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Moms Talk Q&A: When Do You Talk to Kids About Sex?

What age is appropriate?

The birds and the bees. As difficult as it may be, it's a subject that every family must talk about. When should parents start talking to their children about sex? Does it depend on the parent? On the child? Maybe you don't talk about it at all?

We'd love to hear your thoughts. Please jump in and share your stories in the comments box below. Our Moms Council members will offer their wisdom too.

And if you missed last week's discussion, we talked about .

TP March 23, 2011 at 07:55 PM
My own mother has never had The Talk with me. Not when I went through puberty. Not when I left home to go to college. Not when I got married. I'm assuming by the time I had Child Number Three that I had figured out what I needed to know. With my own kids, I have let them lead the process. With the older two being boys, it was more difficult for me. As far as the questions they had about what happens with this and why is this happening there - I was at a loss. I really didn't know how all that stuff works. Some of it we looked up, and some of it they had to ask Dad. (Not really sure why they didn't start with the parent that had first hand knowledge, but oh well....). Needless to say, we've all learned a lot. As they got older (now 14 and 11), and the questions got a little more in-depth and had more to do with case study and decision making, I've tried to be as honest and open as I could. No, they don't need any anecdotal correlations from me., but they do need me to be willing to talk abut the subject. I certainly don't want them getting info or advice just anywhere. Those conversations have included such blush-provolking comments (mine & his) as, "If you are too embarassed to buy condoms then you will certainly be too embarassed to have sex." They have also been heart to heart conversations on why some kids are in such a hurry to grow up. With my daughter (thankfully) we are still at the Babies-Come-From-Magic theory, and I'm in no hurry.
TP March 23, 2011 at 07:57 PM
Regardless, I think the key for me has been to let them lead. I want them to be informed and comfortable talking to me. I don't want them to have more data tham they can digest or feel like they need to hurry up and try anything out! Even between the two boys, different questions came at different ages and we dealt with them as they came up.
Denise Lee March 24, 2011 at 04:32 AM
When I was pregnant with our son, our 4 year-old daughter asked how the baby would get out of my tummy. We explained the process using terms a child would understand and without a lot of graphic detail but with perhaps too much information. Our daughter looked at me incredulously and said "You're kidding?!" Clearly it was a case of TMI (too much information). Like TP, we've always let the kids lead the discussion. Sometimes the questions were pretty interesting and asked with suppressed giggles. Sometimes the questions were asked with a very matter-of-fact tone. We've tried to answer the questions in a straight-forward manner. While we have not withheld information, that first experience with our four year-old daughter taught us to deliver information at a steady pace to avoid overwhelming our kids. I think by the time our kids were nine or ten they had a good idea of the science behind reproduction - not through one sit-down explanation but through many question and answer sessions. Now that they are teens we talk about sex in the context of relationships. I'm not sure it's easier for us to talk about sex now than it was when our kids were young, but I feel that it's important. My hope is these discussions will help our kids make good choices as they get older.

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