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How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex and Consent

How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex and Consent

In the Philippines, which has a predominantly conservative culture, talking to children about sex is still considered taboo. But knowing how to talk to your kids about sex and consent can set them up to become responsible and respectful adults. It could also keep them safe by knowing how to assert their right to give consent.

But the proper approach differs depending upon your child’s age and state of development.

When is the right time to talk to your kids about sex?

how to talk to your kids about sex

There isn’t any age requirement when talking to your children about sex.

However, it is better to get started at a younger age, since kids nowadays have access to social media where they can often see sexualized content.

Starting early will help your children become more aware of their bodies and learning about what is appropriate and what is not. This will also train them to make the wisest decisions when they encounter instances they are not ready for.

Talking to your child about sex throughout the years

As your child grows, there are certain changes in their life that might need explaining. Some of these changes involve their physique, their environment, and their decisions. Here’s how to talk to your kids about sex as they grow up.

Toddlerhood

Once your child reaches toddlerhood, they are becoming increasingly curious about their bodies that may often touch their genitals.

When you see them doing this, teach them the correct anatomical names of their genitals. It is also the perfect time to carefully educate them that touching the genitals must be done in private.

Preschool age

This age is the perfect time to start discussing the word “consent” with your kid.

As a parent, it’s important to educate your kids about boundaries, especially when it comes to physical contact.

This is a good time to teach them to ask for permission before touching other people. In the same way, others also need to ask their consent before touching them.

The most crucial part during this age is teaching a child that it is not appropriate for someone to ask for or try to touch their genitals. This lesson will help your children become more protective of themselves.

Also, at this age, preschoolers are curious about how babies are made.

Since children can’t grasp the idea of science yet, it is best if you explain what’s going on when humans reproduce in the simplest manner.

Remember to use the correct terms so your children won’t get confused when they’re older. Feel free to skip certain details that seem inappropriate.

Being open to talk about their body parts in the correct terms allow the child to be more open in the future when it comes to talking about themselves (whether health related or not) in the future. Parents who are not comfortable saying the correct terms, or make fun of saying “penis” or “vagina” in front of the kids give the kids an idea that it is funny, laughable or even shameful.

Elementary school age

Since we are living in a modern society where technology and the internet are thriving, it is also an added responsibility for parents to educate their children about explicit content on the web.

During this period, kids this age must be well-informed about talking and sharing private photos with strangers online. This is also a delicate time where they can come across pornography websites.

Aside from installing protective software on your home computers or laptops, equipping kids with the right guidelines is also vital.

This age is also the ideal moment where you can further explain what sex is all about.

You can start by talking about masturbation, and proceed to the actual reproduction process.

It is completely fine if your kid finds this uncomfortable, so just delay the conversation and wait for them to be ready. And when they are, parents should also be ready to explain what the kids are expecting to hear. Again, if they are shy to talk about sex with their kids, the kids will feel some sense of shyness or shame as well.

how to talk to your kids about sex

Pre-teen years

Pre-teen years is when you talk about puberty, along with physical changes, such as the growth of pubic hair for boys ages 10-16 years and fullness of breasts in girls ages 10 & up.

Also, you might want to warn your daughters about the occurrence of menstruation.

Aside from the introduction of puberty, the pre-teen years are also the best years for parents to discuss sexual abuse with their children.

Yes, the idea of sexual abuse can be frightening, but this will help your children learn how to protect not only themselves but other people as well.

Teens

Teenagers are more open to more complicated topics, so it would be good to revisit all your previous conversations about sex.

This is the perfect time to educate them about safe sex and the use of contraceptives.

In the course of their teenage years, It is also advisable for parents to continuously remind their children about consent and about sharing their intimate photos online.

The conversations you’ve been having with a child about sex since they were young will help them navigate their teenage years.

These will also hone them to become responsible adults in the future.

Key takeaways

Parents play the role of being the first teachers of their children, not only academically, but also in life. That is why learning how to talk to your kids about sex and consent is crucial.

Teaching children about sex does not mean you’re normalizing sexual behavior early on in life. But, it is merely setting them on the path of becoming responsible for themselves and respectful of those around them, in every aspect of life.

Learn more about Parenting, here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources
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Written by Mayvilyn Cabigao Updated Jun 21
Medically reviewed by Danielle Joanne Villanueva Munji, OTRP
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