It can be challenging when our kids start asking questions about things we might be uncomfortable talking about, especially when it comes to the topic of sex. Kids are just naturally curious and they look to us adults for answers.
While it could feel somewhat awkward and uncomfortable, think about it this way: if you’re not going to discuss the topic with them, other people will. With other people in the picture, you won’t have any control over what will be shared with your child. At the risk of getting the wrong information or acquiring the wrong attitude towards sex, wouldn’t it be better if we talked to them ourselves? We are, after all, the responsible adults closest to them.
Here are a few pointers about talking to our kids about sex.
First off, you’ll want to create a safe atmosphere where kids are comfortable enough to ask you their questions. Do you have an atmosphere at home where bringing up the topic is not welcome? Do we penalize them for bringing up such topics? If we don’t have the right atmosphere at home, our children may end up finding answers on their own, either through media, or their friends.
Remember, you don’t need to give all information at once. Make it age-appropriate. Most children at ages 6-10 will ask questions about how babies are made, and this is the best time to talk to them because they are still very receptive of our explanations. When your 6-10 year old asks “how are babies made?” avoid lines like “You came from a stork.” or even joking, “Napulot lang kita.” Instead you may say something like: “Mom’s egg met with the sperm of pop.” Make sure you say this in a matter-of-fact manner; oftentimes that’s enough for them at that age.
Some time later they may ask: “How did the egg meet the sperm?” This was a question I got from my 11-year old, years ago. You can say (in a matter-of-fact way again): “In the privacy of the bedroom, the penis of papa enters the vagina of mama so the sperm can meet the egg.” If they ask about how this happens, emphasize that papa and mama are married and they love each other, and that how the sperm meets the egg is an act of love. Further explanation merits an “eeeeww,” response from the kids, but at least you were able to explain it to them.
Talking to teens might be harder. You’ll have to be a little more creative, like telling a story of a friend who got pregnant, or watching a movie or TV program that deals with the topic. What’s important is they know the ideal context in which the sexual act is done – which is when two adults are married and ready to have a child.
Sex is a beautiful thing and when taught in the right way, a child can be influenced to use his or her sexuality in the responsible manner we hope they will.
About The Expert
Maribel Sison Dionisio, MA, Family, Relationship & Marriage Expert
Maribel, a Relationship and Parenting Consultant for over 25 years has co-authored books, like “Helping our Children do Well in School, Growing up Wired” and “I’ve been Dating…now what?”. She was a contributor and the Parenting Expert of Wyeth’s Nurture Network from 2010 to 2018. Maribel is a regular Parenting Expert for various TV and radio programs, like Radyo Singko’s Relasyon and ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda. Maribel served as a Judge for the Jollibee Family Values Award.
In 2008, she set-up AMD Love Consultants for Families and Couples. She worked at the Center for Family Ministries and trained as an Imago Therapist of the Imago Relationships International, New York. Maribel and husband, Allan, are both graduates of the Family Ministry course, Ateneo de Manila. They prepare couples for marriage in the Discovery Weekend and are columnists for the Feast Magazine. They have co-authored two relationship books, Thinking of Marriage and Teen Crush. Allan and Maribel, happily married for 36 years, have 3 children, Rafael, David, and Angelica.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are his/her own, and does not state or reflect those of Wyeth Nutrition and its principals.