You must prepare yourself, whether you are ready to have the talk about sex or not
Although I knew having “The Talk” with my son who’s 9 years old was necessary, I must admit I wasn’t thrilled to do it. Fact is, I cannot be with him all the time even though I try to protect him from whatever content I deem inappropriate. There will be lots of exposures prompting questions – from TV commercials to kids at school talking and billboards (seems like the strip clubs have unlimited advertising funds). And when you have a very inquisitive son like mine whose mind had already started processing the information, there’s no running away. Explaining a three hour erection to a 9 year old! That’s definitely not pleasant.
Having these influences around, I couldn’t wait any more to have the sex talk with my son. The sex talk most of us received from our parents, if we ever did, wasn’t ideal. My mom only signed the permission slip for me to attend the sex education class in 5th grade. Discussing the topic wasn’t comfortable for her, being the single mother of a boy but while leaving for college, she broke down and had a ‘chat.’
It went something like this: “you are about an adult now son, make sure to have a condom on always and be responsible”
Me: “yes mom”
She: “just call your uncles if there’s any questions”
Me: “ok”…not wanting to tell her of the crazy sex advice they had already given me.
We should control and have these discussions sooner and frequently. I have had success using the following tips but I’m no expert at delivering ‘ the talk’ though. The 7 tips are:
No one knows your child better than you so you’ll probably know when or if your child is ready for the talk. Remembering what things were like for me at his age, I chose that time having noticed his mind was processing things fast. And flashing back on some not-too-good childhood memories, I had to arm my son with proper information. Remember that some kids are more mature than others at the same age so put that into consideration when handling different children. Tip: if your child asks you questions about sex, he/she is ready for a talk based on his/her maturity level.
You must prepare yourself, whether you are ready to have the talk or not, because sometimes, it will just sneak up on you. Do some research online, read books, talk with other parents, and consult with your son’s pediatrician and clergy. Just seek out information and wisdom from the best possible sources. This will give you some level of confidence that will help you get the job done.
Take away every distraction possible. Having the discussion away from other children, playing TV set etc is great. Just ensure you create an environment that tells your child it’s important yet fosters openness.
Be Open and Honest
Despite how uncomfortable it was, I had to speak honestly about puberty, birth, pregnancy, and sex. I’ve figured kids are most times more sophisticated than we applaud them for. We usually don’t want to talk about sex because we think they won’t be able to handle it. While at it, I discovered he was a bit stunned or shocked sometimes but handled it well. I told him about the dangers of sexual abuse too and taught him about being protected. This openness tells them they can discuss anything with you, even sex related embarrassments.
Ask for Questions and Feedback
I asked my son if he had any questions. He had a thousand! I answered each one patiently also asking him if he knew any of those information prior to our conversation. Yes he had some…from the conversations the kids had on the school bus. I corrected the misinformation he had received, asking him to meet me whenever he needed the truth. I also gave him a book to read to help him (change the misinformation).
Let Your Child Know That You Are Available
I informed my boy he could always comeback whenever he had questions on sex. Please be sure to honor this promise. Turning him away will only break the bond of trust.
Understand That This is the First in a Series of Conversations About Sex
That first talk is just the number one in the series so don’t breathe a sigh of eternal relief. At 9 his understanding is much different from at 13 and 18. You have to watch, listen and correct. You’ll constantly but periodically have to do this to instill values and most importantly, build trust. Their most sensitive issues won’t come to us if they can’t trust us.
Most importantly, I told my boy it wasn’t his duty to share this information with his friends and classmates, that’s the responsibility of their parents, and you don’t want them to come back dissuaded about what you took time persuading them on.
When I was done, I hugged him and kissed him on his forehead, wanting to hold him there forever as if to prevent him from growing up, but like you know, that’s impossible. Though I’m glad I equipped him.