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Oh_My_Word_Parents866 karma

Another great question! I believe you are asking, how do you ensure your friends don't teach their friends about sex. Here are a few pointers:

1) You can tell them this is a conversation that stays in the home and that most friends may not be ready to hear. For example, "You can talk to me (and your other parent, if applicable) about sex at any time. Some people think it is a private conversation, so it's best not to share the information with your friends and let them learn from their parents."

2) If your kid is sharing information about sex, at least they are sharing correct information. Kids will hear about sex at school. A recent study shows on average they will hear about sex at school in the 1st grade. So, some kids are certainly talking about it. My son came home last year and told me something he heard at school. He said, "I don't think it is right, because it doesn't match what you told me." I was able to confirm that my son was right and he had been given bad information. I was so glad we had talked about those things, so he had the right information to compare to what he heard at school. I was also glad we had enough conversations that he felt comfortable asking me about the information he heard.

3) We have found kids learn at a very early age to be uncomfortable talking about sex. Most elementary school kids are too embarrassed to talk about sex with their friends. The more informed, the less likely they are to even start these conversations with friends, because you have satisfied their curiosity.

Oh_My_Word_Parents815 karma

Great question! Children are ready from birth, but the depth of the conversation will vary as kids develop. One thing we always say is it is never too early, but it is also never too late. Here are a few age milestones that can be helpful. If you are a parent who has not started the conversation by these ages though don't be discouraged. You can start any time. Just start slow.

Birth - start using proper body part terminology. An opportunity to do that is when your child touches their penis or vulva during diaper changing. You can positively say, "Great, you found your penis/vulva." You can teach kids about their private parts in the same way you teach them about their elbow.

Age 3-5 - kids are wondering (even if they don't ask) about where babies come from. This is typically not a question about sex, but about what happens inside a woman's uterus.

Age 6 - By age 6, we recommend your child knows about sexual intercourse and it's role in making babies. We recommend small, frequent, casual conversations to let them know about sex. There are many reasons to start this young. One is it makes it less painful for you. At 6, kids are curious and they are not as trained to be embarrassed about conversations about sex.

Thanks for the question. Keep them coming!

Oh_My_Word_Parents432 karma

Well, yes and no. I'll explain! My kids have a complete understanding of where babies are made and where babies come from. Do they still laugh or say "Ewww" when people kiss on TV? Oh yes!

Why? Because they haven't actually gone through puberty yet, and they do not have the hormones in their bodies that would give them a desire to kiss anyone but their momma. So they think it's silly that anyone would want to do that. (We even have a module in our course called "Why Do People Do That?"

The reasons it's important that she have an understanding before she experiences puberty are:

  1. She's learning and setting values based on what she sees on the television, whether she's fully aware of it or not.
  2. You want her to be fully prepared BEFORE she reaches the stage where she is having to navigate making those choices in romantic relationships.

That's a great question. I hope this helps!

Oh_My_Word_Parents189 karma

Yes! Great point. It is important to talk about sex for making babies and for pleasure. Once you first introduce intercourse, you can introduce that sex is for pleasure as well. If you don't mention it the first time, it can be easy to forget to ever mention it or become more awkward to mention.

No need to go into too much detail on either of those issues. You can say something simple like, "Sex is fun and it feels good." You can even talk about the connection it brings between you and your partner.

This point is not really for you u/heuristic_al, but for another parent that might come across this answer and need to hear it. Parents might want to be careful on how you talk about the connection aspect. When we were growing up, we often heard things like sex creates a permanent bond. Another thing we commonly heard was you give a piece of yourself away. Those statements can be challenging to overcome later in life.

Oh_My_Word_Parents170 karma

Great question. You are so wise to see and understand that our kids are always watching us and they pick up on so much!

The reality is that they may hear undertones of positive or negative beliefs we have around sex. And unless we wrap them in bubble wrap and never let them leave the house, there's almost a guarantee that they will pick up on things we don't really want them to see at a young age.

So I would say that we protect them from hearing or observing disturbing content (conversations, television, friends at school, open internet access) as much as we can. But the real protection comes from speaking the truth to them (as the most trusted person in their life) and providing them with a solid foundation up front. So when they do see something that portrays a distorted idea around sex, they'll be able to check back with what they already know to be true, and they'll be far less likely to influenced by it.

We just recently wrote a blog post on the 3 biggest mistakes parents make. The good news is that it's almost never a mistake a parent makes when talking to their kids, it really has so much more to do with making the choice NOT to talk. I hope you enjoy!

(Posted below.)