“Will talking about this awaken my child’s sexuality and cause problems?” Help for Parents (2019)
“Will talking about this awaken my child’s sexuality and cause problems?” Help for Parents
Many parents fear that talking to their children about sexuality will awaken sexual behavior within their children. While this may be true in some cases, it is far better for children to receive information about sexuality from a loving parent than from other sources. When we as parents talk to our children about sexuality, we can prepare them in an accurate and safe way.
Most children are naturally curious, and they want to understand the natural, God-given feelings they experience. It is ideal for children to learn about sexuality from parents who will provide the information within a moral context consistent with gospel principles. This video teaches more about how to discuss healthy sexuality.
Parents can receive divine assistance as they pray to know how to talk with their children about sexuality. The Spirit can help us identify resources, such as other parents who have experience talking about these topics to their children. We can ask them questions about how they navigated these conversations.
We can also prepare ourselves to talk with our children about sexuality by remembering what we were like at their age. What were some of the feelings we experienced? Where did we seek information? What do we wish we had heard or been taught? As we reminisce on our past experiences learning about sexuality, we can be sensitive to what our children may be feeling.
Additionally, it’s OK if we feel unsure about how to best handle these conversations. We can use our vulnerability to build a relationship with our children. Children can feel of our love as we are honest and sincere in communicating with them, despite our discomfort.
Remember that saying something is always better than waiting for the perfect time or perfect way to express ourselves. By striving to become sensitive to our children and their needs, we can become aware of natural situations and day-to-day opportunities to talk about sexuality.
Here are some ideas that others have found helpful. Prayerfully consider what actions might be best for your family, taking into account that those actions may or may not be listed here.
Start having conversations about healthy sexuality with your children now. It can be easy to want to wait for the perfect time, place, or moment, but circumstances may never be perfect. Once you get started, it will be easier for the Spirit to guide you.
Identify resources for talking to children about sexuality, including guidance on age-appropriate and correct language.
Consider your own experiences with learning about sexuality. How do your experiences help you? What do you wish had been different for you?
Strive to become educated about healthy sexual development from childhood to adulthood.
Spend time talking with your spouse about healthy sexuality. Often parents disagree on what, when, and how healthy sexuality should be taught. Prepare early as parents to resolve differences ahead of time. If you’re a single parent, consider talking to a trusted family member of the opposite sex to help you gain understanding.
Consider having the parent who is the opposite sex of the child talk to him or her about healthy sexuality. Children often perceive the opposite-sex parent as a more credible source of information on this topic.