Talking about sexuality to our children: how and when?

One of the most important tasks is to educate our children about a subject that is not always easy to talk about, sexuality.

It is important that we provide our children with truthful, useful and concrete information (sometimes we fail to speak using abstract concepts), information which, at the same time, conveys our values ​​which help them to have a better life. healthy. In fact, there are many times to talk about sexuality, everyday life is full of them.

    Is it a good idea to talk to our kids about sex?

    This week, the child psychology team at the Mensalus Institute for Psychological and Psychiatric Care talks to us about the importance of talking about sexuality with our children and recommends some interesting educational material.

    How can we start talking to our children about issues related to sexuality?

    Educational moments happen every day. In fact, these are the ones that help you converse naturally. It is common to schedule the “conversation” to discuss all that is important at the same time. Usually this speech is awkward and contrived. Parents end up getting frustrated at not knowing how to approach the child, and in cases where a good connection has not been made, they feel they have missed the “opportunity” to provide important information.

    In fact, there are many times to talk about sexuality, everyday life is full of it. For this reason, talking to children about sexuality is a conversation that lasts over time, it is too necessary a subject in their life to reduce it to a discourse.

    How can this daily communication be? At what age can we start talking about sexuality?

    Conversations about sexuality arise as a result of questions they spontaneously ask themselves (after listening to a commentary in class, watching a television commercial, watching a couple in the street, etc.). It is important to start talking to our children from an early age. They are curious about their bodies, they look at the differences between men and women, between themselves and adults, between different types of relationships, etc.

    Curiosity gives us the opportunity to engage in constructive dialogue. This information will help the little one develop a healthy view of her sexuality and that of others, which will allow her to take care of and respect her, two basic ingredients to promote self-esteem.

    On the other hand, we must not forget that children are prepared to receive information according to their vital moment. That said, when we talk to our kids about sex, the first basic point is to tailor the conversation to their age.

    Overcome taboos

    In general, are parents today afraid to talk about sexuality with their children?

    The heritage received from past generations where sexuality was a taboo subject still occupies a central place today. Parents are realizing the need to offer this information that they have not received, it is true, but there is a fear that it will not be done correctly and that it will harm the child. The doubts about: “maybe you still don’t know any of this” reinforce the taboo.

    One space where we talk about all of this is parent / school groups. Participants repeatedly express the fear of conveying a misconception about what sex is and how it is experienced. The fear that the information will generate some kind of problem in their psycho-emotional development leads them to avoid it.

    Well, the answer is still the same. Maybe it’s time to ask what the child needs (we know as parents) by putting fear aside. There is no worse information than that which creates fear and rejection (remember the legacy of generations past). When this happens, the result is a negative experience around sex and, therefore, the direct affectation of self-esteem.

    What Kind of Educational Materials Can Help Parents?

    From the consultation on the psychology of the child, we have a bibliography and games that are very useful in this psychoeducational task.

    Specifically, today we would like to share two titles. The first is a video called “Our Body”. This animated short is recommended for ages 3 and up and explains the body differences between the sexes.

    You can watch the video below:

    The second is a book called “Tell Me Everything: 101 Questions Asked by Boys and Girls on an Exciting Topic” by Katharina Von Der Gathen. This sex educator took handwritten notes from an anonymous mailbox with questions from some third and fourth graders who attended her discussions about the body, love and sexuality. In the book, the most remarkable are collected and answered. The result is really interesting.

    What message would you like to send to all the parents reading this interview?

    From child psychology, we emphasize the importance of experiencing the body and sexuality naturally to help the child integrate the changes of each stage since acceptance. Plus, answering questions on such a vital issue gives you the security you need to live and respect your body (which will later be transferred to other vital contexts).

    We need to provide truthful, useful and concrete information (sometimes we don’t use too many abstract concepts), information that, at the same time, conveys our values ​​about sexuality. As we have discussed, all of this will facilitate responsible decision making in the sexual area.

    We also remember the importance of actively listening to children’s questions and explanations (sometimes it can be tempting to interrupt their speech to correct or slow down). This way, we will show them interest, generate feedback that will lead to new conversations, and help them explain their ideas and build a cohesive speech. Again, your self-esteem will be boosted by realizing that your voice matters.

    Recommended material:

    • Book: “Tell Me Everything: 101 Questions Asked by Boys and Girls on an Exciting Subject” by Katharina Von Der Gathen. You can buy it from this link.

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