Your Role as a Parent
Things have changed a lot since you were a kid, and finding the common ground to help relate to your child can be difficult sometimes. We’ve all been tempted to just throw up our hands and say, “kids these days”, but to truly relate to your child, you have to be willing to try to see the world as they do. Here’s a few tips about what they’re expecting from you, and what you can expect of them…
Role of Parent
You are your child’s first source of information about sexuality, so you can play an important role in educating and guiding your child through childhood, adolescence and beyond. By no means do you have to be an expert, but it’s important to:
- Break the subject of sexuality once in a while, according to your values and beliefs. Don’t expect your child to come to you - they may feel too embarrassed to bring up sex issues with you, even if they have a problem they want to talk about.
- Use appropriate names for body parts.
- Answer questions honestly, your child will probably know if you’re not being completely straight with them.
- If you just can’t bring yourself to discussing sexuality with your child, ask for help from a knowledgeable ADULT or PROFESSIONAL whom you and your child trust and feel comfortable talking to. This “first step” may ease your discomfort and provide a way for you to follow-up later.
- If you give your children sexual education, they will become sexually active
A 2001 review of 28 different sexual health research studies concluded that: Sexuality and HIV education programs that include discussion of condoms and contraception do not increase sexual intercourse; they do not hasten the onset of intercourse, do not increase the frequency of intercourse, and do not increase the number of sexual partners (Kirby, 2001).
- I don’t have to answer my daughter’s questions, she is still way too young
These days, kids are discovering sex and sexual behaviour younger and younger, and there really is no such thing as “too young” for some form of sexual discussion. You don’t have to rush your child into sexual education, but it’s a good idea to play it by ear early; there’s really no way of knowing how much your child knows or doesn’t know without talking to them.
- My son will find out soon enough, I will wait until he asks
Talking about sex can be embarrassing for anyone, especially kids. Or they may think that you’ll be upset with them for bringing up the subject or that they’re doing something “wrong” by talking about it. It’s bad enough if your child’s questions are going unanswered, but considering the range of sexual problems out there - disease, accidental pregnancy, etc.. - it’s really important to talk to your child and make sure they feel comfortable coming to you.