ongoing part of family life.

Ask Children What They Know
When your children ask questions about sex, ask them, “What do you think?” or “Why do you think that?” It’s important to answer your children’s questions, but don’t tell them more than they need to know.

Listen
Look at your child, give him your full attention and respect his feelings. Praise him for asking you questions – you want him to come to you whenever he needs to talk.

Don't Lecture or Preach
Give answers that are matter-of-fact and that reflect your values. Use the proper names of body parts, and keep in mind your child’s age. Don’t give too many details to young children unless they ask for them.

“Teachable Moments”
A trip to a farm, a litter of kittens or a pregnant relative – each provides a natural time to talk to your kids about childbirth and sexuality. It’s a great way to get them talking!

Be Loving
When you give your children love and affection, they learn to be loving and comfortable with their bodies. How you view your own sexuality also affects how your children feel. Understand your own sexual values, and share them with your kids as they grow older.

Help For Parents
Many parents find it hard to talk about sex with their children. There are many books that parents can read with their kids to help them discuss sexuality at an age-appropriate level. Your library or bookstore has many selections.

Another great resource is the Family Health Council Inc., which offers free sexuality education booklets for parents. You can order the Family Connections guidebooks by calling 1-800-215-7494.

Last Update
September 11, 2008
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Last Update
September 11, 2008
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