One of the most cumbersome moments in a parent’s life is when it’s time to talk to your kids about sex. In fact, it is a process of continuing education, since sexual awakening does not come suddenly in people, rather, it happens progressively. In this sense, perhaps when you want to talk openly about how to have responsible sexual relations, he or she is already up to date with the most important details from third parties.
For this reason, sex education must be approached from a young age. If we instruct them at an early age, the soon-to-be adolescent will have greater self-esteem and make better decisions about his sexuality. But don’t be fooled either, since adolescence is still a very complicated age for both children and their parents, hence it is inevitable that sooner or later problems and conflicts may arise.
The adolescent must be kept informed of all these changes, such as the growth of pubic hair or the development of the breasts.
The first step is to observe and attend to the first physical changes that the child experiences at all ages, as well as foster open dialogue on the subject whenever it comes up. The magazine ‘Business Insider’ has turned to various experts in the world of child and adolescent psychology to unravel what are the keys to take into account from their birthday until they reach adolescence.
Less than 5 years
Surely you think that it is too early to start talking about sex at such a young age, but it is possible that certain questions or doubts about your body are beginning to arise, as recognized by the Mayo Clinic. Without going any further, they may already ask where babies come from. Obviously, you do not have to tell them the truth, since they would not understand it yet, but something approximate. For example, arising from the union of the seeds of two people and growing inside the woman’s womb. The stork resource is all very well and is a very nice metaphor, but children are not stupid at all.
If you ask about their genitals, Joshua Klapow, child psychologist, recommends naming them the anatomically correct term and what it is used for, alluding only to urine. Regarding gender, this question is more than complicated, since it may be that your child feels that he does not belong to the group of people with whom he shares a sexual organ. If this is the case, it is not necessary for anything in the world to prohibit the child from adopting forms of behavior typical of the other gender, since otherwise the parents could be contributing to the formation of a trauma that in the later years of his adolescent and adult life could take a heavy toll on him.
Less than 10 years
At this time, children tend to ask more specific questions about their sexuality or how babies are born. Then, it is best to ask them about what they already know and, in that case, correct them, as advised by the Mayo Clinic. This will prevent you from messing up. When it comes to explaining how fertilization arises, you can say that the father puts his seed inside the mother, it grows until the baby is formed and is strong enough to be born. If at any point they ask why their penis is growing suddenly, just tell them “sometimes he hardens and stands tall”, as recommended by Klapow, making it clear that this is entirely healthy and normal.
Teenagers should be prevented from consuming pornographic sites, as it can instill very wrong and dangerous ideas about sex.
Regarding the issue of gender, it is at this age when they begin to ask more questions that must be answered. If your child is confused about his identity, you should make it clear that even if he was born with a male or female sexual organ, that does not mean that he has to have a specific sexual orientation. “You can tell him that some people identify as boys, girls or even with no gender”, assures Laura McGuire, child psychologist.
Between 11 and 13 years
At this point they usually begin physical changes in the body, that welcome the stage of early adolescence. What’s more, sexual desire will appear, powered by a surge in hormones. The adolescent must be kept informed of all these changes, such as the growth of pubic hair as well as the development of the breasts and the beginning of menstruation. They should also be clarified what wet dreams are and why they happen, since it is inevitable that they begin to feel a certain taste in their crotch when rubbing.
Of course, at these ages you already have to explain what the most common contraception methods are and also educate them on the idea of consent. It is best to influence the usefulness of the condom, as this will also prevent contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Although it is still too early for them to have sex, you never know. A survey revealed that the average age at which a person is exposed to pornography is 13.3 years, so they will surely end up discovering for themselves what intimate relationships are, so you should not be ‘crazy’ and let them discover it on their own on some pornographic page.
In this regard, the opinion of psychologists is unanimous: it is necessary to avoid that children consume pornographic pages, since it can instill in them very erroneous and dangerous ideas about sex. If he has already done so, try to convince the adolescent that what he has seen on the screen is not real and that the people who come out are actors. You also have to be very careful with ‘sexting’, avoiding that the child is part of a chain of sexual videos that can be passed on to him through his mobile phone; or worse yet, videos that lack the privacy of other people with the intention of doing harm.
Undoubtedly, this is a very dangerous age, and the most necessary thing is to make them understand that behind sexuality there can be very violent behaviors that threaten the dignity and privacy of other people. In this way, They must be helped to develop a kind of “moral compass” so that they can identify possible situations of abuse, whether or not they are the protagonists, in order to denounce them and prevent them from recurring.
Over 13 years
In this day and age, it is no longer worth playing dumb. They may know everything that happens in a sexual relationship with hairs and signs. And in the same way, It is also very likely that they have already had some experience in their own flesh. But this is where the role of parents is most necessary, as they will still have many doubts. You must make sure that your adolescent knows where to find contraceptives and that he will actually use them.
It is essential that your child feels within a support network to talk with friends about all these issues and feel safe
It is very important to make him understand that there are many ways to express affection and not only through sex, which of course does not have to be penetrative. You also need to make him understand that it is okay to wait and there is no reason to be in a hurry. Of course, your child will begin to experiment not only with sex, but also with alcohol and drugs (although obviously you have to attend to each particular case, but he will start going out with friends and it is likely that he will end up trying these substances), that without They can certainly interfere with the sexual sphere of your life. In this way, they must be raised on the issue of consent so that they do not let themselves be pressured, much less pressure other people to have relationships.
Another advice that psychologists launch, perhaps one of the most important, is that your child feels within a support network of friends to talk to them about all these issues and feel safe. One of the problems is if he ends up being the outcast of the class or receives the contempt of his classmates in the form of ‘bullying’. This is another much thornier subject, but make him understand that he will soon find his place with others, a place where he does not feel rejected and where his friends give him support and advice.
Héctor G. Barnés
Adolescence is a land full of mines and, in general, it is difficult for everyone, both parents and children. Sex does not cease to be that sphere of adult and adolescent life in which pleasure and responsibility must prevail, which is why education has to be heavily influenced, both by parents, friends or teachers. The goal, that your child develops sexually in a safe and healthy environment. If you have any questions about it, you canAsk for advice from educational communities, pedagogues or specialized psychologists in this age group so conflictive.