Last week I was interviewed for a super fun piece to be published in the May issue of the Poughkeepsie Journal's Living & Being Magazine about how and when to start talking to kids about sex. This is one of my favorite subjects!
It's all about encouraging open discussion.
It's not about a single talk, or even twelve dozen. But it does begin early on. As early as you start to teach your children what to call his nose and her eyes, you are also sending messages about what they should call their body parts and how comfortable to be with all these parts of themselves and in talking about them with you. Just like a belly button is a belly button and an ear is an ear. A penis is a penis and a vulva is a vulva.
Giving children language is the one of the earliest steps we take in promoting open communication and self acceptance. Both of which are integral in our development as healthy relational beings.
Humans are driven towards connection from birth. We thrive in connection. Our drives to attach to others and create love bonds are strong, biological and deeply rooted in our survival. Sexuality ensures our species survival, it is a biological drive that reinforces our bonds with others.
Children are sponges, they pick up and take in how you interact with others, especially your mate. As children grow into adults they mirror the relationships they absorbed early in life. This influences their identity. Just as it did for each of us.
What kind of relationships do you want for you children to grow into?
Those are the relationships you want to be living now —and if you aren't yet that's ok— take note and begin crafting a sustainable plan towards being who you want to become. This is where you have influence over who your children will become. Be it. The healthier you are, the healthier they are.
So, sex. Do you dream that when your children grow up they will be healthy adults in healthy sustainable relationships? Do you encourage your children to come to you with questions and curiosities as they arise or do you prefer they explore their curiosities with peers? It's human nature to be curious and to seek intimate connections, that is how we learn and grow. Creating an open dialogue encourages your children to keep you involved and helps yo stay attuned to their curiosity. Your parent/child relationship is the first intimate relationship they will experience and they will model all future relationships off the intimacy you share.
Often when parents feel ashamed, embarrassed or uniformed about sex (or any topic for that matter) they inadvertently close down dialogue before it begins. And that's unfortunate.
In my work with parents, couples and teens I have a unique window to witness how parents own discomfort around sex, sexuality, intimacy and relationships in general are mirrored in their children and with that window comes an opportunity to help re open the dialogue, at any age. It's no secret that I love my work.
Want to learn more? Join our FREE Informational Session for Parents.
Talking to your Kids about S.E.X.: tools to help parents create open dialogues with kids of all ages. 6:30PM Thursday, April 23rd at Bambini Pediatrics.
We have limited space. RSVP here.