Talking to kids about sex

Having “the talk” with your kid has the potential to be extremely awkward and embarrassing, or it can be a bonding moment where your kid opens up in a candid conversation.

I have yet to explain the birds and the bees to my kids, but I’m already thinking about how to broach the subject. My 4-year-old daughter’s questions on why boys are different than girls and where her little sister came from are all setting the groundwork for the day when she finally learns all the facts. I just hope she learns them at home.

For parents who are terrified of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time and forever scarring themselves and their kids, a new study says training programs for parents can go a long way to make the sex talk better for everyone.

One of the researchers on this study, published this month in The Journal of Pediatrics, also had these tips for parents:

1. Spread out conversations in teachable moments throughout your child’s life.

2. Use anatomically correct terms.

3. Don’t lie or lecture.

4. Don’t assume you know what your kid knows or is already doing.

5. Don’t judge.

What are some tips you found helpful in explaining sex to your children? What is an appropriate age to have this conversation, and how much detail does a parent need to give?

Most importantly, how do you make “the talk” a moment of bonding rather than an uncomfortable memory?

Erin Stewart is a regular blogger for Deseret News. From stretch marks to the latest news for moms, Stewart discusses it all while her 4-year-old daughter crams Mr. Potato Head pieces in her little sister’s nose.

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