Parenting

The “Birds and the Bees”

[Image - Leeroy]
Written by Sam Skelding

“Where do babies come from?” Talking to kids about sex isn’t easy for even the most confident of parents.

The time has come. You don’t want to say it; they don’t want to hear it. Sweat beads from your forehead as you’re trembling ha… Okay, so it’s not quite that bad, but it can be pretty awkward and nauseating. If you still haven’t cottoned onto what I’m getting it, it’s “The Talk”, the “birds and the bees”, the sit-down of all sit-downs, the stalk’s journey. S-E-X.

The teen years have hit them; he’s rebelling, a few lonely black hairs are poking out of his neck and his voice has adopted a poorly timed yodelling habit. She’s… well, let’s face it, we’re men… it’s hard to really know what a girl is ever going through, let alone during puberty.

Are you ready to have the talk? Or have you already had it? First things first…

When?

“It’s not the talk, it’s an on-going conversation.”

Some experts say that 11-12 years old is too late, some say during their teens is the best time. Either way, most agree that addressing the questions your kids come out with as they grow up is an ideal opportunity to give them some basic awareness of sex.

According to veteran advice columnist of Girl’s Life, Carol Weston, “”Mummy and daddy make love” can buy you a few years, kids don’t want all the details; they just want their questions answered.”

However, it’s important to get in there before the world of entertainment does – the media are talking, subtly and glaringly, about sex. These innuendoes and sultry scenes the kids catch a glimpse of on TV are only adding to the confusion surrounding sex at that age, so it’s best to just be honest from the get-go.

Don’t rely on sex-ed in school to do the hard work. Not all kids put their hand up when they have a burning question, and not all kids learn well in a classroom environment. So, when it comes to something as important as sexual education, it’s vital to make sure for yourself, as a parent, that they understand the basics.

In conclusion: Answer early questions with honesty, but not all the details are necessary in your answers. When they hit puberty, it’s time to have a proper chat about the very real consequences of sex.

More often than not, when we talk to our kids about sex, we tend to leave out the most obvious factor: pleasure, which is what most sex is for!

Remember…

It’s important to not just talk about sex as a reproductive… ritual. You and I both know that kids aren’t stupid – people have much more sex than they have babies.

It’s important to address intimacy, pleasure, and release, all of the facets of sex when talking to your older kids. We live in a world where men, teens especially, see sex as a competition or a feat of manliness. Peer pressure is high for young teens, as most of them are lying to one another about how much sex they’re getting – so as a father, it’s vital to set the record straight from early on.

Talking to him

For guys, it may feel much more natural to talk with your son about sex than your daughter. We’ve been through it ourselves already, so we have a good idea of what they’re going through. That being said, it’s important to remember that we’re all individuals.

Don’t wait for “the right moment”, because it ‘ain’t coming. Dads can grab the bull by the horns and begin the talk with, “I know this is awkward, but…” Just acknowledging that it’s awkward for you both can really take the edge off and put you on an equal playing field.

You can also try asking him how much he knows about sex and jokingly test him on it; you’ll soon find that he’s actually eager to show that he knows what he’s talking about.

Eventually, you’ll be able to take the conversation into more serious realms and tell him straight how crucial it is to be responsible.    

Talking to her

As mentioned, when it comes to our sons, we’ve already been there and done it, so we have plenty of experience to offer. With our daughters, we really don’t have much to roll with. It’s best to be honest with them about that and just be there to offer what we do know; act as a pair of ears to listen to any anxieties she may have.

As girls begin dating, exploring their sexuality, their sense of relationships and where and how they fit in, they can really appreciate dad’s honest and open style; typically far more than mum’s approach. During their teenage years – a time when dads traditionally back-off – you can use this sudden credibility and believability to share important lessons about sex. 

Remember, you’ve got this!

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