Teach Your Kids About Puberty Before You Teach Them About Sex
Recently, I have had several interesting conversations with parents and a pattern is beginning to emerge. I’ve discovered that the “big talk” might be coming in the wrong order. Out of an eager desire to be responsible parents and make sure their kids are informed, they may be teaching about sex before their children understand puberty.
What comes first: puberty or sex?
I heard a very encouraging story about one young girl who has been reading my book series since she was 7 years old. Now she is 10 years old and has completed the third book. A friend wanted to explain to her about sex. Her response was a question for her friend, “Do you know about puberty?” Her friend answered, “no.” She quickly questioned her friend saying, “Why do you know about sex and you don’t even know about puberty yet?”
Of course, kids are curious about sex and since there is so much media attention devoted to the topic, they can hardly escape it. But it is far better if your child understands their own body first and the changes they are experiencing before you move to this more mature topic.
Here are a few tips on how to prepare your teen for “the talk”:
- Teach them their own reproductive structures as soon early as 8 years old. They are less embarrassed at this age and they have a natural curiosity.
- By the time they are 9 years old (maybe 10 for boys), you can have great talks about the changes going on in their body as they mature through puberty and why these changes are happening.
- When they have reached 10-11 years old (maybe 11-12 for boys), I suggest you teach them the reproductive structures of the opposite sex. Contrary to what some parents might think, this will not arouse a sexual desire in your adolescent. It will actually take away some of the mystery and hopefully initiate some great conversations about respect for the other person’s body.
- When you are ready to have “the talk,” it will be a more informed conversation that can include what happens physically during sex and the emotional implications as well.
- After your child has learned about sex, please make sure to teach them about safe sex. You can explain to your adolescent that they might not need this information any time soon, but possibly a friend might benefit from what they know.
If you are looking for a tool or aid to help you explain about the reproductive system, I welcome you to use my books. The information and descriptions of the structures of the reproductive system are anatomically accurate and written at age-appropriate levels:
- 8-9 year old girls: I’m a Girl, My Changing Body
- 8-10 year old boys: I’m a Boy, My Changing Body
- 10+ girls: I’m a Girl, Hormones!
- 11+ boys: I’m a Boy, Hormones!
Educate, educate, educate!
Informing and educating our adolescents so they can make great choices about their body as they become teenagers is my mission. It is also important to me that we teach our kids to respect their own body, and those of others as well.
If you have any questions, please visit my contact page to send me a message. I look forward to chatting with you!
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