For most parents, discussing sex and sexuality with their child is an uncomfortable prospect, and quite often, a conversation that never happens.
Interesting, since the impact of open communication between parents and kids regarding these sensitive topics is imperative to responsible sexual decision making throughout the teenage years.
In this day and age of "super parenting," where parents seem to go above and beyond in almost every aspect of child rearing, why are these topics so readily neglected?
The national survey With One Voice 2010, indicates that 88 percent of parents believe they should talk to their kids about sex. However, parents report that they don’t know what to say, how to say it or when to start.
Is this the root of the problem? It's a poor excuse when you consider the amount of resources available to us with a simple Internet search such as "when and how to talk to your children about sex and sexuality."
Parents will find more than enough appropriate information to get them started.
Perhaps the difficulty lies in the awkwardness parents feel accepting their growing children as sexual beings.
“It’s difficult for me to look at my young children and think of them in that way. They're so innocent. It makes me hesitant to talk about it with them,” says Tricia, a mother of four.
As understandable as that may be, it doesn’t justify ignoring the subject. We are all sexual beings, and sexuality is an important element of our lives. In accepting that, parents can gain a comfort level to initiate an open dialogue with their children.
This can help ensure the sexual health and happiness of their children as they grow into adulthood.
Some parents think that educating children about sex may stoke the sexual fires, so to speak. But information is not permission–information allows kids to make knowledgeable decisions. They are bombarded by inappropriate and inaccurate information through media, technology and peers. When they receive truthful information, they are able to make smarter choices that can lower their risks of unwanted pregnancies and contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
Whatever the reasons may be, one thing is certain: It may be tough to discuss sex and sexuality with our children, but tough luck. A parent’s job is to ensure the health and well being of children, and sexual health and well being should not be overlooked.
Good parenting requires an open and honest dialogue with children about sex and sexuality.