So what is THAT conversation? Sex, Let’s talk about sex with our teens.
Lets face it, no one likes talking about it. Its embarrassing, right? Especially when we need to start talking about it to our kids.
“The Birds and the Bees” I never understood that term haha.
Having ‘that talk’….
So this week in my house we have had to broach that conversation! As a parent can say I struggle with it….
Sex, lets talk about sex.
When considering talking about sex with our teens it comes with a whole host of emotions, thoughts and beliefs. Sometimes, we really need to challenge our belief system in order for our kids to be safe and get the correct information.
Then what happens if we have different genders and ages? How do we know what is age appropriate and gender suitable?
Now, whilst they do get sexual education at school, we know that our kids don’t get all the information they need often because they are too shy to ask the questions in front of their peers.
My eldest is 15 and now the sexual education in school is covering consent. Safety and the reproductive systems. They have previously covered puberty and the differences in body development.
She said that almost everyone is embarrassed and generally acts silly when in class so the quality of learning is really impacted.
So when considering this, how confident are we that our children are being taught what we would like them to know?
I know some parents do not ever want to broach the topic and firmly believe that they should not learn until they are old enough to be married. However, with the increase in accessibility to information on the internet and massive movements such as #metoo and #reclaimthesestreets we are finding that the information is filtering through.
How do we support our teens to have a healthy amount of the right information so that they can filter the wrong information from all of these outside sources?
So firstly we need to consider where we are with our knowledge. Do we know and understand enough about how relationships have changed through the years?
We have to consider the context of the traditional nuclear family (mum, dad and two kids) is no longer the norm.
Family structure has changed so much, so we need to consider that relationships need to adapt alongside that change.
So do we need to be more inclusive in how we have that talk?
In some households we have to consider the LGBTQI+ context as more teens are exploring and the stigma of being from the LGBTQI+ community which is slightly – whilst not completely diminished – less than it has been in previous decades. So how do we support and hold those conversations in an inclusive and compassionate manner that doesn’t leave our teens feeling like they have no one they can turn to?
Is it about asking for peer conversations from an individual who can relate and give them the right information but also honestly answer any questions to the best of their ability?
They say it takes a village to raise children so why would it not be considered in the context of this information sharing from a lived experience perspective? Just my thoughts.
We also have to consider the sources available to them, such as social media and unfortunately porn is more readily available and accessible. So how do we support those conversations and sit with our own discomfort?
It’s so hard as a parent to support the curiosity around sex for today’s world, especially when we add in generational contexts of learning.
How were our parents conditioned into thinking and having those conversations?
Was there a lot of secrecy and shame around perfectly normal body functions?
Talking about periods in my house was a no no so you grew up feeling shameful (especially as the only girl).
Our parents usually discovered sex by having sex! That idea terrifies me for my own children because of our experiences. And whilst discovery can be fun and adventurous, it can be equally frightening and dangerous.
So how do we get comfortable with it?
- Well, lets stay curious and allow space for their curiosity.
When we can suspend judgement and our way of thinking to explore with them what comes up for them in today’s context.
- Let’s learn the lingo.
There are soooo many words for body parts I get lost in them! But it is all an education.
So now I’ve been quite upfront in saying “what does that mean?”. I mean they laugh at me and say, “oh my god mum, how do you not know?” or, “oh my god mum you are a dinosaur haha” but it helps them relax when it comes to talking about it.
- Ask for help when they are asking about things we don’t know.
Showing our kids that we do not have all the answers but are willing to learn, gives them comfort that they do not need to know everything either. So utilise the tools around us, consider using the web in a way that shows them helpful information.
- Tap into local organisations that offer these discussions.
The best class I ever attended was something called Speak Easy, which supported us as parents have the age appropriate chats with our children. Incredible initiatives like that will be around you, have a look and see what can support you.
- Let us check in with our own foundations.
Let us look at what we know and think about sex. Do we need to check in with our own bias, our own values and beliefs first before we can sit in the space of have constructive and non-emotive conversations with our children?
It’s a juicy topic for us as parents and for our young people its such a difficult conversation to keep light and not feel like its like walking over the coal pits. But it is important that we as parents open up to this conversation and that we offer the space for our young people.
It’s important because it supports them in forming healthy loving relationships where they feel safe in creating boundaries and because we gave them a foundation of knowing.