Parents role is to be prepared to talk to their child about these subjects when the time is right, to encourage a discussion and not to have a one-way conversation.
How to start talking about it? How to make these conversations easier?
- Start early – most children from an early age already have an idea of the differences between boys and girls, it’s because they have the natural curiosity. When the kid is mentally and emotionally prepared for the information, it is time to talk about it. If you start doing this at early age, it will be a lot easier to give more detailed information later in life.
- Use everyday situations to start off with! Imagine the world with your kid’s eyes. What are the most important things to him? Mostly a very young child’s world is self-centred so a simple reply is sufficient. Later you can start explaining in a more detailed way.
- There is no “best” person for talking and listening. There is a belief that dads should talk with sons and mums should talk with daughters. But life isn’t that simple – not all families have both mum and dad. Besides, there are other people too who care about your children – their grandparents etc.
- It’s a two-way street – definitely encourage a discussion. A good way to start a conversation is to ask: “What do you know already?” It will give you an input of what your child already knows and what you should explain.
- Make sure that during the conversation you have booklets and leaflets available. You can explore those together with your child, check the information and discuss it.
- Be truthful and honest. Making things up will only confuse your kid so better avoid such things as storks and gooseberry bushes. Explain things with facts. And if you don’t know the answer, then say it adding that you’ll find out later and you’ll explain it then.
- Listen and value what your child says. Often you can feel even surprised of how mature is the attitude of your children towards relationships. Ask for his opinion – it will encourage him!
- Keep telling your children you love them. Showing love and affection will be a good example for your kids to see what they might want themselves in future relationships.
- Keep talking. It is easy to give up when the first difficult question pops up. But your child needs your support even if it doesn’t seem like it so keep talking.
- If you find it really hard to talk about these things then ask for help – your family doctor or your kid’s teacher.