Sex education is an inevitable part of raising children, but how much sex education is appropriate, and when is it too early or too late?
Parents have the wonderful privilege of witnessing the development of small humans develop into pre teens, teens and eventually adults. As children grow, what they learn also needs to align with their development. However, in some cases, the child’s age does not coincide with their development.
If my child seems a little immature should I wait to have the sex talk?
All4Women spoke with Clinical Psychologist and Child Expert Jenny Rose who believes that “the more preparation we give our kids, the more we are setting them up for success.”
Sex education is one such instance, and setting them up for success creates the difference between experiencing sex as traumatic or something that unfolds beautifully.
How do I tailor the sex talk for my children?
Jenny advises that parents should “tailor the intervention at an appropriate age.”
The content of the conversation with your 6-year-old will differ greatly from your teen child.
The content of the conversation with your 6-year-old will differ greatly from your teen child. As a teen, it is important to start having conversations around safe sex and the risks associated. Younger children need to be taught about sex around topics such as reproduction.
Today’s Parent compiled a comprehensive age-by-age guide to having the talk with your children.
Below is a summary of the topics that need to be covered in the appropriate age group:
What to discuss with children from birth to 2
- Anatomically appropriate names for genitals
- Not shaming them for playing with their genitals
What to discuss with children 2 to 5
- Teaching them about boundaries
- Body autonomy
What to discuss with children 6 to 8
- Sexual abuse
What to discuss with children 9 to 12
- Puberty and the associated changes
- Safe sex
What to discuss with teens
- Sexual consent
The talk must be developmentally appropriate for your child
Jenny says there is a “difference between chronological age and developmental/emotional age.” “Often you see an older child that is emotionally much younger.”
It is possible that your 13-year-old is not developmentally ready for a conversation around birth control and still needs to learn about consent. “I wouldn’t skip the talk, I would just tailor it for a younger age,” Jenny recommends.
“A parent needs to be mindful of the age and developmental area their child is in.” This will help them tailor the conversation according to what the child can process as it aligns with their age.