The constant when I speak to most parents is how to have “the talk” with their children. “When should I have the talk? What should I say or not say?” Their questions and concerns go on and on.
I smile because I’ve taught parents how to talk to their kids about puberty, adolescence and sex for the past 30 years, and in reality there isn’t any one “Talk,” but a whole series of ongoing conversations that begin as early as toddler years.
I remember seeing an old television show where they asked a group of kids where they came from. One kid looked at the host as though that was a stupid question, and said, “Los Angeles, of course.”
It’s so interesting to me that everywhere we look; television, magazine and the internet sex permeates our culture. Yet in reality merely saying the words “penis” and “vagina” can send parents into a total tailspin. Because describing the mechanics of sex can be pretty cut-and-dried: an erect penis goes into vagina (with some variations). But few parents feel comfortable saying that to their kids, and there’s a lot of nuance that gets lost of the conversation is just about mechanics.
The Birds & Bees Connection offers classes and presentations that help parents deal directly with challenging topics by offering tools and language they can use in the moment and down the road with their children. On the night during our Rites of Passage series where we have the sexual intercourse talk, the mood at the beginning of the class is deadly quiet. It’s as if they’re all waiting for “the talk” and how embarrassing it’s going to be. The actual discussion of sexual intercourse takes about eight minutes in total, and included in those eight minutes is enough information to support abstinence.
I hear some parents saying that fifth or sixth grade might be too early to have the sexual intercourse talk, but just think about the information your children are accessing on the playground via peers and social media. If you think your child is immune, think again.
Thanks to the internet, young people are accessing inappropriate material at a younger and younger age, and it is truly a concern. However the greater concern is where they can go for the correct information or any questions or concerns they might have. As a rule, usually they go to their peers (where are they getting their information?). After teaching thousands of classes with tweens and teens, I’m convinced they’re getting lots of misinformation, which can lead to bad choices.
Unfortunately most young people are not getting the correct information early enough, and what they get in seventh grade is too late. One might believe after all these years the schools would finally feel comfortable enough to offer comprehensive sex education to their students, but it’s just not happening. Educating children about puberty and sexuality falls primarily on parents and, as a rule, most parents are ill-equipped for the conversations young people need today.
Do not fear, for that’s where we come in. We offer easy, fun, non-threatening classes and presentations for parents and tweens/teens to prepare families for open and ongoing communication about sensitive topics.
The thought of having ongoing talks with your child may feel uncomfortable, but in today’s atmosphere where many of our young people are engaging in risky behavior, it’s more of a risk not to have those conversations with your child.
Sign up for one of our classes— it is something that will positively change your and your child’s life forever.
– Leslie Dixon