3. Children ages 5-8. This is the age when you begin to get more direct questions about sex. ("Where do babies come from?") The key is to answer the questions in truthful but age-appropriate ways. Give them just enough accurate information to satisfy their curiosity without giving them the full medical description. Remember, try not to criticize, scold or insinuate that your child is bad for being curious about sex. After all, sex is a wonderful gift.
4. Children ages 8-10 and older. I believe this is the critical age you describe to your children more of the details of sex. They will probably have direct questions about conception, birth, marriage and sex. Don't shy away from these discussions (and yes, it's going to be more than one discussion).
This is a critical time for you to have influence over your child's sexual values and behavior. Teach them that sex is wonderful and good but also teach them that sex is powerful and thus has consequences when used and abused. Think about your own sexual values — ideally, what would you like for your children in their adult sex lives? Teach them that now.
These conversations pave the way for more open dialogue when they are wrestling as teens with tough sexual decisions. Remember, by the time they are 13 or 14 years old, they will know plenty about sex, so be the voice of accuracy in their education about sex.
- Talk about sex. Don't shy away from the conversation simply because it's difficult. Don't wait until they are sexually active.
- Talk positively about sex. It's a good thing, after all!
- Be age-appropriate in your sexual information.
- Teach that sex connects, emotionally through very strong feelings, intimately through a very special kind of knowledge about each other, reproductively in that accidental pregnancies occur all the time and biologically in that STDs remain very common and that they should be very careful about who they connect with sexually.
- Teach your sexual values. Don't be afraid to convey to your kids what you believe is the very best for them sexually — they won't hear that from the media.
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