Parents tend to dread and put off the inevitable sex talk. And with good reason. It can be awkward.

But it’s one of the most important topics you can discuss with your kids!

Why?

OK, you know why, but just in case you’re new here, kids are getting exposed and affected by pornography at alarming rates! Their curiosity propels them to easily accessible internet porn. Without their parents to tell them any different, kids often follow their curiosity about sex, and that can lead them to powerful life-long pornography addictions.

I wish I were exaggerating!

Not to mention falling prey to the ugly notions about sex that porn teaches. In pornography, sex is not a loving way to bond with your committed partner. Today’s porn has metastasized into a hundred thousand variants of violent and shocking perversion, all streaming in full color video over any internet-enabled device! Whew!

I know we’ve got a big task. We have to teach kids that sex is good (in the right situation), but porn is not. The main thing is to just get started!

So, here are four tips to make these discussions more comfortable, for both you and your kids:

  1. Start young. Observe your kids and take time to consider how much they are ready to hear. Kids are often curious about their anatomy (or the anatomy of the opposite sex) and this can be a starting point. Get comfortable talking to your kids about their bodies and then, bit by bit, increase their knowledge. In my opinion, most kids should have a basic understanding of sex by age 8 (if not age 7) or you risk allowing them to get that info from some other source.
  2. Teach often. The most effective way for kids to learn is by repetition and incremental teaching. One big “talk” can be traumatic, awkward and confusing.
  3. Your relationship matters. Parents get panicked about coming up with the exact right words to say, but in the end it’s the overall relationship you have with your kids that makes the difference. Being open, expressing love often, and taking the time to listen to them will all combine to make both of you more comfortable when it comes to talking about sex.
  4. Straight talk is best. Don’t use code words or slang to discuss sex or human anatomy. You want to imbue sex with the respect it deserves and that means using the correct vocabulary. If you have to practice saying the words “vagina” or “penis” out loud to yourself in a closet, do it. Get comfortable with these words because they are going to help you educate and protect your child.

A recent study of church-going teens showed that only 15% of the kids considered their parents to be the primary source of information about sex. The remaining 85% got their sex-ed from peers, the internet, media, textbooks, other family members or church leaders.

So we have a choice: Teach kids about sex early and often or let someone else do it for us.

Do you have other tips for teaching kids about sex? Please comment and share what has worked for you!

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.
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