how to have birds and bees talk

There is no easy way to say this – its probably time to have the talk. The sooner you start preparing for it, the better. “The talk” is a rite of passage for most parents, but it can be uncomfortable. I get it. So, just how do you talk about sex in a clear, meaningful way with kids? Let’s break it down.

A guest post from sexual health educator Amy Lang

It can be difficult to talk to children about sex, regardless of how open, knowledgeable, or self-assured you are. These conversations can be awkward and uncomfortable for all parties involved, but don’t let these feelings stop you—there is good news!

Over and over again, when teens are surveyed, they say the people who have the most influence over their sexual decision-making are their parents and primary caregivers!

We possess strength and sway, and they yearn for and require our communication.

Sex education at school is in no way enough. The last places kids should turn for information are their peers, pornography, and the media, so it’s up to YOU to provide it to them.

Like all other parents, you probably have no idea when or how to initiate these conversations, let alone what information children should be exposed to at different ages and stages. However, just like any other challenging aspect of parenting, you can become confident in your ability to handle this.

These discussions center on children’s physical and mental well-being, safety, and readiness for one of the most significant and consequential periods of life. The earlier you begin (five is not too young), the better, as they will grow accustomed to these exchanges and realize that you are their go-to source for birds and bees.

Children who communicate openly with their parents about their sexuality are also given some protection against sexual abuse.

You are capable of accomplishing this! You presumably want your children to make wiser choices regarding this aspect of life than you did, and to be better equipped for it as well. To do this, use the power and influence that your adolescent self has confirmed.

Here are 10 tips to help you with the birds and bees talks:

  • You should first make your values regarding relationships, love, and sexuality clear. It’s never too late to start having conversations, so get started as soon as possible. When discussing sexual behavior with children, you should always say, “This is not for kids, and for when you’re older.”
  • It’s not true that “they’ll ask” when they’re ready to learn about sex. You are placing the onus of educating them about sex on them when you wait for them to ask.
  • Throughout childhood and adolescence, there are a number of brief but meaningful exchanges between you; there isn’t one major “talk” that causes you both great trauma.
  • You can write notes to your children, text them, or converse with them in the car. You don’t have to do this face-to-face all the time.
  • Seek out educational opportunities when they’re watching TV or movies or even just observing the lives of their friends.
  • Obtain books that suit their age so they can read them alone or with you. Include books about puberty and adolescence.
  • Acknowledge their discomfort and your own, and then dive in. They need this information to make great choices.
  • Ensure that they understand that they are in control of their bodies and that they have the right to refuse any touching that causes them discomfort.
  • Nearly every aspect of healthy development revolves around sexuality, so it’s important that your children understand this as much as they do what they learn in school. Very few people use their calculus knowledge in their daily lives.
  • Sex is about joy and responsibility, pleasure and trust, safety and health, and information and communication. *.

There is more information to help you become your kids’ go-to birds and bees expert on my website, podcast and in my Birds & Bees Solutions center, where you’ll find 95% of what you need to rock the talks. You’ve got this!

*Author Peggy Orenstein said “responsibility and joy; pleasure and trust. Since they are essential to thorough sexuality education, I added “health and safety; communication and information.”

Amy Lang, MA offers talks, workshops, teleclasses, videos, consultations, and workshops to help parents of all faiths teach their children about sex. She has won three Mom’s Choice Awards® for books and products. Amy has been teaching sexual health for more than 20 years, and she holds an MA in Applied Behavioral Science.

Follow Amy on Twitter @BirdsAndBees, where she Tweets funny things kids say about sex ,or be her Fan on Facebook!

Keep the conversation going

There will never be a “perfect time” to discuss sex. It could get a little awkward and you might not have all the answers. But keep in mind that you’re setting up a secure and sympathetic environment for your child to go to in case they have questions or find themselves in a situation where they’ll require your assistance.

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How do you talk about the birds and the bees?

Parents should aim to discuss some of the “normal” changes that happen during puberty, including physical body changes, hormone changes, and thoughts about sexuality. They should also remind their teens that even through all of these changes, they will love and support them no matter what.

At what age do you have the birds and bees talk?

Preteen: Puberty happens around the 9 to 12 age range. It’s important to have the puberty talks with children before then, so they are prepared. Around 3rd grade or 4th grade may be where the sex talk in traditional terms may be more memorable for the child.

At what age should I have the talk with my son?

When Your Child Is Age Six to Eight. This tends to be the age when kids ask where babies come from. Both experts say you should tell the truth, using simple language. “You might say that two people’s bodies come together and meet each other,” says Dr.