By Sami Yacoub
Discussing sex with my children worries me; I don’t know where to begin or what to say. I’m afraid they will get this information from unreliable sources, though…what do I do?
Raising kids is an exhilarating journey, but it also is a responsibility that requires a father and mother to attain suitable knowledge in order to correctly phrase conversations and answer questions their children may have, like those about sex.
What’s comforting is that kids tend to ask for information as they come to need them, that is why we have to seize the opportunity when it is given. We should also note that children sometimes allude to certain topics or questions they need answered rather than asking them directly. Despite the fact that it may be easier to have a spontaneous conversation about the topic than it is to have a prepared discussion, some children may not be able to correctly or appropriately verbalize their queries. Some of them are also eager to know while others do not express any interest in the topic. Whatever the case, the burden of talking about sex falls on the parents’ shoulders because if they are not the ones to breach the subject, there are others who will do the job for them. The danger in that is that these other sources may not share your educational and moral values.
Before bringing up sex with your children, it is important to first evaluate your personal convictions about the matter. What is your individual perspective regarding sexual relationships with your life partner? Do you find it inappropriate to talk about sex with your kids? Are you ashamed of your children discovering that there is a special relationship between “mom and dad?” Or do you view this discussion, when in the correct context, a natural part of raising your children in a healthy and proper manner? Your unambiguous responses to these questions, along with your adoption of a clear viewpoint regarding your intimate relationship, are the first steps to providing your kids a balanced sexual education in a family environment filled with trust and maturity.
It also critical to emphasize to your children that they should feel free to approach you with any questions or situations they face relating to the topic. One thing that could help you develop open communication channels with your children so that they may confidently share their thoughts without fear of punishment would be not allowing the subject of sex to become an object of ridicule or jokes associated with improper comments and insinuations. Additionally, we are not to approach this subject as one that lies outside the realm of morality. Teach your kids not to believe everything they are told about sex end reiterate the importance of them immediately sharing everything they hear about it outside the house. That way you can correct any misleading information or ideas they may be receiving and ensure the wellbeing of their minds.
Our series continues as we explore the question: What do we say about sex to every different age, and how do we say it?
Copyright © 2012 Focus on the Family Middle East. All rights reserved. Originally published in Watani Paper 13.6.2010.