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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hints for Parents to Start Talking With Children about Sexuality

  • Set good examples that show kids how our lives are enriched by our values.
  • Reassure them that they're normal.
  • Build their self-esteem — give credit for talents and accomplishments, offer constructive advice, and avoid criticism and punishment.
  • Respect our kids' privacy as much as we value our own. Do not pry.
  • Use correct names for sex organs and sexual behaviors.
  • Take advantage of "teachable moments." A friend's pregnancy, neighborhood gossip, and TV shows can help start a conversation.
  • Include topics such as sexual orientation, sexual abuse, and prostitution.
  • Be clear about our values and let kids know that others may have different values about sexuality. Teach them that respect for differences is important.
  • Don't use scare tactics as a way to stop young people from having sex — it doesn't work.
  • Give accurate, honest, short, and simple answers.
  • Admit when we don't know an answer. We can help our kids find the answer in a book or other resource.
  • Accept questions at face value. For example, "How old do you have to be to 'have sex?'" doesn't necessarily mean, "I'm thinking about having sex."
  • Let our kids know that we're available, and make it a habit to share what we think and feel.
  • Ask questions even if they don't — questions about what they think and what they know.
  • Figure out what we want to say about our own feelings and values before we speak.
  • Let our body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice support what we say with words.
  • Get to know the world in which our kids live. What pressures are they feeling? What do they consider normal?


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