As parents, we worry about a few more things than having “the talk” with our children. We have so many questions about it before we even think about the questions they may ask.
And it isn’t just sex, either. There are all critical conversations we need to have with our child, from relationships to drugs. After all, we don’t want our loved ones ending up in a rehab centre, do we?
Of course, that’s an extreme example, but it does happen, and discussing the dangers with our children is essential. But the question is, when?
The truth is, experts have found that it is never too early to start having these conversations, just in different contexts.
For example, it can be prevalent for a toddler to touch their private parts, often due to curiosity rather than anything sexual. Still, even then, it could be essential to set a boundary and ensure they don’t do it in public, acknowledging that.
As they start to age, studies have shown that if a child is touching themselves regularly, it could be a troubling sign and be addressed.
Naturally, it’s puberty, where the main questions and conversations should be had, and children can hit adolescence at different periods. This, alongside television being more open about sex, alcohol and drugs, makes it a crucial stage of their lives to begin these conversations.
What is essential, though, is to not bottle it all up for one big talk; introduce little conversations over a more extended period about all the subjects to allow your points to sink in, and then return to talk to you when they need to.
It can be difficult for children. Puberty can be a scary time, and it’s normal. Therefore you need to allow them to feel like the conversation is always open, so by regularly talking about it, they’ll also feel more comfortable discussing it and get a clearer understanding of what’s right and wrong when it comes to talking about the birds, bees and more.
They’ll become more confident in speaking about it to you, and by the time they hit the 15, 16 and beyond, where temptation and feelings will much more strongly come into play, they’ll be fully equipped to make the right decisions.