How are your kids learning about sex?

Have you been dodging those probing questions in the hope that the school will teach your child about sex?

If you have, then you are not alone. A large portion of parents leave the sex education to the schools, because they find the subject uncomfortable and it is easier to say nothing than to say something.

But the truth is, to say nothing is to say a lot!

Whether you like it or not, you as the parent are the child’s sex educator and they have been learning from you the day they were born.

The schools teach anatomy, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy and there is so much more to sex education than that. The moral and emotional aspects of sex have to be addressed and this can only be done at home.

Most parents don’t realize it but they are constantly teaching, not only by what they say, but how they act, say and do.

So when is the right time to have that birds and bees chat?

Never! Sex education for kids should start from when your child is born. So, by the time the schools get around to teaching the anatomy, your child should already be fully educated, with a large focus on the moral and emotional aspects.

Many studies in the past have confirmed that parents think they discuss sex much more with their kids, than the kids say they do. So forget about thinking that one talk about the birds and the bees is enough. Communication must be ongoing, but also consider what kind of an example you set with your own actions. Television viewing, reading habits, your talk about the opposite or same sex, your nakedness and privacy all add to the sex education of your child.

And remember we said that sex education starts from when the child is born? They observe your actions, they listen to your words and they form their own ideas. Begin your discussions early. If you haven’t brought up sexuality subjects with your kids by the time they are 10 they will think they are taboo and shouldn’t be discussed.

Take advantage of teachable moments like TV programs, billboards, pregnancy’s, animal mating, etc. These are great opportunities not to be missed and never think your child is too young, just don’t overload them with too much information. A simple, to the point, but honest answer will go a long way to answering their questions and correcting their ideas.

Be aware of the question behind the question. Often your child is asking “Am I normal?” They need reassuring that other kids ask the same question and they are in fact normal. Encourage them to ask more questions.

Children, between the ages of 8 and 12, worry about their development. Boys may worry about their penis size and girls their breast size. These worries mostly come from discussions at school and they will need reassuring from their parents. Children grow, mature and develop at wildly different rates.

And when those questions come, get emotional. Talk about the mechanics, but don’t forget the unhealthy aspects, like unwanted pregnancies and disease. Children also need to know about the emotional aspects and what makes a health, caring relationship.

Sex education is so much more than talking about the nuts and bolts. It is about constant education while the child grows up. This will set up a strong moral framework that they can take into adulthood.

If you have been open and honest with your child’s questions since the beginning, it will form that almost magical loving bond. It will encourage your child to come to you with any question in the future. The best place for your child to learn about relationships, love, commitment and respect is from you.