If you want your child to be open with you as they grow into adolescence and beyond, you need to lay the groundwork from an early age.
Talking about sex can be awkward but by normalising the conversation, you are more likely to have a relationship with your child where they feel able to ask you about it.
Here are three ways to help ensure your child is comfortable talking to you about sex:
1. Answer any questions they have about sex as they grow up
As your child matures and attends school, they will see and hear things from their friends that they won’t have learned at home. If they ask you about sex or what a particular term is, don’t dismiss it or tell them they’re ‘too young’.
Find a way to explain whatever they’re asking in an age-appropriate manner so they know you’ll always take their concerns seriously.
2. Speak openly about different sexual orientations or gender identities
Sexual orientation and gender identity can be a hugely confusing area for young people, especially if they are questioning their own identity.
By chatting openly about these various aspects of human sexuality, you’re creating a safe space for them to come to you if and when they need your advice in their own lives.
3. Don’t be judgemental about sex in the media
Children are like sponges and absorb whatever they’re around at home. If you make a derogatory comment about a sex scandal in the media or tell them to ‘turn off that filth’ during an intimate scene in a film or TV show, that will leave an indelible impression in their psyches that sex is something to be ashamed of or kept secret.
You’re entitled to your opinion and of course you want to teach your child about morals and values. However, it’s vital that your child knows that if they ever find themselves in a compromising situation, you might be upset but they’ll still be met with love and compassion.