Talking Sexuality – 4 Basics for Every Parent

You want to have open communication with your children about sexuality but have no idea where to start. This blog article gives you a foundation to use when talking sexuality with your children.

The four basics listed below is where you start. It may be that you’ve done things differently in the past. No matter. You can always go back to your child and explain that although you may have done things differently before, you’re going to try a different approach.

These are basics that I share with the parents in my workshops and my coaching practice.

1. Use correct and accurate language for body parts.

This is so key. Using the correct language gives your children a feeling of power and respect for all their body parts (they are not too clinical or grown-up), conveys messages that there is nothing different about these body parts compared to others, and gives children accurate language to be able to communicate to others regarding any inappropriate touching. (correct terms are: penis, testicles, breasts/chest area, vulva (not vagina), anus, buttocks)

2. Don’t freak out or use punishment.

If anything of a “sexual nature” (e.g. walk in on your child playing “doctor”, find out your child has watched porn, they are touching their genitals) happens, you want to try to keep as calm as possible. If you can gently and calmly stop the behavior and then step out or away until you can address it more thoroughly. There are many behaviors that are a part of normal sexual development in children. Sometimes those behaviors are concerning and you do need to do some further follow-up.

If your goal is to keep open communication and serve as a resource for your child regarding sexuality, then you want to react calmly. If you get angry or punish your child for the behavior, the inadvertent message sent is that you “cannot handle this” or “they will get in trouble for this” and so they may not come to you if there is a problem or there is something wrong in the future.