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When Is It Time To Have “The Talk” With Your Child?

You might remember having the dreaded “talk” about sex with your parents as young teenager, or perhaps you never had one; either way, I don’t think any parent or child actually enjoys the process, but it’s often a much needed discussion.

In 2018 there are far too many pressures to be a kid. Think about it, did you have a phone when you were a kid in school? Did you have to worry about being bullied on social media for wearing the wrong outfit to school one day, or talking to the wrong kids during lunch? Probably not, and add in all of the sexual misconduct that is all over the place now, it’s nearly impossible to steer young teens away from being exposed to just so much.

As reported by Spokesman.com, you can’t be on Facebook this week alone without witnessing the numerous videos of the sexual misconduct court case involving Richard Nassar, or without noticing the popular #Metoo signage that represents millions of women sharing the hashtag about sexual assault and/or harassment occurring so commonly now. How is a child supposed to find their way through all of this, when it can be extremely challenging even for adults to comprehend?

Experts are advising that it is best to begin when the child is of preschool age teaching them the appropriate names for their body parts, and discussing what is appropriate to be touched, and what is definitely not acceptable. Once the child is in elementary school, you can begin discussing appropriate behaviors, or things they may have heard, or even witnessed on television. They also recommend that you have these discussions with your children during their prepubescent years, for girls this would be around 9, and boys 11. If these ages seem too young, think again, as in 2018, research shows children are learning, or talking about sex/sexual acts by the 3rd grade level. As much as we may try to keep our children young, and out of the loop with this topic until they are old enough to understand it, it’s nearly impossible now as their friends are seeing things on the internet and going to school the next day and sharing that information with other kids.

You would rather be the parent that had these talks with your child before they are given a lesson by their friends, full of incorrect information. Even if both of you are uncomfortable, it just has to be said in most cases. Most that have had the “talk” with their sons and/or daughters recommend leaving it a very open conversation, allowing the child to reveal either potential things they may have already heard, or have the floor to ask questions if they feel the need to. Keep it simple and to the point, and try your best to not make your child feel awkward as once they do, it can be challenging to get their attention on the matter. Look at it as, it’s just part of life and you want them to have the right information, to be safe once they are old enough to engage with a partner, and to realize the consequences if they do engage before they’re emotionally, financially, and even physically ready to handle a potential pregnancy should it arise.

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